One of Goodreads Most Popular Horror of 2022
Named one of Esquire's Best Horror of the Year
"Brutal and shocking." - emily m. danforth
“Razor-sharp. This one will cut you.” - Christopher Golden
In this biting and electrifying novel from bold horror talent Kristi DeMeester, there’s something out there that’s murdering young women—until an overwhelmed mother and her secretive daughter refuse to live without answers any longer.
He’s known as The Cur, and he leaves no trace—except for the victims he most viciously slays every fifteen years. Young women who refuse to conform and don’t know when to shut up.
2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. But when young women around her begin dying, wild speculation ensues. Soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she’s in danger for using it.
2004: Caroline Sawyer sees dogs everywhere that no one else seems to notice. As these snarling, teeth-bared delusions begin to take shape in the sculptures she makes in a trance-like state, her fiancé is convinced she needs help from a professional. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that others around her can’t understand.
As past and present demons converge, Caroline and Lila must chase the source of the unrelenting, oppressive power to its core. Brilliantly paced and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile will make you want to stand up and rage at everyone who ever told you to shut up and smile pretty.
"Compulsive and horrifyingly entertaining." - Liz Nugent
Demeester (Beneath) blends realistic descriptions of dissociation and schizophrenia with the horror of a serial killer preying on young girls in this chilling probe into gender-based violence. In 2019, high schooler Lila Sawyer struggles with her attraction to her only friend; her increasingly strained relationship with her mother, Caroline; and the frightening news of young girls who were discovered dead and mutilated in the nearby woods. Demeester's immersive descriptions suck readers into Lila's inner turmoil as she starts seeing and hearing dogs that aren't there and feels a dark presence awakening inside of her. Afraid that she's inherited Caroline's paranoid schizophrenia, Lila keeps these episodes secret while working to uncover what Caroline is hiding about a serial killer, known as The Cur, from years ago. Well-structured timeline shifts to 2004 depict Caroline's sanity unravelling as she cares for her terminally ill father and manages her fiancé's mounting envy of her artistic talent, while, in the present, Lila becomes enamored with the sense of power she feels when the darkness within speaks through her. Demeester's darkly visceral imagery draws a fine line between mental illness and supernatural events that will leave readers doubting reality as the uncanny merges with the real-world horrors of a young girl coming of age.
I loved the way the author made you really feel you were in their minds with them. Feeling what they felt. Loved the approach of the characters being schizophrenic, made me feel like I was loosing it too. The ended was okay, it made sense but not exactly what I was thinking was going to happen, more of a true fiction twist to the end but if you like that you will enjoy this book. Really great book altogether, written beautifully.