Get A First Look At The Cover Of Laura Sims’ How Can I Help You

The author of Looker returns with a book that Mona Awad calls “a dark and spellbinding descent into jolly madness.”

Laura Sims is the author of 'How Can I Help You.'
Courtesy/Jen Lee, Jen Lee Productions

Thriller readers, take note! Laura Sims — the novelist and poet behind Looker and Staying Alive — will return next summer with How Can I Help You, a novel about two librarians caught in a deadly web of intrigue. The title is already available for preorder — and you can get a first look at its cover, designed by Eric Fuentecilla, below.

How Can I Help You follows Margo, a middle-aged woman whose innocuous position as a small-town librarian obscures a dark secret: Years ago, when Margo worked as a nurse under a different name, she was responsible for the deaths of many patients. Since getting a fresh start at the library, she hasn’t had the urge to kill in a long time, and it truly seems she’s turned over a new leaf... until her new coworker, Patricia, arrives.

Patricia is fairly innocuous, too: She’s looking to start a new life as a librarian after her dreams of becoming a successful writer failed to materialize. But Patricia picks up on Margo’s capacity for malice more than anyone else — and when a patron turns up dead in the bathroom, Patricia launches a full-on investigation. What follows is a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, or as Bunny author Mona Awad writes, “a dark and spellbinding descent into jolly madness.”

Cover by Eric Fuentecilla

Fans already know that Sims’ plots are rarely as straightforward as they appear. In her debut novel — 2019’s Looker, which is currently in development at HBO Max — Sims focused on an unnamed English professor who slowly became obsessed with a young actor living in her neighborhood. At first blush, Looker appears to be a Hitchcockian thrill ride, but it quickly unspools into a treatise on love and grief. Similarly, How Can I Help You promises to engage with deeper themes: As author Paul Tremblay writes, Sims has woven “a sly meditation on art and identity and the depths we’ll go to protect our constructs.”

How Can I Help You is out on July 18, 2023 from Putnam, and is available for pre-order today.