Elizabeth Knox

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Image‘Wake not only gifts New Zealand literature with a fine horror novel, it is also Knox’s second contender for the year’s -best lists. It lingers as more than an intricate piece of blood-splattered clockwork; it is the work of an author who knows horror is more than gross anatomy. It’s also the ghosts and ruins of our own hearts.’

One sunny spring morning the Tasman Bay settlement of Kahukura is overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead. As they try to take care of one another, and survive in ever more difficult circumstances, it becomes apparent that they are trapped with something unseen, which is picking at the loose threads of their characters, corrupting, provoking, and haunting them.

Wake is a book about what it really means to try to do your best, about the choices and sacrifices we face in order to keep a promise like I will take care of you. It is a book that asks: ‘What are the last things left when the worst has happened?’ It is a book about extreme events, ordinary people, heroic compassion – and invisible monsters.

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‘Knox keeps the monster off stage and examines the psychological consequences of its depredations on the survivors, subverting the norms of the horror genre and thus making the ambiguous finale all the more startling. Wake reads like a collaboration between Dean Koontz and John Wyndham, rewritten by Margaret Atwood.’


‘…┬áthe novel is a triumph all of its own. Knox writes with a rare psychological acuity about humans under pressure in a baffling, intolerable predicament.’

Financial Times

‘When policewoman Theresa Grey arrives in the New Zealand spa town of Kahukura to investigate reports of a downed helicopter, she finds the locals in the grip of madness. In an action-packed, chaotic opening, the town succumbs to a malevolent and mysterious force. The place is soon littered with corpses. But the massacre ends as abruptly as it began and we home in on a group of 13 survivors. They find themselves unable to escape, but with no immediate threat apparent and enough supplies to last months, the novel moves from splatterfest to quietly rendered psychological horror. Have they been lulled into a false sense of security? Is there a monster still at large? Elizabeth Knox’s Wake is literary horror that subverts horror’s hoary cliches to brilliant and chilling effect.’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘Highly entertaining’
The NZ Herald

‘Behold the thinking reader’s scifi-horror, with all the toe-curling carnage and chaos a horror fan could wish for, and the literary chops to lift it soaring above your garden variety gore fest.’
Shelley Howells, Kia Ora

‘Elizabeth Knox has the most original and lateral literary mind in New Zealand. After a few years silence she’s back at the top of her game … I steamed through the book; by the end my hair stood of end. I shouted , “Holy shit!” several times.’
Kathy Hunter, Metro


The Guardian
Financial Times
The Australian
Sydney Morning Herald

New Zealand Herald
The Nelson Mail
A lovely blog review
And this from Scoop
Radio New Zealand review of Wake

Interview on Radio New Zealand

My Blog Links
Where Wake came from
My History with Horror




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