I’m delighted (and still a little amazed) to finally announce that my next book, The Knock-Knock Man, will be published on 19th May 2022 through Red Door Press. It has been a long, long road to get it to this stage, and it’s consumed my life far more than it should have done. But it’s here, it’s done, and I can breathe again. And then start writing something new, and go through it all again. I will forever be grateful to Clare Christian at Red Door for having enough faith in my ghoulish creation to give it life.
The book deals with faith too. Faith and family, redemption and revenge. And ghosts. Maybe. Part crime thriller, a little bit of a detective mystery, with a healthy slash of folk horror, The Knock-Knock Man asks whether you should be more afraid of ghosts or humans.
Here’s the blurb for the book –
Who is The Knock-Knock Man? A ghost, a killer, or the figment of a frightened boy’s imagination?
It is a question that continues to haunt disgraced New Salstone police officer, Ali Davenport, fifteen months after the devastating case that changed the course of her life. Now, after the death of her former colleague, Ernie, Ali has returned home to face a past that won’t stay buried.
Found in the disused office building where he worked as night security, Ernie’s death has been ruled as a suicide. But not everyone is convinced. Wild stories are circulating about a supernatural presence in the building, an entity that might have attacked Ernie that fateful night. With the sale of the building about to go through, Ali is hired by its owner to work Ernie’s remaining night shifts and debunk the potentially damaging story. An easy enough job, if you don’t believe in ghosts. But then Ali meets Will, a teenage ghost hunter who claims to have evidence on film…
Forming an unlikely partnership, Ali and Will soon fall headlong into a mystery that takes them through New Salstone’s macabre history and into Ali’s own dark past. As the pieces of the puzzle come together, Ali is forced to face the question of The Knock-Knock Man one last time. But what Ali doesn’t know is The Knock-Knock Man has already been watching her for a very long time…
And if you like that, you can read the (very short) prologue too, right here
And if you’re still here, then this is the cover (designed by Patrick Knowles)
I’ve been lucky to secure three jacket endorsements from three of my favourite writers too – Lucie McKnight Hardy (author of the short story collection Dead Relatives, and the sublime novel Water Shall Refuse Them) the legend that is Stephen Volk (Ghostwatch) and queen of noir, Cathi Unsworth (Weirdo, Bad Penny Blues) It still feels vaguely surreal that they even agreed to read it, let alone offer quotes and I’m hugely grateful (and relieved) that they liked it.
A sharp, chilling mystery with tremendously engaging characters, written in taut prose with occasional stabs of acerbic wit, this thriller with a dark heart is a real treat. I loved it and genuinely couldn’t put it down – Stephen Volk
A beguiling blend of the supernatural and crime fiction that kept me on my toes until the very end – Lucie McKnight Hardy
Russell Mardell has fashioned a hugely original and totally terrifying folk horror noir from the rich ingredients of the Wiltshire countryside – a landscape steeped in ancient mystery, ancestral sin, class exploitation and superstition – that has both contemporary resonance and the echo of the timeless. A land where both Dennis and Ben Wheatley meet and fear of the supernatural is only matched by the evil that men do – Cathi Unsworth
More to come on the novel soon. If you want to pre-order The Knock-Knock Man you can do so right now from all the usual places. If you want to grab a copy, please consider supporting your local indie (this is good advice in all things) and if you want a special signed edition of the book, you can pre-order one right now from the mighty Rocketship Bookshop – here.