Winner, 2016 Balcones Fiction Prize
“‘Short story’ and ‘thriller’ tend to be incompatible genres, but not in the hands of Tara Laskowski. BYSTANDERS is a bold, riveting mash-up of Hitchcockian suspense and campfire-tale chills.”
— Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD
“Laskowski’s fine workings of tales that go creepy in the night make her a writer to watch.”
“No matter how surreal or commonplace, the insertions Laskowski makes in her plots teach us that witnesses won’t be spared: life forces them to participate.”
Legacies of violence and tragedy haunt these thirteen stunning stories from Tara Laskowski, author of Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons. A woman who becomes obsessed with her co-worker’s murderer; an investigative reporter with a nose for scandal finds his own life suddenly unraveling; eerie sights in a video baby monitor spook a new mother. When the unexpected happens, these bystanders—who are not always innocent—come face to face with their own choices and fates. Bound together by danger, fear, paranoia, and the bumps we all hear in the night, these potent stories illuminate the darker side of the human condition. From a vicious newspaper strike that rocks a small Pennsylvania community to an unpredictable road trip in the vast desert of the American West, BYSTANDERS explores the ways in which terror and uncertainty both consume and invigorate us—and yet reveal our strengths, hopes, and passions.