Midnight Is the Darkest Hour: A Novel (Hardcover)
From the critically acclaimed author of In My Dreams I Hold A Knife and The Last Housewife comes Midnight is the Darkest Hour, a gothic Southern thriller about a killer haunting a small Louisiana town, where two outcasts—the preacher's daughter and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks—hold the key to uncovering the truth.
For fans of Verity and A Flicker in the Dark, Midnight is the Darkest Hour is a twisted tale of murder, obsessive love, and the beastly urges that lie dormant within us all...even the God-fearing folk of Bottom Springs, Louisiana. In her small hometown, librarian Ruth Cornier has always felt like an outsider, even as her beloved father rains fire-and-brimstone warnings from the pulpit at Holy Fire Baptist. Unfortunately for Ruth, the only things the townspeople fear more than the God and the Devil are the myths that haunt the area, like the story of the Low Man, a vampiric figure said to steal into sinners' bedrooms and kill them on moonless nights. When a skull is found deep in the swamp next to mysterious carved symbols, Bottom Springs is thrown into uproar—and Ruth realizes only she and Everett, an old friend with a dark past, have the power to comb the town's secret underbelly in search of true evil.
A dark and powerful novel like fans have come to expect from Ashley Winstead, Midnight is the Darkest Hour is an examination of the ways we've come to expect love, religion, and stories to save us, the lengths we have to go to in order to take back power, and the monstrous work of being a girl in this world.
"Where The Crawdads Sing meets Twilight meets Thelma and Louise in this brilliantly realized, totally original thriller. Absolutely sensational—I couldn't put it down." —Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author
Ashley Winstead is an academic turned novelist with a Ph.D. in contemporary American literature. She lives in Houston with her husband, two cats, and beloved wine fridge. You can find her at www.ashleywinstead.com.
"A darkly romantic gothic tale of a swampy Southern town with too many bad men and too much fear of the devil...Winstead’s spellbinding prose ensnares the reader just as much as the eerie setting and driving suspense." — CrimeReads
"An excellent twisty mystery." — Library Journal, STARRED review
"This deliciously dark tale is one of power and corruption, secret cults and ancient myths. It has atmosphere in spades, with the dark creepy swamp, ancient legends and hints of a witchcraft like cult. The novel is a slow burning tinder box of fear and tension waiting to explode and explode it does in a detonation that will be felt by all. It’s also a tender but heart-rending love story with an ending that will take your breath away.
" — Mystery & Suspense Magazine
"[A] totally unique narrative that grips the readers in a hypnotic spell and carries them along to a stunning conclusion...unique and unexpected." — Bolo Books
"Blending gothic horror and mystery, this is a dark, twisted, and disturbing story...with an ending that readers will be thinking about long after the final page." — Booklist
"Winstead serves up a sharp meditation on feminism and religious oppression in this atmospheric Louisiana-set thriller. Evocative prose...is a major plus. Fans of Michael Koryta’s Southern gothic novels...will be enchanted." — Publishers Weekly
"Ashley Winstead shows her versatility and virtuosity as an author in this dark, eerie and completely enchanting book about friendship, love and vengeance. Midnight is the Darkest Hour is as creepy as it gets - and a tearjerker to boot! I loved every minute of it." — Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Just the Nicest Couple
"A gothic tale that blurs the line between good and evil, love and revenge, and the inherent desire to please our parents while simultaneously struggling to find ourselves. Midnight is the Darkest Hour is unique and unnerving from beginning to end." — Stacy Willingham, New York Times bestselling author of All the Dangerous Things
"Dark and lyrical...a compelling story about the occult, evil, and the ways religious fundamentalism can overtake reason, it’s also a story about loyalty, friendship and what connects us all at our deepest roots. Once again, Ashley Winstead spins a tale that is equal parts disturbing and redemptive. (And when you’re done reading, please message me so we can talk about that ending!)" — Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight and The Lies I Tell
"Where the Crawdads Sing meets Twilight meets Thelma and Louise in this brilliantly realized, totally original thriller. Absolutely sensational—I couldn’t put it down." — Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author
"With lush, gorgeous writing and dynamic characterization, Ashley Winstead carefully dismantles the corrupted hierarchy that has ruled a God-fearing small town, and unleashes the trapped scream of being a young woman in the world. This haunting, twisting story will stay with you long after the last page." — Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here
"An utter triumph, Midnight is the Darkest Hour is Ashley Winstead's most dazzling thriller to date. This is a one-sitting binge read, so cancel all plans and prepare to become completely obsessed with Ruth and Everett and the darkly magical world of Bottom Springs, Louisiana. Twilight meets True Blood meets Colleen Hoover in this completely original, explosive suspense where every line is a poem and every chapter a lyrical symphony. I could not put this book down and haven't been so wholly captured by a story in this way in years." — May Cobb, author of A Likeable Woman and The Hunting Wives
"Woe unto the preacher's daughter, or at least that's what you might think navigating the dark and broody twists of Ashley Winstead's spellbinding latest, Midnight is the Darkest Hour. Prepare yourself (if you can) for serpents of the Deep South gospel slithering into a beautifully rendered Twilight fever dream—like all of Ashley's incredible books, you won't be able to turn the pages fast enough." — Vanessa Lillie, bestselling author of Little Voices and Blood Sisters
"The sharp-toothed answer to every fairy tale that warns girls to stay out of the woods...because what if we like what we find? Ashley Winstead has at once crafted an incisive critique of fundamentalism and one of the most unforgettable love stories I’ve ever read, dressed as a thriller that surprises at every turn." — Katie Gutierrez, bestselling author of More Than You'll Ever Know
"Winstead delivers another yet multi-layered thriller so nuanced and intricately woven that you absolutely cannot help but race to the end." — Amanda Jayatissa, author of You’re Invited