Named a ‘best book of 2017‘ in The Guardian.

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

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. Santa Fe Writers Project

More praise for Bystanders:

“Her stories pulsed with energy and excitement, like small lightning storms on the page. I was constantly surprised by her characters, and finished the book wishing there were more. I think she is a real talent–original and vibrant–and I’m excited to celebrate her work.”
— Amanda Eyre Ward, novelist and Balcones Fiction Prize judge
“Laskowski’s fine workings of tales that go creepy in the night make her a writer to watch.”
Kirkus Reviews
“…several pieces would be right at home in the old TV series ‘The Twilight Zone’ … Laskowski’s stories start out with circumstances that could befall anyone, you or me, but watch out for what happens next.”
New Pages
“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.”
Washington Independent Review of Books