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The Violence

A novel by

2023 ITW Award for Best Hardcover Novel (nominee)

"Delilah Dawson might have written the novel that defines this era."—Stephen Graham Jones, NYT bestselling author of The Only Good Indians.

A provocative, timely, heart-wrenching thriller that will appeal to fans of Naomi Alderman's The Power and Christina Sweeney-Baird's The End of Men.

When Chelsea Martin kisses her husband hello at the door of their perfect home, a chilled bottle of beer in hand and dinner on the table, she may look like the ideal wife, mother, and homemaker—but in fact she's following an unwritten rulebook, carefully navigating David's stormy moods in a desperate nightly bid to avoid catastrophe. If family time doesn't go exactly the way David wants, bad things happen—to Chelsea, and to the couple's seventeen-year-old daughter, Ella. Cut off from all support, controlled and manipulated for years, Chelsea has no resources and no one to turn to. Her wealthy, narcissistic mother, Patricia, would rather focus on the dust on her chandelier than acknowledge Chelsea's bruises. After all, Patricia's life looks perfect on the surface, too.

But the façade crumbles when a mysterious condition overtakes the nation. Known as the Violence, it causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bursts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. The ensuing chaos brings opportunity for Chelsea—and inspires a plan to liberate herself and her family once and for all.

Genre: Science Fiction

Praise for this book

"Dawson pulls no punches in The Violence, an edge-of-your-seat thriller packed with horror and hope. You won't put this one down until the wee hours of the morning." - Christina Dalcher

"With three-dimensional female characters and a timely subject, Delilah Dawson's The Violence reads like Stephen King at his best. A powerful, moving story with broad appeal." - Sara Donati

"Visceral, thrilling . . . A novel paced like a fistfight, aching like a just-gone tooth--but there's hope in the harrowing." - Max Gladstone

"Horrifying and inspiring in equal measure, The Violence shines a light on the epidemic of abuse women have always endured, folded into a stellar thriller full of danger, courage, and characters who feel alive." - Christopher Golden

"The Violence isn't just a timely, ripping thriller--it's an intimate, thoughtful, heart-wrenching portrait of abuse and power, and how those things ripple through generations." - Rob Hart

"The Violence is Dawson at her best: unflinching yet empathetic, the brutal and the gentle side by side, rage and despair tempered with joy and hope." - Kevin Hearne

"A compulsively readable fusion of domestic thriller and modern horror that shocks and surprises at every turn. A must-read!" - Kameron Hurley

"The Violence in The Violence might be contagious, but what you really catch here is the anger--so righteous and so right here, right now--in a novel that defines this era." - Stephen Graham Jones

"A paean to the resilience of women . . . As the characters in this novel fight for their lives in a pandemic-cursed hellscape, The Violence could not be more of-the-moment." - Alma Katsu

"A gorgeously creative and surprisingly gleeful story about the way violence infects every aspect of American life." - Sarah Langan

"With The Violence, Dawson takes no damn prisoners: a powerful, fascinating, and courageous gut punch of a book." - Jonathan Maberry

"The Violence is a stunning story with a cast of fully developed characters and an utterly convincing plot. It's a dark, exciting, and often charming tale of three amazing people who discover just how strong women can be." - Louisa Morgan

"An inspiring story of self-discovery, resilience, and hope, and a page-turning thrill ride that will leave you breathless." - Sylvain Neuvel

"Delilah S. Dawson has crafted a pandemic thriller that's so much more--a piercing examination of survival, courage, and self, terrifying and hopeful in equal measure." - Peng Shepherd

"A staggering, masterful tale of survival and redemption during a literal epidemic of violence. Dawson is a storyteller working at the top of her class." - Chuck Wendig

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