‘Tense, chilling’ Mariana Enriquez, author of Our Share of Night

'Lays bare intergenerational horror, feminine rage and the taking back of power' Stylist

'Incredible' Financial Times

The house breathes.

The house contains bodies and secrets.

The house is visited by ghosts, by angels that line the roof like insects, and by saints that burn the bedsheets with their haloes.

It was built by a small-time hustler as a means of controlling his wife, and even after so many years, their daughter and her granddaughter can’t leave.

They may be witches or they may just be angry, but when the mysterious disappearance of a young boy draws unwanted attention, the two isolated women, already subjects of public scorn, combine forces with the spirits that haunt them in pursuit of something that resembles justice.

Layla Martínez’s eerie debut novel Woodworm is class-conscious horror that drags generations of monsters into the sun.

Translated by Sophie Hughes and Annie McDermott

**Readers love Woodworm**

‘It draws you in and slams the door behind you’
‘A monstrous debut’
‘I want to read this book again and again’
‘Biting and inventive’
‘Shirley Jackson by way of Lina Wolff’
‘Deeply, and wonderfully, unsettling’
‘Evokes horrific imagery with a poetic, gnashing tongue’


  • An incredible reinvention of the haunted house as a place marked by history’s ghosts.
    Financial Times

About the author

Layla Martinez

Layla Martínez is a writer and translator from Madrid. She writes about music for El Salto, and about television for La Última Hora. Since 2014 she has co-directed the independent publisher Antipersona. Woodworm is her first novel.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more