“Chizmar’s great gift is that he knows the people on your block—and he knows their darkest secrets. This guy is gold.”
“For some, the impulse lives closer to the surface and instead of fighting it, they embrace it. The worst of them, the truly evil, listen for it…that tantalizing, deceitful voice from somewhere underneath it all.”
From New York Times bestseller Richard Chizmar, author of Gwendy's Button Box (with Stephen King) and The Long Way Home, comes a thriller that will forever change the way you look at your neighbors and best friends...
When the Tuckers’ next door neighbor mentions someone rang their doorbell late the previous night, Sarah and Kenny Tucker check their home’s security camera and discover something shocking: the doorbell ringer also visited their house and it wasn’t a teenager playing a prank, but instead a terrified young woman with a shackle hanging from her right wrist. She anxiously pressed the doorbell again and again, glancing over her shoulder as if someone was coming for her, before giving up and taking off into the dark.
Almost overnight, she becomes known as The Girl on the Porch—and she’s everywhere. There are updates on all the local networks, national coverage on CNN and Fox News, and the video goes viral on social media. Before long, everyone has seen the harrowing security camera footage.
Kenny and Sarah figure it’s only a matter of time before someone recognizes the woman, but as the days pass and no one comes forward, odd things begin to transpire around the Tucker family: a man intensely watches them at a restaurant and then vanishes, fresh footprints appear in the garden next to their house where no one should have been, a neighbor’s pet is viciously killed and mutilated, and a mysterious man has started following their daughter Natalie...
A rollercoaster ride of compelling twists and turns, The Girl on the Porch demonstrates why Stephen King says Richard Chizmar’s writing is “powerful” and Robert McCammon calls his work “hard-hitting, spooky, suspenseful, harrowing, and heartbreaking.”
Set in Fallston, Md., this gripping novella from Chizmar (A Long December) opens with a disturbing scenario. When Kenny and Sarah Tucker's next-door neighbors, Frank and Angie Upton, report that someone rang their doorbell in the middle of the night, Kenny and Sarah dismiss it as a prank. Then they check the footage on the camera installed on their own home security system, which shows a half-clothed woman desperately ringing the bell, a shackle visibly swinging from her wrist. Police detectives get on the case. Unable to identify the woman or figure out what has happened to her, the police comb the neighborhood in hopes of a lead; they question the Tuckers, the Uptons, and anyone else who might have useful information. Subsequent unsettling events, including the killing of a pet, ratchet up the tension. Unfortunately, the ending disappoints, if only because the length of the narrative doesn't delay the climax enough to be wholly satisfying. Nonetheless, Chizmar successfully builds a nice sense of creepiness. Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the city where the novel is set.