From Bram Stoker Award­–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a chilling novel about three childhood friends who miraculously survive the night everyone in their suburban hometown turned into ghosts—perfect for fans of Yellowjackets.

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investigations as the block of homes disappeared behind a near-impenetrable veil that only three survivors could enter—and only one has in the past twenty years, until now.

Talitha Velkwood has avoided anything to do with the tragedy that took her mother and eight-year-old sister, drifting from one job to another, never settling anywhere or with anyone, feeling as trapped by her past as if she was still there in the small town she so desperately wanted to escape from. When a new researcher tracks her down and offers to pay her to come back to enter the vicinity, Talitha claims she’s just doing it for the money. Of all the crackpot theories over the years, no one has discovered what happened the night Talitha, her estranged, former best friend Brett, and Grace, escaped their homes twenty years ago. Will she finally get the answers she’s been looking for all these years, or is this just another dead end?

Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste has created a suburban ghost story about a small town that trapped three young women who must confront the past if they’re going to have a future.

About the author(s)

Gwendolyn Kiste is the three-time Bram Stoker Award–winning author of The Rust MaidensReluctant Immortals, Boneset & FeathersPretty Marys All in a Row, and The Haunting of Velkwood. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in outlets including LitHub, Nightmare Magazine, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vastarien, Tor’s Nightfire, The Lineup, and The Dark. She’s a Lambda Literary Award winner, and her fiction has also received the This Is Horror Award for Novel of the Year as well as nominations for the Premios Kelvin, Ignotus, and Dragon Awards. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, their excitable calico cat, and not nearly enough ghosts. Find her online at



“This is a timely and entertaining tale… Kiste wraps it all together in a package that never feels preachy and has the flair one would expect from an author of her caliber.”
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 
“An engrossing thought experiment that reexamines classic literature through a 21st century lens... The novel is a timely metaphor for women refusing to stay quiet about the abuse they’ve undergone.”
—Criminal Element
“An ode to forgotten women everywhere, a tale where every detail satisfyingly matters as readers rush to the emotional conclusion… Kiste’s first book from a major publishing house brings her award-winning, feminism-fueled horror to more readers.”
—Library Journal 
“The award-winning Kiste delves into the never-changing existence of two misunderstood, undead survivors of intimidation and violence… Fans of Gothic horror with a literary twist will be delighted.”

"Kiste pulls women out of the shadows of their oppressors and into the light from the fire of their own rage... genius."—Sarah Read, Bram Stoker award-winning author of The Bone Weaver's Orchard


“One of the most original ghost stories you will ever read. Phenomenal.” —Rachel Harrison, national bestselling author of Cackle and Black Sheep

"Heartbreaking and hopeful. A perfect modern ghost story." —Angela Slatter, award-winning author of The Path of Thorns

“I absolutely loved it.”—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Road of Bones and All Hallows

A compelling read that reinvents the haunted house genre."—A.C. Wise

“Shared secrets, guilt, and regret haunt protagonists and readers alike in Kiste’s breathtakingly original modern ghost story laden with humanity and heartache.” —Library Journal