Laura SimsNov 17, 2023
How Can I Help You
No one knows Margo's real name. Her colleagues and patrons at a small-town public library only know her middle-aged normalcy, congeniality, and charm. They have no reason to suspect that she is, in fact, a former nurse with a trail of countless premature deaths in her wake. She has turned a new page, so to speak, and the library is her sanctuary, a place to quell old urges.
That is, at least, until Patricia, a recent graduate and failed novelist, joins the library staff. Patricia quickly notices Margo's subtly sinister edge, and watches her carefully. When a patron's death in the library bathroom gives her a hint of Margo's mysterious past, Patricia can't resist digging deeper--even as this new fixation becomes all-consuming.
Taut and compelling, How Can I Help You explores the dark side of human nature and the dangerous pull of artistic obsession as these "transfixing dual female narrators" (Kimberly McCreight) hurtle toward a stunning climax.
How Can I Help You (Putnam, 2023) is a LibraryReads Top Ten Pick of July, an Amazon Editors’ Pick of the Month, a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, and one of CrimeReads’ 10 Best Books of July. Laura Sims’s first novel, LOOKER, was chosen as a “Best Book” by Vogue, People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire UK, and more, and is now in development for television by eOne and Emily Mortimer’s King Bee Productions. An award-winning poet, Sims has published four poetry collections; her essays and poems have appeared in The New Republic, Boston Review, Conjunctions, and Electric Lit. She and her family live in New Jersey, where she works part-time as a reference librarian and hosts the library’s lecture series.
- Nathan Oates, A Flaw in the Design
- Marianna Enriquez, Our Share of Night
- Hilary Leichter, Terrace Story
Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.