In this tense, spellbinding thriller set over the course of a single day, a woman prepares for a party that goes dreadfully wrong—for fans of Ashley Audrain and Lisa Jewell.
Nadine Walsh’s summer garden party is in full swing. The neighbors all have cocktails, the catered food is exquisite—everything’s going according to plan.
But Nadine—devoted wife, loving mother, and doting daughter—finds herself standing over a dead body in her basement while her guests clink glasses upstairs. What happened? How did it come to this?
Rewind to that morning, when Nadine is in her kitchen, making last-minute preparations before she welcomes more than a hundred guests to her home to celebrate her mother’s birthday. But her husband is of little help to her, her two grown children are consumed with their own concerns, and her mother—only her mother knows that today isn’t just a birthday party. It marks another anniversary as well.
Still, Nadine will focus just on tonight. Everyone deserves a celebration after the year they’ve had. A chance for fun. A chance to forget. But it’s hard to forget when Nadine’s head is swirling with secrets, haunting memories, and concerns about what might happen when her guests unite.
Virginia Woolf meets Agatha Christie in this taut psychological thriller from Stuart (Still Here). Around midnight in a basement bathroom, Nadine Walsh, who's hosting a birthday party upstairs for her 60-year-old mother, a bestselling thriller writer, checks the pulse of an unidentified dying man. After he dies, Nadine, who lives in "Winngrove, an affluent-but-liberal village within a city," returns to the party without being spotted leaving the basement. Flashbacks starting early that morning follow Nadine as she prepares for more than a hundred guests that evening. Her lawyer husband doesn't help much, nor do their two self-absorbed teenage children. She feels judged by her 24-year-old niece, who has lived with the Walshes since Nadine fell down the stairs and broke her hip six months before. She also contends with her unresolved feelings for her rags to riches mother and the lingering trauma of a family tragedy that occurred exactly 30 years earlier. Stuart's complex lead immediately grabs the reader's sympathy, even if she is a killer. Fans of Mrs. Dalloway, which provides the book's epigraph, will want to check this one out.