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by Catriona Ward

Narrated by Katherine Fenton

Unabridged — 12 hours, 59 minutes

Catriona Ward

Audiobook (Digital)

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“DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.” -Stephen King

A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
STARRED review from Publishers Weekly!
Anticipated and Recommended by Bustle, USA Today, CNN, i09, The Nerd Daily, LitReactor, GoodReads, LitHub, and more!

Sundial is a new, twisty psychological horror novel from Catriona Ward, internationally bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street.

You can't escape what's in your blood...

All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.

She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive¿

The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

"A story where nothing is what it seems-a thrilling hall of mirrors full of deeply disturbing twists. This book will haunt you." -Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Nightfire

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Audio


The newest from Ward (The Last House on Needless Street) explores familial bonds, lingering traumas, and violent legacies. Rob tries to be a good wife and mother to her daughters, despite her abusive, philandering husband and his constant power games, but Rob notices daughter Callie's peculiar behaviors and is horrified by what she's done to her younger sister Annie. To help Callie and save Annie, Rob takes Callie to the desert, to Sundial, her now-abandoned childhood home. While Rob remembers what events at Sundial led her to what she must do now, young Callie worries that this will be her last trip. The story, with its many twists and turns, alternates between Callie and Rob and jumps between past and present. Readers will never be entirely sure what is going on until the end but will nevertheless be drawn into this book's inescapable narrative web. Narrator Katherine Fenton imbues each syllable with tension and unease. VERDICT A masterful example of suspense; audiences will love their trip to Sundial, even as the sands shift constantly beneath their feet.—James Gardner

Publishers Weekly

★ 01/10/2022

With this masterful horror novel, Ward (The Last House on Needless Street) weaves a seething, hallucinatory tale of family, death, and hereditary trauma that will keep readers guessing all the way to the devastating conclusion. Rob has spent years distancing herself from Sundial, her enigmatic childhood home nestled deep in the Mojave Desert, finding comfort and normalcy in playing the role of dutiful wife and mother of two. But when her haunted, volatile daughter, Callie, shows signs that she might be heir to the horrors that Rob has spent so long trying to escape, Rob and Callie must venture back into the Mojave to exorcise the ghosts of Rob’s past before they destroy her family’s future. Ward’s brilliance lies in how she explicates the innate bizarreness of a child’s experience of the world and explores the small cruelties that families are uniquely capable of visiting upon one another through intimacies accumulated and treated as ammunition. The queasy narrative gives its characters plenty of space to explore their unreal circumstances without ever sacrificing momentum, and while the ending skillfully ties together the many threads, it never offers easy answers. This is a must-read for fans of gothic literature and taut psychological thrillers. (Mar.)

From the Publisher

A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
STARRED review from Publishers Weekly!
Anticipated and Recommended by Bustle, USA Today, CNN, i09, The Nerd Daily, LitReactor, GoodReads, LitHub, and more!

“DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.” —Stephen King

Sundial is a heart-in-the-throat smash.” —Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman

“Ward is surely one of the most talented writers working in the thriller genre today. A story where nothing is what it seems—a thrilling hall of mirrors full of deeply disturbing twists. This book will haunt you." —Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Ward coaxes Rob’s gruesome past open like a toxic flower. ...And yet at its core, Sundial is about resilience. …And that, in itself, is an unthinkable feat." The New York Times Book Review

“Masterful...A must-read for fans of gothic literature and taut psychological thrillers.” Publishers Weekly, (starred review)

“Sundial is as brilliant and moving as you would expect from a Catriona Ward book.” —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

Sundial is yet another example of Ward’s ability to create a profoundly unsettling scenario and drive it to a point of explosive terror. Dizzying, intimate, haunting.” —Sarah Gailey, author of The Echo Wife

“Sundial serves up a deeply, deliciously disturbing family mystery.”ShelfAwareness

“No one is as expert as Catriona at pulling the rug out from under the reader's feet. It's eerily beautiful, haunting, wild, grotesque and darkly dazzling.” —Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

“As if we needed further evidence, Sundial confirms Catriona Ward as one of the brightest stars in horror fiction. As compelling and unique a voice for the 21st century as Shirley Jackson was for the 20th. She’s brilliant.”
—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Road of Bones and Ararat

“Holy moly, Sundial plumbs the psychological depths and traps of toxic relationships, expertly mixing suspense, shocks, and menace. It's a wild, twisted family gothic unlike any you've read before, and one you won't soon forget.” —Paul Tremblay, author of Survivor Song and A Head Full of Ghosts

“This novel is reminiscent of the best of Shirley Jackson and Joyce Carol Oates, and I cannot think of higher praise.” —Thomas Olde Heuvelt, author of Hex and Echo

“There are two things you must know about Sundial. First, it's a great read, a genius piece of storytelling. But second, this is true horror, the horror of everyday life that we make ourselves blind to, horror that is brutal, truthful, terrifying. Ward knows horror.” —Alma Katsu, author of The Fervor

“Ward has done it again with Sundial. Elegantly horrifying, this tale of a family's darker-than-dark past drives the knife in deep and isn't afraid to twist. It's a desert-dust nightmare with a scorpion's sting, and I LOVED it.” —Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters

“A deeply dark and unexpected tale about families, love, hate, the long shadow of the past, and the redemptive power of storytelling. Clever, poetic and immersive.” —Araminta Hall, author of Imperfect Women

“Absolutely, stunningly, heartbreakingly wonderful. A wild beast of a book.” —Virginia Feito, author of Mrs. March

**Praise for The Last House on Needless Street**
An Indie Next Pick! A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
A Library Journal Editors' Pick! STARRED reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly!

"[A] terrifying exploration of human consciousness that excavates character like an ice pick chipping through an ancient glacier: The deeper one goes, the chillier it gets." —The New York Times

"[T]he most powerful narratives in the genre manage to create an unshakable sense of unease, and that's exactly what this novel does ... a must-read for those who like the kind of labyrinthine narratives that pull the rug out from under you, sending you tumbling into a dark, dark room." —NPR

“This masterful horror novel packs an emotional wallop that lingers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A stunning and immersive tale of psychological horror. It’s terrifyingly real and physically upsetting, yet, like the best of the genre, it leaves space for hope to ultimately shine through." —Library Journal, starred review

“Full of twists and turns, this high-concept gothic horror is going to be huge.” —Guardian

“The buzz building around Catriona Ward's The Last House on Needless Street is real. I've read it and was blown away. It's a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end. Haven't read anything this exciting since Gone Girl.” —Stephen King

“Sensational….I can’t recall another novel in recent years that dares so much and succeeds so wildly.” —A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

“A chilling and beautiful masterpiece of suspense, cunningly plotted and written with the elegant imagination of a Shirley Jackson or a Sarah Waters. I was completely enthralled.” —Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman

"A breathtakingly ambitious book, gorgeously written, and never once shies away from showing you its fangs and its beautiful blood-filled heart. Stop reading this blurb already and open the damn book." —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts

"A masterpiece. Beautiful, heartbreaking and quietly uplifting. One of the most powerful and well-executed novels I've read in years." —Alex North, author of The Whisper Man

“Absolutely brilliant. This is extraordinary, high-wire-act horror, audacious as hell.” —Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Red Hands

"Dark and creepy, sad and wonderfully strange. It kept me glued and guessing right up to the end—I loved every inch of it." —Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy

"Brilliant. Breathtaking. Terrifying. A masterpiece to read at your own peril." —Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger

"A risky, gleeful descent into a house without windows or doors. It's a must-read for horror fans." —Sarah Langan, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Good Neighbors

This book was like an onion. Layer after layer after layer and then you're crying and somebody's got a knife. A brutal, twisty, puzzle box of a book. I stayed up way past my bedtime.—T. Kingfisher, author of The Hollow Places

"Ward ably handles the series of nested revelations of the truth about the house's inhabitants and how they connect to Ted's own childhood, all the while maintaining a propulsive, suspenseful tone. Recommended for anyone interested in horror with well-realized characters and a claustrophobic, intense setting." —Booklist

“What did I just read?! One perfect sentence after the other ... this is a story I wish I knew how to write—and I'm thrilled that Ward pulled off this trick of a book.” —Rachel Howzell Hall, author of And Now She's Gone

“THIS IS THE BEST HORROR NOVEL I HAVE EVER READ. Even Shirley Jackson, her Majesty, would have to concede to this one.” —Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

“Books like this don't come around too often... I would say I inhaled this in one, but I think I was too busy holding my breath throughout. Bravo.” —Joanne Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The Gospel of Loki

"The new face of literary dark fiction." —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

“You don’t read The Last House on Needless Street—you survive it. This isn’t just a thriller; it’s a sleek, diabolical, stress-inducing machine.” —Jonathan Janz, author of The Siren and the Specter

“Incredible. Absolutely creep-inducing, skin-crawling, even agonising; and also so beautiful, both in writing and heart. One of my favourite things in ages.” —James Smythe, author of The Explorer

“Incredible. Just incredible. Throughout, I didn't know where to put my heart. A breathtaking, fiercely beautiful novel.” —Rio Youers, author of Lola on Fire

“Breathtakingly brilliant. Dark and relentlessly twisty, the best thing I've read this year.” —Lisa Hall, author of The Party

“Not only edge of the seat, terrifying suspenseful horror, but it also broke my heart into tiny pieces. Such exquisite writing.” —Muriel Gray, author of The Ancient

"It’s one eerie mind-bender of a novel in the best way." —Bloody Disgusting

"[A]n immersive, head-shaking, game of a novel that speaks to the horrors of a person’s past and how a horrific event can leave people unchanged for the worse." —SFF World

"This is a true page-turner. Just when you think you’ve figured out what is really going on, you’ll probably realize you were wrong." —Book Reporter

Library Journal


When Rob finds animal parts hidden in her daughter Callie's room, she packs the girl up and takes her to Sundial, her family's remote, now uninhabited outpost in the Mojave Desert. Her father had kept Rob and her sister, Jack, sequestered at Sundial with no access to the outside world or people outside the family, other than the graduate students who came to aid him and his assistant/partner Mia with their experiments. The book shifts between the past, as Rob and Jack learn more about the work their father and Mia are doing, and the present day, as Rob tries to use her time alone with Callie to teach her about the darkness in their family's past. But the longer they stay in the desert, the more Rob comes to realize how unreliable her own version of her family history may be. Ward's (The Last House on Needless Street) latest gets off to a brisk start, slows down in the middle, and then races to the finish at such a breakneck speed that readers may struggle to absorb the full range of horrors Rob is recollecting. Note that many readers will be disturbed by scenes of experiments on animals. VERDICT On its own merits this would be an optional purchase, but since fans of the excellent Needless Street will drive demand, libraries should have it on the shelves.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176251845
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication date: 03/01/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

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