My book club pick for August was The Whisper Man and I was so excited for it because I have had the book from my Book of the Month box for over a year.
I often find myself looking at it on my shelves and think, ‘this is the month I am going to read it’ and then something else catches my eye and I forget until the next time my eye wanders that way.
This month though I was determined to read it and was thrilled that my book club selected it for August!
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. (Summary from Goodreads)
Straight out of the gate, let me just say that I really liked this one. I thought it was dark and disturbing which was what I was expecting from this one. There were plenty of times that I found myself completely creeped out by a number of things in this book. As the mom of a little boy, it hit my a lot in the feels. Not only was I terrified for him and The Whisper Man, but I was also so sad that he lost his mom. It was a tough one to read as a parent for sure, but as the parent of a little boy it was heightened.
While I liked this book, I don’t know that I loved it. The dad, Tom, wasn’t particularly likable, the police detective had issues and also wasn’t all that likable, and Amanda the other detective she felt really flat to me. I thought North did a great job articulating the inner struggles of grief for Tom, Jake, and Pete but I struggled to really identify with any of them beyond Jake. For me Jake was the most likable character and the one I sympathized with but at the same time I felt like all that he had been through in his young life was almost too much. It was tragic—any one of the things he endured would have been so damaging so I struggled with how much he went through.
I did figure out who the killer/kidnapper was pretty early on but how it was revealed was interesting and caught me off guard which I found exciting and twisty. I would have liked to have seen the original suspect play a larger role in the story down the line but then I thought that maybe the author intended to circle back to that original suspect in later books—though I am not sure but I thought that maybe that person might come in to play sometime in the future because he was certainly creepy and his collection was creepy AF!
In the end I gave this one 4 stars. It was good but I had hope for just more from the central characters. Maybe it was the narrator but I just never felt like I warmed up to them throughout the story. But I am looking forward to more novels by North because this one certainly came from a dark place and it was a spine tingling read.
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