If your lonely, sad, and blue, the whisper man will come for you.
Caledon Books | 2019
Opening Hook: Your kid’s dead imaginary friend
Main Character: Grief-stricken and raw
Plot Twisty-ness: We need Ghost Hunters to figure this out
I’m usually super hesitant to read a book that is making the rounds on the Hype Train Express. I tend to be disappointed; closing the book only to be like, “well, I definitely read this wrong? What is everyone talking about?” (But let’s be real, I’m not actually reading the books wrong.)
Either way, none of that applies this time. To quote Bailey Sarian: Nay, nay I say! The Whisper Man by Alex North gets an overly enthusiastic 5-stars from me. Like so enthusiastic, it’s almost sexual.
This book legit unnerved me and I can’t say that happens very often. Because I’m dead inside? Likely. Because I read so much dark fiction? Most probable. But with this one, I was turning on the lights and setting my home alarm. This was dark and twisty and creepy AF.
A few choice moments started to weave a seemingly supernatural theme into the plotline, but it was never blatant so I didn’t know what I was reading until it all came together. North kept me on the edge of my seat, tips of my toes and the end of my last nerve for the entire novel. I fucking loved it. I don’t feel like I have enough words to fully explain to you just how much I loved this, so, have this gif instead:
This is the level I’m at.
The highlights are this: A small town with a serial killer past. A kidnapped young boy. A creepy house in need of some serious HGTV renovations. And a father with a young, strange son who is looking for a fresh start after the death of his wife.
The chapters are told from the rotating POVs of Tom – the father with the shit house and weird son with a creepy imaginary friend who “lives under the floor” – and the two detectives working the case of the missing boy. I think I literally loved Tom? I’ve never had a book boyfriend before, so I’m not sure how that even works because it’s fucking weird. But, goddamn did he jump off the page in emotion and humanity. I understood his grief, his frustrations, his conflicts about who he was as a father and writer and widower and estranged son. He was very complex and I found him to be beautiful in his creation.
The themes of the novel are so contrasting. On one hand, you have an abundance of human emotion centred around family and grief and fatherhood, and then, on the other hand, you are given something exceptionally dark and creepy within the serial killer plot. The way North weaves these two concepts around each other to make both relevant to each other, but still stand out individually created something that was engaging at every level. No moment was wasted, no words were unnecessary. Each scene propelled the narrative forward, both separately and simultaneously.
This an author who understands pace and narrative far better than most I’ve read.
From the outside, it would be easy to say this is just another thriller flooding the market, but it’s so much more than that and I was enamoured. The Whisper Man sets itself apart from other thrillers in both tone, character development and North’s ability to build every plot thread up in equal importance by using human emotions and motivations that are visceral.
This was smart, raw and well-written. Purely captivating, emotional and legitimately creepy – a perfect thriller in my opinion.
Fucking read it.
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: Featherbank.
But Featherbank 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 preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man. And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window.
*Book source: The publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.