Knox by (see a full list of contributors at the end)
My rating: I’ll post my finally rating at the conclusion of the season.
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Knox is a series on Serial Box that updates weekly episodes. Purchasing the season gives you access to the entire season as each episode becomes available. Each season is a collaboration with several talented writers including Rivera, one of my personal favorites. You can either read or listen to each episode, or switch between the two at will. I opted to listen to each episode and this was an entirely new experience for me. (Though I’ve switched to text as well just to experience that as well.) It’s not exactly like listening to a typical audio book either. Listening to Knox is like listening to a classic noir radio drama. It feels very in the moment with great narration, theme music and well designed sound effects sprinkled throughout. I’m loving the fun immersion provided for this series.
For this review, I’ll be updating with a short review for each episode as I listen/read, with an over all review included at the conclusion of the season. Since this will be a constantly updating post, I won’t have a separate spoiler free review. Be advised: from this point forward, spoilers are likely.
Ep. 1 The Book Collector
The series starts right in the middle of action. Morgan Knox is a tough private detective on a case and has been for the last few months. We enter the story at a huge turning point but not really in Knox’s favor. Obviously, starting like this had me completely in the dark as to what was going on, but at the same time I was immediately pulled in. I wanted to know. Right from the start I found myself liking Knox. I want to know more about who she is. The first episode already gives us a few clues to her back story, but we don’t get a solid idea just yet.
The side characters are few and they don’t get a lot of “screen time” just yet, but the relationships Knox has with a few are very apparent and well defined in what little we do know, from her current client Siverek to her old mentor Kreznick. It might just be the nature of how this info presented, but a little is going a long way with this story.
I went into this story already knowing there is a fantasy twist to the plot, but the way it’s presented has pulled me in the same way starting in the middle of action has done. There is such a light mentioning of the otherworldly things Knox can see that it caught my attention and kept me listening hoping to get more info. The comments were here and gone so quickly. I appreciated that these things weren’t given a lot of attention because they are apparently so common for Knox at this point in her life. The episode ends with these creatures being the last thing in our minds, and it was a great reminder that there is more going on than we can see.
Ep. 2 Two Dames
This episode starts us in a similar mindset to how the first one left us. Knox’s mysterious ability is immediately the first thing we see, adding more intrigue into finding out exactly what is going on with her. Knox continues to ask the questions that we as the reader are asking. I enjoy learning why her current case is so different right along with her. With the addition of a character that clearly has it out for her, we get to see a little bit more about Knox’s past. What she went through, her relationship to the local authorities. Additionally, the amount of diversity that has already been evident so far has been great to see.
The best part about the episode is getting to see a bit more of Knox’s personal life. This was exactly what I wanted, getting to know more about her as a person. I enjoyed the scene in the bar, seeing Knox interact with another character that had nothing to do with the case. In this scene we get a few possible hints at Knox’s personal interests in her spending time with Dakota Slim. The dynamic between these two was filled with tension that bordered on sexual. We don’t get much about what kind of past they might have whether it’s strictly platonic or not, but I really enjoyed that fact.
The case gets brought back to the forefront of Knox’s mind and we are stuck with the anticipation of what she will find out.
Ep. 3 The Dead Man’s Tale
We get to really start seeing the relationships Knox has with the people around her in this episode. In it we meet Ellen Jacobs, who works at the morgue. There’s some history between the two and the tension there was written very nicely. I’m very hopeful that we get to learn more about this, because it seems like Ellen will be reoccurring.
The action also gets really accelerated in this chapter too. The noir mystery aspect becomes very evident with a chase through Penn station for control of a mysterious case and it’s contents. Once Knox plays the phonograph from the train station locker this is where the horror genre really starts to feel legitimate. Of course we’ve already seen the fragments of the hidden world only Knox can see, the seemingly possessed people, and the odd way Siverek was killed. In this phonograph Siverek Tells Knox he knows he will be killed and tasks her with finding who. As Knox and her conpanions listen to the recording though they start to hear whispers in the background. Not of other people that might have been in the room, but something else unseen.
Now THIS is where the audio portion of this experience really starts to shine. This whispers are kind of terrifying. I was so unsettled the entire time it was happening and I loved it. It was scary, but great. I went the entire day after listening feeling this way. It was so nicely done that I can’t imagine it quite having the same affect by only reading the words. By the end of the recording too, I feel like this is where the real focus of the story falls into place. Knox has leads to follow and a goal, albeit still being a bit left in the dark on both.
Ep. 4 The Cold Burn
Just like the previous episode, this one had some intense spooky moments. Another stretch of the whispers and some rather terrifying voices was fantastic. The audio of the chapter truly got to me this time and I loved it. Knox and her team start following some leads and Knox comes across one of the most terrifying things in a horror story: a child.
A lot of information gets brought up in this chapter, lot’s of names, leads being followed, etc. We finally get to meet a character that has been previously mentioned, Ji-hwan Pak. He is in this chapter briefly, but I”m already fond of his character. I’m hopeful that he ends up being a bigger factor and a good person. The episode ends a bit cliffhanger-y again and actually has me pretty excited for the next one. The mystery aspect is getting more intriguing in addition to the horror.
Ep. 5 The Mark
I think this has been my favorite episode thus far. Knox gets dressed up to inflitrate a shady underground club and absolutely hates it. I really liked getting to see the more personal side of Knox again. Not only do we get a sense of her based on her reactions to wearing the dress, but we learn the she once had a husband as well. These gradual tidbits about her are well paced. I am enjoying the overall story, but Knox as a character is really interesting and the main thing that keeps me coming back.
The noir aspect is really strong again too. The entire episode takes place in this club full of cigar girls, music, and booze. We get to actually meet all of the suspects in Siverek’s murder. Each has a unique personality, and each are interesting in various aspects. The real excitement though is getting to see Leclére again. I’m loving her character a lot as for as supporting cast goes. I genuinely can’t tell what her full involvement is in all of the things going on. Knox and Pak get somehow poisoned while Leclére is singing on stage and some unexplainable things begin happening to the people in the club. Leclére helps both Knox and Pak, and has enough antidote for one of them to take. Knox insists she give it to Pak and we are left wondering what the hell is going to happen to her.
Ep. 6 Sometimes We Carry Each Other
So far this is probably my least favorite episode. That’s not to say it was bad though. The entire episode is Knox reliving past trauma from the war as she is suffering from the poison she inhaled in the previous episode. We get to learn so much about Knox from this, but at the same time the forward momentum of the story comes to a screeching halt. That’s what makes this one so difficult for me to really place. I liked seeing Knox’s time in the war and learning about her past relationships. There’s still a bit of fuzziness around her ability to see things beyond the natural world, but I’m not sure that we will get any hard facts on how that started and honestly, I’m okay with this. I don’t think it’s something I need to know all of the back story on. It also wasn’t clear what is happening with Knox after the poison. I’m looking forward to finding out how she manages to get out of that situation.
Ep. 7 Down and Out in New York City
Contributing writers: K Arsenault Rivera, Brooke Bolander, Gabino Iglesias, and Sunny Moraine.
Narrated by: Pilar Uribe.
Knox provided for free by Serial Box in return for an honest review.