This book was my 2018 December Book Cover of the Month.
Spoiler Free Summary: In Knock and You Will See Me by Andrew Cull Ellie Ray is still morning the death of her father when he delivers her a note. The crumpled, hand-written letter just asks, “Why?” This classic style ghost story gives chills in all the right places as creepy escalates to flat-out scary. Will Ellie find whatever it is that’s terrorizing her family? When she does, will she be able to stop it?
Character: In too many horror stories (regardless of medium), the character always has some sort of moment of stupid. It’s a flaw of the genre that, thankfully, Cull doesn’t exploit. Ellie isn’t a genius or even particularly clever. What she is, is a realistic, thoughtful woman at her wits’ end. Some of the choices she makes have negative consequences, but they’re never just idiotic decisions just to move the plot forward or prompt a boringly telegraphed jump scare.
Exposition: First-person narrative sort of emphasizes the exposition in this story. There is some info-dump here and there, but I’d say it’s better than the average first-person story. The plot moves pretty quickly, and that is key in a good page-turning horror story.
Worldbuilding: You have to grade this on a curve. Horror is all about keeping information back until the right time. So while this isn’t full of detailed scenery and scope, it’s not supposed to be. The timing is great for the story. It does a great job of building suspense. Yeah, the ending is open-ended, and that always frustrates me, but it was honestly hard to put down.
Dialogue: The good news is, I don’t remember it being bad. The bad news is, I don’t remember it at all. It didn’t bug me. There are a few conversations with the local sheriff (or law person) that provided some solid tension and sympathy, but I wouldn’t call it snappy or anything.
Description: This was perfect, especially for the genre. It was creepy in all the right places. I was prevented detail when it built tension, but when that tension peaked, the description was vivid. I’d like to put a special note to the description that implied emotions. This is an area of weakness for me, and reading this book helped me add a few “show don’t tell” tricks to my bag. Cull does a great job evoking emotion without paragraphs of information or ham-handed descriptors.
Overall: This story was fantastic and pretty hard to put down. I tore through it in about a week. I’d recommend it to any thriller or horror fans. This was just a great, classic horror story that I think would make Hitchcock proud.
Thanks for reading