The Whisper Man by Alex North
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 13th June 2019
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 368
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
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 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 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…
Tom Kennedy and his son Jack are still grieving after the unexpected, sudden death of his beloved wife, Rebecca. She was the one that was much closer to Jack, a troubled and sensitive boy, but Tom hopes that moving to a sleepy village of Featherbank will help them to start afresh. However, they can’t settle – Jack starts to hear voices and his imaginary friend tells him details about something that happened many years ago. Some twenty years ago, Frank Carter has been sentenced for the abduction and murder of five little boys. He was called “The Whisper Man”, as he lured the boys outside their homes whispering at the doors and windows of his victims. Now though, another little boy has gone missing, in similar way – has Carter an unknown accomplice or is this a copycat crime? DI Amanda Beck heads a desperate search operation to locate little Neil Spencer.
This was this kind of book that you want to read as quickly as possible but you also don’t want it to end, a read when you’re simply absent to the outer world because you’re so engrossed in the story. The characters were brilliantly and realistically fleshed out. It was great to have a bunch of main male characters this time, not all of them, but majority. Tom is trying so hard with Jake and he’s not perfect, he makes so many mistakes in learning that his son is just like him, trying so hard to get him right. They’re both so true to life and it makes them so likeable and believable, but they’re also slightly offbeat, and that makes them refreshing and original. Norman Collins, who collects macabre serial killer memorabilia and who’s obsessed with Whisper Man. DI Amanda Beck heads the new investigation but there is also DI Pete Willis, who has investigated in the original Whisper Man case and who’s more involved that he should be perhaps. And Frank Carter, the Whisper Man, sentenced and in prison, but still playing mind games with police. They all were so incredibly well drawn, and you’re for sure going to either love them or love to hate them, but they’re all intriguing and the kind of characters that stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading the book.
I admired how well this debut author has managed to capture the feeling of tension, the frightening atmosphere and it gave me chills. Also, how well he managed with mixing the reality with the mysterious girl that only Jake could see. The writing style is compulsive and captivating and even though the subject is not the easiest one, it easily flows forward, keeping the right pace.
It’s told from Tom, Jake, DI Amanda Beck and DI Pete Willis’s points of view which make the story very complex, but Alex North has crafted it really well. Of course, he also manages to write a complicated spider web of lies and secrets that had me constantly changing my mind and questioning who is the killer – but I love it this way, and I love when I don’t know what to expect next, what’s going to happen next and to come around the corner.
“The Whisper Man” is a hooking, thrilling read about fatherhood, family dynamics, loss and grief with menacing tone that made me feel scared – if you are, just like me, a wimp, then don’t read this book at night. It’s multi – layered, clever and well – crafted. You know that altogether I am easily pleased with books but this one has knocked my socks off and had me glued to the pages, which, in the era of so many police – procedural and psychological thrillers is a rather seldom exception. A chilling, disturbing read with twist and turns and clever mystery – a very impressive debut by Alex North. Highly recommended!
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