Such a Pretty Smile: A Novel (Hardcover)
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
About the Author
Kristi DeMeester (she/her) is the author of Beneath, a novel published by Word Horde Publications, and Everything That’s Underneath, a short fiction collection from Apex Books. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Ellen Datlow's The Year's Best Horror Volume 9, 11, and 12; Stephen Jones' Best New Horror, Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1, 3, and 5; in addition to publications such as Pseudopod, Black Static, Fairy Tale Review, and several others. In her spare time, she alternates between telling people how to pronounce her last name and how to spell her first.
"Wonderfully well written; the dread, the enigma, build with each scene. It’s coming of age, it’s family secrets, it’s life in the balance, too. It’s Thomas Harris, it’s Lois Duncan… but no, it’s Kristi DeMeester, in complete confident control of your experience. An outstanding story in outstanding hands." –Josh Malerman New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box and Malorie
"Raw, beautiful, and absolutely haunting. Such a Pretty Smile captivates both with the shadows that lurk beneath, and an unwavering look at the wildness and horrors of girlhood." - Camilla Sten, author of The Lost Village
"I've never read anything quite like SUCH A PRETTY SMILE: at turns brutal and shocking, at turns lush and evocative, and deeply disquieting throughout. This novel unsettled me at nearly every turn of the page, and that feeling has stayed with me since I closed its cover days ago. Kristi DeMeester is a highly-original voice in horror and I can't wait to see what she writes next." -emily m. danforth
"Kristi DeMeester is certainly an exciting new voice. Her exploration of toxic female friendships and her deep dive into the darkest parts of the human psyche made this a riveting, compulsive and horrifyingly entertaining read." - #1 international bestselling author Liz Nugent
"Kristi DeMeester's novel is a menacing, mysterious, and righteously angry fever dream, one that hooks into you from page one. SUCH A PRETTY SMILE is unafraid to bare its feminist fangs."--Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Survivor Song
"A mother and daughter fight for their lives and their sanity in Kristi DeMeester’s SUCH A PRETTY SMILE, a quietly brutal feminist horror novel about what it means to be a ‘good girl’ in a world of men—and monsters. Thoughtful, creepy, and razor-sharp. This one will cut you.” —Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Ararat and Red Hands
"With expert pacing and captivating characters, Kristi DeMeester’s SUCH A PRETTY SMILE is a gothic thriller that speaks to the strength of women. A darkly feminist and timely novel, I was spellbound until the final page." – Karma Brown, bestselling author of RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE
"Darkly visceral...will leave readers doubting reality as the uncanny merges with the real-world horrors of a young girl coming of age." - Publishers Weekly
"DeMeester’s storytelling is ferociously and unashamedly feminine...very satisfying." - Sadie Hartmann "Mother Horror," Mystery & Suspense Magazine
"DeMeester has taken the horror fiction world by force, delivering her own brand of hard-hitting yet intensely personal horror." - This is Horror
“Sharp-minded fiction…shed[s] unabashed light on a grim saga that personifies the legacy of dread that follows women throughout their lives.” - Fangoria
"Intoxicating, lyrical...emphatically feminine and provocative." - Litreactor
"Gorgeous and grim...a story about what it means to be a woman, living in a world determined to make you small, and meek, and above all, quiet." - BookRiot's The Fright Stuff
"So much horror centers on the beastliness of men, but few recent novels have literalised the monstrosity of misogyny with quite the finesse of Such A Pretty Smile...DeMeester’s novel really screams its intention, with implications that reach far beyond any single showdown between a young girl and a violent man." - Esquire