Rainbow Black: A Novel (Paperback)

Rainbow Black: A Novel By Maggie Thrash Cover Image

Rainbow Black: A Novel (Paperback)


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“The setting: 1980s New Hampshire, a society roiled by suppressed memories. The characters: two young teens, parents convicted of child abuse arising from these memories. Maggie Thrash does not shy away in this compelling story.”
— Willard Williams, Balin Books, Nashua, NH

I've loved Maggie Thrash's work for years, and Rainbow Black is going to set so many new hearts aflame—murder, intrigue, queer love, dark humor AND satanic panic? Welcome to the Maggie Thrash Fan Club, world!—Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of This Time Tomorrow

For readers of Donna Tartt and Ottessa Moshfegh comes a brilliant, deliriously entertaining novel from the acclaimed author of Honor GirlRainbow Black is part murder mystery, part gay international fugitive love storyset against the ’90s Satanic Panic and spanning 20 years in the life of a young woman pulled into its undertow.

Lacey Bond is a 13-year-old girl in New Hampshire growing up in the tranquility of her hippie parents’ rural daycare center. 

 Then the Satanic Panic hits. It’s the summer of 1990 when Lacey ’s parents are handcuffed, flung into the county jail, and faced with a torrent of jaw-dropping accusations as part of a mass hysteria sweeping the nation. When a horrific murder brings Lacey to the breaking point, she makes a ruthless choice that will haunt her for decades.

 As an adult, Lacey mimes a normal life as the law clerk of an illustrious judge. She has a beautiful girlfriend, a measure of security, and the world has mostly forgotten about her. But after a tiny misstep spirals into an uncontrolled legal disaster, the hysteria threatens to begin all over again.

 Rainbow Black is an addictive, searing, high-octane triumph, an imaginative tour de force about one woman’s tireless desire to be free.

Maggie Thrash is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic memoirs Honor Girl (a Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominee) and Lost Soul, Be At Peace, as well as two novels for young adults. Rainbow Black is her adult debut. Born and raised in Atlanta, she lives in New Hampshire.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063286870
ISBN-10: 0063286874
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: March 19th, 2024
Pages: 416
Language: English

"Stirring . . . . Part mystery, part unsparing social commentary and part queer love story, Lacey’s personal history reads a little like Demon Copperhead’s—if he were a lesbian in New Hampshire." — Washington Post

"This propulsive mindblower of a novel makes narrative hay out of the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s—but it’s also a terrifying murder mystery, and even a quirky but nuanced queer coming-of-age novel . . . . A darkly hilarious, risk-taking riot of ripped-from-the-headlines plotlines with real, cut-to-the-quick pain, this wild ride is unforgettably great. — Amazon Best of the Month Pick

"Thrash does a terrific job of making every character both singular and nuanced . . . . Thrash turns trauma, injustice, and hideous bad fortune into a story about resilience, reinvention, and love." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A gripping story . . . . Readers will be stirred" — Publishers Weekly

“In this stunning and intense adult debut from YA author Thrash, Lacey is a nuanced character whose complex inner life as both a teen and a woman injects urgency into every hurdle she faces. At once a rivetingly dramatic procedural and an intimate portrait of a relationship forged in trauma, Rainbow Black boldly confronts the lingering shadows of guilt, betrayal, and secrecy.” — Booklist

"Darkly funny, haunting and captivating." — Booktrib

"I've loved Maggie Thrash's work for years, and Rainbow Black is going to set so many new hearts aflame—murder, intrigue, queer love, dark humor AND satanic panic? Welcome to the Maggie Thrash Fan Club, world!" — Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of This Time Tomorrow

"This is a welcomed delight to queer readers who crave murderous melodrama packed within a coming-of-age novel that's constantly (and literally) hyperventilating with lurid excess and extraordinary detail. Lacey is a resilient character to cheer for." — Bay Area Reporter

"Rainbow Black is exactly what a novel ought to be—funny and harrowing, weird, wise and incredibly deft. I was not expecting to be as moved as I was, or to spend hours after finishing thinking about what I'd read. Come for the Satanic Panic, stay for the wine fraud." — Julia Armfield, author of Our Wives Under the Sea

"I’m sorry, Satanic Panic and a queer main character? I don’t know what I did to deserve this incredible novel, but I eagerly accept it." — Betches

"Rainbow Black is an addictive, searing, high-octane triumph, an imaginative tour de force about one woman’s tireless desire to be free." — Red Carpet Crash

"Strikingly relevant to the present . . . . Creating characters like Lacey is what Thrash does best. She takes a character who seems unremarkable and throws them into the deep end, left to fend for themselves in a swirling pit of torment as despair. And even though they shouldn’t, they somehow always manage to keep going forward." — Autostraddle

"Why I loved it: The focus on the harm caused by the Satanic Panic in the ’80s, the accurate ’80s and ’90s backdrop, the characters, dark humor, and the broad reader appeal that includes mystery/crime readers and contemporary readers who may not think they like mysteries!" — Book Riot

“This book will leave you outraged and weary of a legal system that abuses its power for nothing more than public appeasement. Five rainbow-colored stars for this one!" — The Southern Bookseller Review

"A layered novel that questions identity as much as it does collective responsibility, Rainbow Black offers something for any reader to love. At its core, it is a coming-of-age tale, its lovable and quirky main character embodying our own insecurities and desires to feel loved, no matter where we come from or who we become." — The Big Thrill

"Hope Newhouse's gripping narration builds the mystery and listeners' emotions equally, balancing the complex themes with dark humor . . . . Newhouse narrates Lacey's stream of consciousness with finely crafted vulnerability, capturing the pain, perseverance, and hope of the main character's memorable life." — AudioFile on the audiobook

“Narrator Hope Newhouse narrates YA author Thrash’s (Lost Soul, Be at Peace) adult debut, offering an affecting portrait of young Lucy as she deals with the fallout from her parents’ trial, the death of a loved one, and the threat to her carefully reinvented adult self. Despite the heavy topics, plenty of awkward and laugh-out-loud moments add levity. VERDICT This unputdownable murder mystery/love story will have listeners hooked. Perfect for fans of Janelle Brown and Liane Moriarty.” — Library Journal on audiobook edition

"Rainbow Black seamlessly balances complex themes while remaining ridiculously entertaining. Maggie Thrash is a strong literary voice and an immense talent." — Ione Gamble, author of Poor Little Sick Girls and founding editor in chief of Polyester zine