Ah, you can’t beat a good, old-fashioned ghost story. Not the one where the ghost is terrorising a house, but one where it has a purpose. And that’s what Hope and Walker is — a story with a purpose.
Em’s father owns a funeral parlour where she grows a fascination with talking to and drawing the dead. However, when young Billy is murdered, it hits her hard. Like the rest, she talks to and draws him. What she didn’t expect was for him to talk back to her.
Hope and Walker isn’t scary, nor has it tried to be. Wrhat it is though, is a tense mystery that keeps going right up to the last line of the book. Author, Andrew Cull, does a tremendous job of this thanks to some exhilarating prose. It reads at such a fast pace you get to understand the main character, Em, and what it is like for her in the situations she has been put in.
It’s such a simple yet effective story. By choosing to go this route of a traditional ghost story, Cull has given himself a path to avoid the cliches that you’d normally associate with ghost stories. By choosing to put the focus on Em, there was no need to fill the story with red herrings. We know there’s a killer out there. We don’t know if the person will ever be caught. There isn’t much focus on this until a wonderful shift toward the end. And that was perhaps the hardest part of this story — shifting from the focus of Em’s relationship with Billy to that of finding the killer; but Cull doesn’t fall into the trap, and never looked like he ever would.
Exhilarating prose shrouded within a mysterious story, topped off with an interesting character, Cull has taken the traditional ghost story formula and made it his own.