Dark, winding, and wonderfully addictive…
McDowell portrays a damaged couple trying to come to terms with their past trauma in this incisive and disquieting tale. Trying to put the traumatic tragedy of their past behind, Ben and Hannah Decker move into a new home, hoping to begin afresh. But things quickly take a strange turn when the couple’s new neighbor, Jean Jackson, comes knocking at their door. Despite her initial dislike of Jean, Hannah soon forms a close bond of friendship with her. But Ben doesn’t trust Jean’s friendly demeanor. His suspicions come to life when a shocking nightmare descends upon the family. McDowell excels at constructing the unsettling atmosphere of a dark psychological thriller, contrasting the mundane routines of family life with the grimness lurking in the background driving the plot. Moving seamlessly between his various characters’ backstories, he slowly establishes the connections between Ben and Hannah’s inner disquiet, Jake’s tragic death, and Jean’s ulterior motive. His prose is expert, and the surprising tenderness at the story’s heart is only magnified by the lingering disquiet in the protagonists’ lives. Readers watch as Ben, Hannah, and Jean’s backstories are peeled, layer by layer, revealing a tangled web of dark secrets. Instead of shoveling gruesome details into the narrative, McDowell uses heavy foreshadowing, all the while maintaining a sense of human connection: he enhances the story line with a deep dive into Ben and Hannah’s psychology, highlighting the couple’s complex responses to their son’s traumatic death. The multilayered characterization and depth of the emotions make this stand out. Riveting.
When She Comes Knocking
Black Rose Writing
Pub date June 1, 2023
Price $19.95 (USD) Paperback, $4.99 Kindle