The Last Housewife: A Novel
"A stunning, disturbing thriller that will have your mind and heart racing." —Samantha Downing
From the author of the acclaimed In My Dreams I Hold a Knife comes a pitch-black thriller about a woman determined to destroy a powerful cult and avenge the deaths of the women taken in by it, no matter the cost.
While in college in upstate New York, Shay Evans and her best friends met a captivating man who seduced them with a web of lies about the way the world works, bringing them under his thrall. By senior year, Shay and her friend Laurel were the only ones who managed to escape. Now, eight years later, Shay's built a new life in a tony Texas suburb. But when she hears the horrifying news of Laurel's death—delivered, of all ways, by her favorite true-crime podcast crusader—she begins to suspect that the past she thought she buried is still very much alive, and the predators more dangerous than ever.
Recruiting the help of the podcast host, Shay goes back to the place she vowed never to return to in search of answers. As she follows the threads of her friend's life, she's pulled into a dark, seductive world, where wealth and privilege shield brutal philosophies that feel all too familiar. When Shay's obsession with uncovering the truth becomes so consuming she can no longer separate her desire for justice from darker desires newly reawakened, she must confront the depths of her own complicity and conditioning. But in a world built for men to rule it—both inside the cult and outside of it—is justice even possible, and if so, how far will Shay go to get it?
Praise for The Last Housewife: A Novel
"A truly terrifying novel." — Cosmopolitan, 22 Best Summer Reads of 2022
"I barely breathed through most of this horrifyingly engrossing story, so consider yourself warned." — Good Housekeeping, 20 New Book To Add To Your Summer Reading List
"A story that needs to be told?about misogyny, sexual violence, and human trafficking, and how innocent trust can lead to abusive seduction...This explosive cautionary tale of a "podcast meets sex cult meets murder" will captivate fans of twisted psychological suspense." — Library Journal, STARRED review
"Deliciously unputdownable." — Washington Post
"A stunning, disturbing thriller that will have your mind and heart racing. The Last Housewife is a clever, twisty, unnerving ride through feminism, patriarchy, and power, and it had me gasping for air." — Samantha Downing, international bestselling author of For Your Own Good
"It's not every day I finish a novel and decide right then and there that the author is now an auto-buy. While I was anticipating a great story from Winstead, I wasn't expecting to inhale her new book in one breathless read. The Last Housewife is a propulsive, unputdownable thriller with a dark, beating heart. It chilled me to the bone, and I'm still recovering. Ashley Winstead, I bow down." — Jennifer Hillier, author of the bestselling Little Secrets
"A dark, twisted tale of feminism and patriarchy, Ashley Winstead has given us a gripping story about a cult and the ways in which women became psychologically bound, while at the same time exploring themes of power and redemption. Timely and terrifying, The Last Housewife will haunt your dreams and change the way you view the world." — Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight and The Lies I Tell
"Provocative and downright terrifying, The Last Housewife feels ripped from the headlines as it explores the dark world of a violent, misogynist cult in a New York college town. The story unfolds through the eyes of Shay Evans, who returns to avenge the deaths of two college friends and save the women who are still in danger. Winstead deftly tackles the complicated issues of gender, coercion and agency while crafting an edge-of-your-seat, action-packed thriller!" — Wendy Walker, international bestselling author
"Ashley Winstead takes her reader into the heart of darkness ? and brilliantly reveals the tender, human part hidden in those shadows. Propulsive, smart, and chilling, The Last Housewife confirms what In My Dreams I Hold a Knife promised: no one writes like thrillers like Ashley Winstead." — Alison Wisdom, author of The Burning Season
"Ashley Winstead's The Last Housewife is a technicolor rainbow, provocative and unflinching in its brilliant portrayal of female desire, male violence, and the unsettling link between them. A disturbingly sexy thrill-ride that does more than 'twist'—it explodes off the page, confronting dark truths about women in the patriarchy and forging weapons of resistance from the flames. You don't read The Last Housewife. You face it down." — Amy Gentry, bestselling author of Good as Gone, Last Woman Standing, and Bad Habits