Winner of a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award and available from Skyhorse Publishing
A group of misfit kids become inseparable friends after a girl they love is murdered in the woods outside of town. When a boy they believe to be the killer begins to terrorize them, the group decides to stop him by any means, and the novel takes a grim turn.
The story follows Doug Horolez, a talentless boy hopelessly in love with his only friend, E. Summerson. That’s the good news. When E.’s sister is murdered in the woods behind town, Doug joins a group of junior high pariahs—led by an ill and eerily charismatic boy—to solve the girl's mysterious death and to prove his devotion. But as bonds within the group deepen, their methods become cultish and vengeful. Doug must then find his voice and act according to his conscience before the price to be loved becomes unspeakable violence.
Goodnight is a coming-of-age novel and literary thriller that investigates recurrent mysteries—loss, loneliness, and the precarious desire to belong.
“Levis Keltner has given us a smart, engaging, and gracefully written story, full of surprises, beautifully plotted, and peopled by fascinating and complicated characters. I was spellbound from start to finish, and I cannot imagine a reader who would not be as completely enthralled as I was. What a truly wonderful book this is.”
—Tim O'Brien, National Book Award winner and author of The Things They Carried
“So good that you might find yourself staying up late to read—perhaps under the covers with a flashlight. The book is genuinely scary as well as literary.”
“Keltner holds his characters on the edge of adulthood beautifully throughout the novel.”
“If The Breakfast Club were a witchy murder mystery, you’d have Goodnight. With his shocking awareness of human nature and the forces that propel us through the dark absurdity of life, Levis Keltner will make you laugh, cry, and shudder in fear at the horrors we are all capable of.”
“Elegant and restrained and also a little bit disturbing.”
“Thoroughly gripping and emotionally compelling. A smart, moving, brilliantly written debut.”
"You know how we often talk about the debuts that rocked us and made an author jump into our 'buy everything they publish' list? Well, this is one of those books."
“An existential mystery only partly about who did it and why, Goodnight explores the difference between what’s right and what others tell us is right. This elegant, wise novel about adolescence and tribal loyalty makes us flinch with recognition about the difficult navigation into selfhood. Everyone’s rite of passage isn’t this dark, but this is everyone’s rite of passage.”
"Goodnight is a heart-stopping and compellingly weird debut novel."
“He details the fear, confusion, and lack of self-esteem that often run rampant in the teenage years. Dangerous obstacles are ever-present in this novel, perhaps none more frightening than surviving the nightmare that adolescence can be. Keltner’s perceptive insight into young people and the emotions that drive them make this psychological study both involving and memorable.”
"Ever wonder what would happen if Stranger Things had a threesome with Stephen King's The Body and 1997 cult film I Know What You Did Last Summer? Levis Keltner's rollicking debut, Goodnight, is exactly the kind of novel such an unholy union would, and should, produce. Roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath, and enter a mesmerizing world 'where magic is still possible.'"