From the critically acclaimed author of In My Dreams I Hold A Knife and The Last Housewife comes 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.

Religious fundamentalism, substance abuse, ableism, colonialism, familial violence, sexual violence, child abuse, murder.

For fans of Verity and A Flicker in the Dark, this 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.

Don't just take our word for it...

“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

“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

“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

Taste the very first page

Five hours and forty-six minutes after a trapper pulls the skull from the depths of Starry Swamp, shaking sludge and Spanish moss out of its eye sockets, the entire town of Bottom Springs, Louisiana— all five-thousand-two-hundred-twenty-nine Christian souls and the small handful of Godless heathens—has heard the news. Once again, they whisper, a person has been claimed by the swamp.

But days later, Sheriff Thomas Theriot holds a press conference. Sheriff Thomas Theriot has not held a press conference once in his thirty years of service to the law. In Bottom Springs, there’s never been a need. So this morning, when he stands outside his office with the reporter from the Trufayette Town Talk, flanked by his two deputies, the entire town comes to see it. There have been people lost to the swamp for as long as there have been people living in Bottom Springs, but this press conference means something’s different. Even the ones who weren’t waiting for it—who haven’t, like me, lain awake every night anticipating this moment—are drawn out like a spell from the Dollar General and Piggly Wiggly and Old Man Jonas’s Bait & Tackle Shop.

They gather in close quarters on Main Street, some nearly hovering, the better to hear. They know Sheriff Thomas Theriot as Tom, or simply…