The Shards

Bret Easton Ellis

The Sunday Times Bestseller

‘A full-spectrum triumph’ Guardian

A sensational new novel from the bestselling author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho that tracks a group of privileged Los Angeles high school friends as a serial killer strikes across the city. His first novel in 13 years, The Shards is Bret Easton Ellis at his inimitable best.

LA, 1981. Buckley College in heat. 17-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive Buckley prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends, even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equalled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with The Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence.

Can he trust his friends – or his own mind – to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires, buffeted by unhealthy fixations, Bret spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between The Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision.

Gripping, sly, suspenseful, deeply haunting and often darkly funny, The Shards is a mesmerizing fusing of fact and fiction that brilliantly explores the emotional fabric of Bret’s life at 17 – sex and jealousy, obsession and murderous rage.


ISBN: 9781800752290

Published: January 17, 2023


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Published: October 24, 2023


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Reviews for The Shards

The Shards isn’t just Ellis’s strongest novel since the 90s, it’s a full-spectrum triumph, incorporating and subverting everything he’s done before and giving us, if we follow the book’s ingenious, gleefully self-aware conceit, nothing less than the Ellis origin story’ – Sam Byers, Guardian

‘The Shards reads like a Karl Ove Knausgård novel spliced with a Dario Argento moviean inspired 1980s fever dream of a book, nostalgic and lustful and ecstatic, as well as a loving act of pop-cultural conservation … what a charm to find that The Shards is as vital as anything he’s ever written – and it’s the one all the other BEE novels are about’ – Rob Doyle, Observer

‘A tale of sexed-up, drug-guzzling privileged high school students in the early 1980s …Glossy and grotesque’ – The Times

‘It’s Ellis’s definitive work: his own origin story’ David Sexton, Sunday Times

If you like Bret Easton Ellis novels you’ll love thisqueasily gripping, strikingly heartfelt, and a whole lot of fun’ – Alex Bilmes, Esquire

‘The author of American Psycho returns in characteristic, high-octane, disturbing style … Welcome back, Mr Easton Ellis’ – Harper’s Bazaar

‘A thrilling fusion of classic crime noir, pop culture porn and new wave gloss,The Shards is the pinnacle of Bret Easton Ellis’ creative career and everything we have come to hope, expect and fear from him’ – Benjamin Myers


Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis is also the author of American Psycho, Glamorama, The Informers, Less Than Zero, Lunar Park and The Rules of Attraction. His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He lives in Los Angeles.