A Key of Whispers – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Jacob Albrecht

In Jacob Albrecht’s A Key of Whispers, Daniel is traumatized by having witnessed his father’s death in a car accident years earlier. Plagued by vivid nightmares and afraid of anything related to horror, Daniel decides that the only way he can face his fears is to face them head-on. The “Horror House” at the local fair seems like a safe place to start, but he soon discovers that the terrors in the house are real – and terrifying.

A Key of Whispers holds a great deal of promise, but there are a few areas in the book that are lacking a bit. For instance, the timeline skips around a lot in the beginning, which can lead to some confusion for readers. Also, there are too many characters introduced at once, which takes away from the power of the narrator’s dialogue. Certain phrases and scenes seemed a bit distracting or otherwise unnecessary, but none were so detrimental as to tarnish the rest of the book.

In fact, A Key of Whispers is a fantastic horror novel, largely because of its believability. Jacob Albrecht writes in a powerful and descriptive, yet relatable voice that draws the reader in and keeps them hooked until the very end. Although there may be a few horror tropes sprinkled throughout the novel, they are well-written and feel more like revisiting the classics than being pounded with clichés. A Key of Whispers is terrifying and suspenseful, yet creative and immersive in a way that few horror writers can replicate; this is a great debut novel from a new horror writer who shows a great deal of promise for all his future writing endeavors.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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