Mystery Monday Review: Dead Eleven by Jimmy Juliano

Title: Dead Eleven by Jimmy Juliano
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Supernatural, Suspense, Mystery
Length: 447 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


On a creepy island where everyone has a strange obsession with the year 1994, a newcomer arrives, hoping to learn the truth about her son’s death—but finds herself pulled deeper and deeper into the bizarrely insular community and their complicated rules…

Clifford Island. When Willow Stone finds these words written on the floor of her deceased son’s bedroom, she’s perplexed. She’s never heard of it before, but soon learns it’s a tiny island off Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula, 200 miles from Willow’s home. Why would her son write this on his floor? Determined to find answers, Willow sets out for the island.

After a few days on Clifford, Willow realizes: This place is not normal. Everyone seems to be stuck in a particular day in 1994: They wear outdated clothing, avoid modern technology, and, perhaps most mystifyingly, watch the OJ Simpson car chase every evening. When she asks questions, people are evasive, but she learns one thing: Close your curtains at night.

High schooler Lily Becker has lived on Clifford her entire life, and she is sick of the island’s twisted mythology and adhering to the rules. She’s been to the mainland, and everyone is normal there, so why is Clifford so weird? Lily is determined to prove that the islanders’ beliefs are a sham. But are they?

Five weeks after Willow arrives on the island, she disappears. Willow’s brother, Harper, comes to Clifford searching for his sister, and when he learns the truth—that this island is far more sinister than anyone could have imagined—he is determined to blow the whole thing open.


Dead Eleven by Jimmy Juliano is a suspenseful debut.

Harper’s search for his missing sister Willow on isolated Clifford Island drives this fast-paced mystery. Clifford Island’s small population is not exactly helpful as Harper tries to not only find Willow but understand what drew her there in the first place. The cast of eclectic islanders do not want visitors and they do not have an online footprint. The storyline is cleverly written with the chapters alternating between text messages, interviews, Willow’s letters, and various characters’ perspectives.

A deliciously eerie mystery with supernatural elements and a chilling conclusion.

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