Horror has a new name: Daphne. A brutal, enigmatic woman stalks a high school basketball team in a reimagining of the slasher genre by the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box.
“A superb serial killer novel and a great coming-of-age story.”—Gabino Iglesias, author of The Devil Takes You Home
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Paste
It’s the last summer for Kit Lamb: The last summer before college. The last summer with her high school basketball team, and with Dana, her best friend. The last summer before her life begins.
But the night before the big game, one of the players tells a ghost story about Daphne, a girl who went to their school many years ago and died under mysterious circumstances. Some say she was murdered, others that she died by her own hand. And some say that Daphne is a murderer herself. They also say that Daphne is still out there, obsessed with revenge, and will appear to kill again anytime someone thinks about her.
After Kit hears the story, her teammates vanish, one by one, and Kit begins to suspect that the stories about Daphne are real . . . and to fear that her own mind is conjuring the killer. Now it’s a race against time as Kit searches for the truth behind the legend and learns to face her own fears—before the summer of her lifetime becomes the last summer of her life.
Mixing a nostalgic coming-of-age story and an instantly iconic female villain with an innovative new vision of classic horror, Daphne is an unforgettable thriller as only Josh Malerman could imagine it.
The inventive plotting, plausible characterizations, and atmospheric prose that marked bestseller Malerman's Bird Box are wholly absent in this dull horror yarn centered on an urban legend from the unlikely named town of Samhattan. Supposedly, Daphne was a seven-foot-tall local teen decked out daily in "KISS makeup" who was continually taunted about her height during high school in the '90s; those torments ended when jocks, angered that Daphne never joined the school basketball team, knocked her out with a baseball bat and left her to die in the toxic fumes of her garage. According to local lore, Daphne periodically returns from beyond the grave to kill dozens of teen athletes. This story gets new life when Kit Lamb, a member of the girls' hoop squad, follows a tradition of asking a question while shooting a free throw, with a successful shot signaling an affirmative answer. She asks, "Will Daphne kill me?" just before sinking a game-winning shot—and the team victory is quickly followed by the gory murders of several teammates, forcing all to wonder how much of the legend is true. Few, if any readers, will feel remotely scared by the setup, and Malerman offers little reason to invest in Kit or the other characters. This time, the gifted author shoots an air ball.