The Whisper Man by Alex North
Published by Celadon Books on August 20, 2019 (expected)
Genre(s): fiction, crime, thriller
Format & Length: e-book, 368
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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…
The Whisper Man is a serial killer thriller that combines police procedural with family dynamics for a compelling and wonderfully layered read.
The blurb for this book promises dark and creepy and it does deliver, but it starts out slowly, easing in with a whisper of an unsettling tone that increases over time. I was a bit concerned going in that this would stray too far into the supernatural for my taste, but those elements are handled with a light touch and grounded fairly solidly in reality. And the scenes set are vivid without being graphic, creating an eerie atmosphere that doesn’t cross the line into overtly scary.
The Whisper Man is told through several perspectives, weaving multiple strands together for an ultimately quite satisfying effect, but focuses strongly on the point of view of Tom Kennedy, whose wife has died suddenly and who is now attempting to start fresh with his young son Jake. As their relationship is explored, it serves as a jumping off point for other father-son dynamics that are a central theme to this novel. And combining these complex characters with skillful plotting, perfect pacing, and strong writing made for a thoroughly engaging reading experience.
Although this is the first book by Alex North, this was written under a pseudonym by a crime writer who has previously been published. And it shows. The Whisper Man is a solid crime thriller that is strong on character and I’d be happy to pick up another book by this author.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.