Book Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North (ARC)

The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Publication Date: 20 August 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Crime/Psychological Thriller

Pages: 368

Publisher: Celadon Books

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…

When I first heard about The Whisper Man, this book immediately went to the top of my must read list for the year. This is Alex North’s crime debut, and I definitely think he hit this one out of the park.

In the small town of Featherbank, the disturbing story of the Whisper Man continues to haunt the town. More than 20 years ago, the Whisper Man kidnapped and murdered 5 local boys. Frank Carter, the Whisper Man, is currently incarcerated in prison where he relishes in his fame and notoriety. Even though it’s been over 20 years, Frank continues to torment 56 year old DI Pete Willis, the DI who finally captured Frank, by playing mind games and tricks rather than reveal the location of Tony Smith’s body. Regardless, Pete continues to visit Frank and put up with his incessant antics in hopes to finally give the grieving parents some closure.

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.

Tom Kennedy is an author, father, and widow. Following the sudden death of his wife, Tom is left battling depression as he attempts to pick up the pieces of his shattered world. In an attempt to gain a fresh start with his seven year old son Jake, who is constantly ridiculed by his peers since he tends to withdraws from others and focus on his art , Tom decides to move to an odd yet quaint house in idyllic Featherbank that Jake picks out. This is finally going to be the reinvigoration this father-son relationship needs, since Tom constantly feels like he’s walking on eggs whenever it comes to Jake.

We were going to be safe here.
We were going to be happy.
And for the first week, we were.

To Tom’s greatest horror, he ends up placing Jake in danger that is something from his worst nightmares. A boy, who was a part of the class that Jake has now joined, has mysteriously disappeared…but it is it really the Whisper Man? Jake’s special friend seems to think so…she seems to think that there’s the body of a boy buried within his new house.

I was immediately hooked while reading this truly engrossing crime thriller. There are so many different themes that were beautifully addressed. One of the most important was father-son relationships. Parental-child relationships are always difficult but imagine adding the layers of grief and depression matched with a child that has difficulty relating to standard social norms. What would you do if you were at your wit’s end?

There were some interesting twists and turns along the way that definitely kept me on my toes. Don’t go into this one thinking that this is going to be a fast paced thriller that you tear through the pages to find out what happens next. This is a slow burn. The author slowly plants nuggets of information that you may catch or you may not. This is the type of plot that has to be peeled away, and the insidiousness of all of it doesn’t hit you until the very end.

Overall, if you love crime thrillers that always make you second guess everything that you’ve read then pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you to Celadon Books for providing an ARC for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Have you read The Whisper Man? Is The Whisper Man on your tbr? Let’s discuss.

8 comments

  1. This isn’t something I’d normally read because it sounded way too scary for me (I’m a scaredy) but I was looking for a book to pull me out of my slump and I thought this might do the trick, and I think it worked! Totally agree with your review of this one — it’s a slow burn mystery with hints sprinkled here and there. It had me swearing out loud several times 😂And that rhyme…. I get goosebumps every time I read it. Thoroughly creepy but so enjoyable too(?)!

    Like

  2. I really want to read this book! I’ve heard such great things about it and I love that complex topics such as father/son relationships are explored in a crime book as it isn’t typical in the genre. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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