ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window...
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The Whisper Man by Alex North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Whisper Man by Alex North is a 2019 Celadon Books publication.
Unsettling, spine-tingling, and emotionally charged thriller!
After the untimely death of his wife, Tom Kennedy feels like a fresh start in a new location, might help him and his young son, Jake, move forward from their grief and begin the healing process. But almost immediately after moving to Featherbank, a new set of problems presents themselves. Jake has trouble adjusting to his new school, just as another boy Jake’s age goes missing. The child’s disappearance prompts concerns that another serial killer is on the loose in Featherbank- one with the same MO as the dreaded ‘Whisper Man’ who murdered five people twenty years ago. The case becomes personal for Tom and Jake when Jake begins having nightmares, claiming he can hear someone whispering to him at his window….
Meanwhile, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis are working overtime to find this missing boy before another child disappears…
I’ve been avoiding hyped up thrillers, books that everyone is reading, and mostly gushing over, because my experience with these situations has taught me a few hard lessons- mainly, don’t buy into the hype, because I’m only setting myself up for a big disappointment. But, earlier this year, another book by this same publisher became a huge sleeper hit, and although I was highly skeptical, I caved and checked the book out the library. Well, much to my surprise, the book was very good. So, when ‘The Whisper Man’ started to generate a little buzz, I decided to jump on board the already crowded train, just see if lightning might strike twice… And lo and behold, it did!!
But, to be honest, when one gets right down to the nitty and the gritty, this book is basically another thriller with a serial killer trope. However, what sets it apart from so many other cookie-cutter novels in this category, is the characterizations, and the author’s ability to explore the real psychology behind the character’s actions, without compromising the intensity of the real terror one feels while reading this book. The story is packed with strange, creepy, atmospheric vibes, promising Tom and Jake are being threatened by true evil.
While the mystery is compelling, and the atmosphere is thick and heavy, the author takes a story of horror and dread, and adds in a deeper, more complex angle- a topic that isn’t explored often enough in general fiction, much less in a thriller- the dynamics of the father-son relationship.
The story is very masculine, with the few female characters being suspect, bland, or not very nice-like Jake’s teacher, for example. I never bristled though, because the male leads are portrayed as flawed, burdened, troubled, and vulnerable, and the book never once veered off into an alpha male, testosterone driven story.
From start to finish this is a well written, intense, highly suspenseful thriller- but it is also smart and profound, ending not only with extreme, exhilarating relief, as I released a breath I didn't realize I was holding- 😉, but also on a note of redemptive satisfaction.
Overall, this is another winner for Celadon Books, but as a reader, I’m super excited about Alex North! If this is his debut novel, I wonder how much his talent will develop over time.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North's own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with "the boy