The Whisper Man by Alex North #bookreview

The Whisper Man was one of my top anticipated reads of 2019 and it certainly lived up to my expectations. For crime fiction loves this is one not to be missed.

The Whisper Man by [North, Alex]

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If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window…

MY THOUGHTS

I remember first hearing about The Whisper Man a little over a year ago, and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. Although I was slightly worried as it had received a lot of early praise if it would live up to my expectation, and I’m relieved to tell you that it certainly did. This is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year. Alex North’s writing is totally immersive and the line “if you leave the door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken,” chilled me. This is a very well thought out book with a chilling and creepy atmosphere, and it was done really well.

Tom and his son Jake move to the quiet town of Featherbank following the death of Tom’s wife. They’re hoping for a fresh start, but soon strange things start to happen, especially with Jake who begins talking to imaginary friends which Tom, as you can imagine, has a lot of concerns about. A couple of decades ago a serial killer abducted and killed several children, one remains missing. In the present day, another child has disappeared, and soon the killer has their eyes set on Jake. But there are some scary similarities to the crimes that took place several decades before. But the man responsible for those crimes is in prison. Who is carrying out these crimes now?

This is a novel with a huge amount of heart. Tom confesses in the opening lines how he has struggled to bond with his son, but you can really see their relationship develop throughout the course of this book and this makes the final scenes so tense and gripping. I couldn’t be sure where we were going to end up at the end, and there were some times when I almost couldn’t bear to find out as I didn’t want anything bad to happen to the characters. A book is only gripping, I find if you care a lot about the characters and this is what Alex North has achieved with this book.

There is real depth to Alex North’s writing, I really engaged with Tom and his son as they tried to make a new start. You can see just how difficult this is for them and there are some scenes that I’m sure will pull at the heartstrings of many readers. Right from the start of the novel I just got the feeling that something terrible was going to happen and this darkness ran right from the beginning to the heart pounding conclusion.

The Whisper Man is a top crime novel, one I’m certain will hit the bestseller lists. Alex North is a writer who I’m sure will jump straight to the top of my TBR pile whenever he has a new book out. Brilliant and captivating. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 13th June 2019

Print length: 386 pages

If you would like to purchase The Whisper Man, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK   Kobo  Waterstones

She Lies In Wait by Gytha Lodge #bookreview

She Lies in Wait by [Lodge, Gytha]

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On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along.

Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene, but he already knows what’s waiting for him: Aurora Jackson, found at long last.

But that’s not all. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about.

It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…

MY THOUGHTS

She Lies In Wait is a good introduction to a new police procedural series featuring DCI Jonah Sheens. Thirty years after the disappearance of Aurora Jackson, her body is discovered close to where she went missing three decades earlier. Her discovery is about to bring back together the people she was with, at the time she disappeared, in a big way. One of them could be responsible for her murder. Are they, at last, going to find out who killed her?

Just picture it, you’re out walking in the woods, and you kneel down to pull what you think is a root from the undergrowth, and you grasp what is actually a human finger. This is the opening scene that we are faced with when the body of a young girl missing for thirty years is found.

I love reading a crime novel where we are faced with a small group of suspects who all know each other. You’re never sure who you can trust in the group, and you can’t tell who is lying or telling the truth. What will happen to them all when it finally comes out? This was what I was also thinking about as I was reading this book.

I think if you enjoy crime novels with a literary edge, then this is definitely the book for you. Gytha Lodge’s writing is very immersive and is very easy to get into, I wouldn’t call it a quick read, but there is a cast of intriguing characters who will keep you turning the pages, you will want to find out what happens to them and who committed the crime. I found the lead detective DCI Jonah Sheens, particularly interesting. He is already connected to this case as he knew Aurora and the group of friends who she hung out with from school.  I think some readers may find it easy to point to the person responsible for the crime, but for me, it was the reasons why they did it that had me gripped, and it was what I wanted to find out.

The story here takes time to build as the police re-open the investigation into Aurora Jackson’s disappearance. There is a painstaking task ahead of them as they have to go over old ground, but all these years’ later new pieces of information begin to come to light which could finally shed light on what happened to Aurora in 1983.

I think the flashback scenes were the parts of this novel that I was most intrigued by. Gytha Lodge gradually begins to reveal to us the build-up to Aurora’s disappearance, and we start to see a picture develop of the type of people who her friends actually were and what they are capable of.

I thought the ending of this book was very satisfying, and I think it is an ending that will haunt the reader for a while, I keep thinking back to those final lines. Overall I found this an enjoyable read; it is an immersive page-turner that I’m sure will have fans looking out for more from this author, I’ll certainly be looking out for Gytha’s next book.

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication date: 10th January 2019 (Kindle) 21st March 2019 (hardcover)

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase She Lies In Wait, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones