Book review: A Knock at the Door by TW Ellis

Friday, July 24, 2020 Permalink

I had to re-read the last third of A Knock at the Door by TW Ellis before writing this review. Ellis (aka author Tom Wood writing his first psychological thriller) throws in a twist at the end that is fabulous and exceedingly clever, but made me question a lot that came before. So… I figured I must have missed something.

I can’t say too much about the twist and its impact on everything of course, but I’m not sure Ellis has shaped the narrative sufficiently (a la Louise Candlish’s The Other Passenger, written in an interview style) to pull it off.

Although it’s a small part of the plot, Ellis / Wood does however write about anxiety in a way that blew my mind. It’s so insightful. I expected it to play more of a role in what came next—which it didn’t—but I bookmarked a heap of paragraphs that described anxiety and its impacts, beautifully.

The way I see it is that we have a finite capacity for dealing with stress. It doesn’t matter if that capacity is overfilled by one huge trauma or lots of little ones. Once we’re over it then we’re in trouble. After that point we can’t cope. p 14

Book review: A Knock at the Door by TW EllisA Knock at the Door
by T.W. Ellis
Published by Sphere
on 14/07/2020
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9780751575934
Pages: 400

Your husband isn't who he says he is, say the people at your door. Come with us.

Don't trust them, says a voice on the phone. Run.

Who would you believe?

This is a clever book. Readers (like our lead, Jem herself) really don’t know who to trust. Ellis very much keeps us guessing on that front.

We come to care about Jem as Ellis does a good job at building her into a complex character. Although they feature less, old crotchety local Trevor and local cop Rusty are also well developed characters, both of whom felt very real.

The book opens with a weird game of one-upmanship between Jem and her husband Leo which is never fully explained. Is it typical of their relationship? we wonder. Given the premise of the book centres around Jem being able to believe in her husband I felt we needed more about their relationship.

So… there are a few plot holes or inconsistencies; things that didn’t quite seem feasible or logical but I was very much swept up in the events of the unfolding story. And then Ellis swoops in and tricks us. Maybe.

This could easily have been a 4.5 star read for me as it’s twisty and Ellis does an amazing job at reflecting life with anxiety. I’d certainly recommend it.

No one ever wants to feel anxious but it’s a total normal part of life as a human being. We’re all going to have anxiety in the face of severe stresses from time to time. Thing is: the cause should be clear. When there’s no cause there should be no anxious feelings.

If only things were that simple.

With anxiety there are no little stresses and there are no small fears. Every stress is extreme. Even the most minor problem can trigger crippling feelings of hopelessness. Everyday obstacles can be terrifying to overcome. Even today most people don’t understand anxiety because everyone worries at times and everyone can be occasionally anxious. That’s natural. It’s even a good thing. We would be dangerously reckless without any fear. The difference between feeling anxious and anxiety is that the latter is chronic. There might not be any good reason to feel afraid. You might be afraid of something that shouldn’t be scary. You should know you shouldn’t be anxious but you are anyway. You can’t control it. p 95

A Knock at the Door by TW Ellis was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


Comments are closed.