I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Shadow Friend by Alex North which is published today.
The victim was his friend. So was the murderer.
Twenty-five years ago, troubled teenager Charlie Crabtree committed a shocking and unprovoked murder.
For Paul Adams, it’s a day he’ll never forget. He’s never forgiven himself for his part in what happened to his friend and classmate. He’s never gone back home.
But when his elderly mother has a fall, it’s finally time to stop running.
It’s not long before things start to go wrong. A copycat killer has struck, bringing back painful memories. Paul’s mother insists there’s something in the house.
And someone is following him.
Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.
It wasn’t just the murder.
It was the fact that afterwards, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again . . .
The Shadow Friend is another creepy, atmospheric thriller by Alex North. Again Alex North draws on the supernatural. This time the focus is on a disturbing game a group of boys played twenty-five years ago, a game which turned deadly and resulted in the disappearance of one member of the group. The boy who disappeared was never found, and the police have never discovered what happened to him. But is the truth finally about to be unravelled?
Alex North introduces us to Paul Adams who has returned to his hometown as his mother is in a care home and is approaching the end of her life, but he finds himself drawn back to events which took place in his teenage years many years earlier which have haunted him ever since. The centre of the mystery in this novel is the disappearance of a boy twenty-five years ago, Charlie Crabtree, who Paul was once friends with. Since his former friend went missing, a series of killings have taken place which seemed to be inspired by the events surrounding Charlie’s disappearance. And red hands seem to follow Paul everywhere.
Once again, Alex North creates a spooky atmosphere which drew me into the plot and the setting. He paints a very gloomy picture of the town where Paul was brought up, almost as if the town itself isn’t willing to forget what happened there. There are some chilling scenes when Alex North describes the appearance of red hands. This seemed to be the key to solving the mystery behind Charlie’s disappearance, and I wanted to find out what they meant. I enjoyed the scenes when Alex takes us back to Paul’s childhood, and some of the scenes he writes are very disturbing. It made me think even more about what the true picture was and how this was connected to what happened to Charlie.
Although I enjoyed reading this book, and it kept me entertained, I did find that the pace was a lot slower than it was in Alex North’s first book, The Whisper Man. I was interested to find out what was going to happen next and what the truth was, and this is what kept me reading, but I did find this book to be a much more leisurely read.
The Shadow Friend will keep you invested in the plot and the characters, and overall I thought it was a really good read. I’m certain I’ll be reading what Alex North writes next.
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication date: 9th July 2020
Print length: 368 pages
The Shadow Friend is available to buy: