The Whisper Manby Published 20 Aug 2019
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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 Reviews
If this book had a Tinder profile it would read something like this:
Cliché troubled detective haunted by previous case seeks unknown creepy boogeyman. Must have Daddy issues and enjoy torturing small children.
Although I enjoyed this quick read, there's really nothing novel going on here. It's pretty tame compared to similar books in this genre. I was left wanting more. More darkness, more tension, more backstory.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
‘ He says he hears a whispering at his window’......
‘The Whisper Man’ is the hair raising story of widower Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake who move to a quiet English village hoping for a fresh start.
But Featherbank has plenty of its own ghosts-20 years ago,a serial killer known as ‘The Whisper Man’ abducted and murdered five young boys.
When another boy goes missing and Jake begins to act out in strange ways,Tom fears that he’s losing his grip on reality.
Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late ?
‘The Whisper Man’ is the debut thriller by Alex North.
And what a thoroughly unputdownable read that was.
I haven’t read a thriller in awhile so I was pleased that the steady pacing and not too graphic subject matter made for a riveting and eerie read.
I also enjoyed the short chapters that ended on a cliff hanger!
This made me continuously want to keep turning those pages.
Thoroughly recommend this for readers who enjoy a suspenseful story that plays on your worst fears.
Congratulations to Alex North on what is sure to be a very successful and compelling debut thriller.
‘It’s not going to be easy,and I need to start with an apology. Over the years,I told you so many times that there was nothing to be afraid of.That there was no such thing as monsters.
I’m sorry that I lied.’
This is Alex North's crime debut and what a impressive debut it is. It drips with atmosphere, a disturbing story of The Whisper Man, who over 20 years ago kidnapped and murdered 5 local boys in the small town of Featherbank. Frank Carter is the Whisper Man, incarcerated in prison, reveling in his notoriety and reputation, playing mind games with 56 year old DI Pete Willis, the man who caught him. Despite the emotional cost, Pete has persevered through the years, visiting Carter in prison, in the hope of a clue to where the body of victim, young Tony Smith, can be recovered so his grieving parents can at least achieve a small measure of peace. The monster that is Carter and his horrific acts, the creepy whispering outside his victim's bedrooms, have been immortalised in child lore and local nursery rhymes. Everyone thought that time of horror is over, but in the present, the troubled 6 year old youngster, Neil Spencer has gone missing. DI Amanda Beck is heading the desperate hunt to locate him, but there are eerie hints of the original Whisper Man. Did Frank Carter have a unknown accomplice or is this a copycat crime?
A grief burdened author, Tom Kennedy, is fumbling through the wreckage of his life after the devastating sudden death of his beloved wife, Rebecca. It was Rebecca that was the closest to their sensitive 7 year old son, Jake. Tom has struggled to connect with his vulnerable and creative son, a boy with imaginary friends, with an outsider status, unable to fit in with his peers at school, leaving him open to being bullied. Tom, with Jake's agreement, relocates them to Featherbank, with every hope that new beginnings are what they both need to come to terms with the loss of Rebecca and forge a new path. However, it is not that easy, for Tom finds that 'grief is a stew with a thousand ingredients, and not all of them are palatable'. His fractious relationship with Jake, whom he loves absolutely, is a tightrope with Tom hanging on in there by comforting his son that whilst they might fight and argue, his love for Jake is true. In a disturbing narrative, Tom is to find that moving house is to immerse him and Jake in the most twisted of a horror of a nightmare, one that places Jake in the gravest of dangers, where the legend of The Whisper Man grows ever stronger.
Alex North's writing is compulsive, hooking the reader immediately, with its themes of fathers and their challenging relationships with their sons, grief and loss, amidst a background of a child killer running rampant in the town. North's characterisation is stellar, as can be seen with Tom, trying so hard with Jake, making errors of judgement, slowly becoming aware of just how much Jake is like him, eventually beginning to make some inroads by getting some things right with his son. Then there is the odious Norman Collins, a collector of macabre serial killer murderabilia, obsessed with The Whisper Man, whilst there are traits that Tom finds that he shares with DI Pete Willis. A simply fantastic read, with some surprising twists, that will appeal to so many crime fiction fans. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
The Whisper Man is Alex North’s debut thriller, and what an absolutely riveting read it is!
It’s some twenty years since Frank Carter began a life sentence for the abduction and murder of five little boys. Carter had earned himself the nickname ‘The Whisper Man’ after his sinister method of whispering at the doors and windows of his victims in order to lure them outside. Now though, another little boy has gone missing in similar circumstances, and the peaceful village of Featherbank is once again fearful of what the outcome may be.
Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake are still drowning in grief a year after the death of Tom’s beloved wife Rebecca, but Tom is hoping that a move to the sleepy little village of Featherbank will help them start a new chapter in life. The new house isn’t really what Tom would have chosen, it’s a creepy run down old house but when Jake saw it he wouldn’t look at anything else, he loved it on sight and Tom wanted so much for Jake to be happy. He was having a problem communicating with his son, (Rebecca was always the one that Jake turned to) and he hoped that this move would help bring them closer together.
DI Amanda Beck heads the new investigation into the missing boy, but DI Pete Willis ( the investigator in the original Whisper Man case) is also brought in to help. It’s always been thought that Carter may have had an accomplice and Willis’s intimate knowledge of the original case could be crucial.
Told from the POV of Tom, Jake, DI Amanda Beck, and DI Pete Willis, this is a deftly crafted and compelling thriller, where the author has grasped the importance of pace, (and that), combined with a narrative that wastes not a single word, each word being designed to hook you into the next, ensures that it’s a winner.
‘The Whisper Man’ is most certainly a best seller in waiting, and Alex North should be justifiably proud!
*Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin UK - Michael Joseph for my ARC. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange *
What an enjoyable book for me. This book is about fathers and sons and what the love a father, or lack of love of a father, can do to a son. It's about fathers who never forget their failings even long after they've done all they can to change, to become the best person they can be, long after they are no longer the person they used to be. And it's about fathers who are so very good and love so very much but think they are failures and not good enough to be fathers.
I came to the book thinking there was horror here and there was but it's real life horror, the kind of horror that is worse than supernatural, scary, going ons. Twenty years ago, little boys went missing and were found brutally murdered in the town of Featherbank. DI Pete, found the boys but feels like a failure because he wasn't able to find the last one that was taken. That boy's body was never found and he's haunted by the crimes and by the man who commited the crimes.
In the present, Tom and his son Jake move to Featherbank to start over again. A year ago, Tom's wife, Jake's mom, died suddenly, leaving two heartbroken souls, two people so much alike, father and son, that they can't even communicate with each other, try as they might. Seven year old Jake is quiet, precocious, sensitive, smart, and thinks his dad may not love him. Tom is hurting and sometimes angry, at the loss of his wife and at being left along to raise a boy that he thinks he can't do justice.
Tom didn't know that when they had moved to this quiet town, that another little boy had been kidnapped in the same manner as the boys of twenty years ago. The kidnapper of old was called the Whisper Man and the police realize that the boy recently kidnapped had heard whispers also. Now Jake is hearing whispers and hearing voices that tell him things that seem linked to the crimes. And Pete is being drawn back into the world of the Whisper Man since he knows so much about the earlier crimes.
I loved the way we had the story told to us from the viewpoint of multiple people and especially loved the viewpoints of Tom, Pete, and Jake. Little Jake is so serious, so grown up, so solemn, a little man in a little boy's body. This book is about people and feelings and relationships, with a very real supernatural feel that stays grounded in reality.
Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for this ARC.