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Tom Kennedy and his son, Jake are moving to a new town a year after the death of Jake's mother. Tom allows Jake to choose the house, but regrets it immediately when he sees how spooky their new house is. Tom and Jake have had lots of trouble communicating, but Tom hopes that the move will give them a fresh start. The town that they move into has a storied history; Featherbank was the site of the death of four young boys 20 years before, but even though the man the press called "The Whisper Man" who had killed the boys is in jail, another boy from the town has gone missing. DI Amanda Beck has been assigned to the new case, but because of his involvement in the first investigation, DI Pete Willis has been brought in on the case. Pete doesn't want to be part of the investigation because "The Whisper Man" case has haunted him for years, but he doesn't have much choice because they need help from the original "Whisper Man," and he will talk with no one but Pete.
The Whisper Man is really two stories that intersect making one book. The mystery of the missing boy takes center stage, but there are also themes of survival after loss and the relationships between fathers and sons. Overall, The Whisper Man is a good, suspenseful thriller made stronger by the themes included in the story.
4 1/2-5 stars. This was a brilliant thrilling novel and was a terrific read. North takes you on a roller coaster ride in a story of fatherhood, loss, and a serial killer or two. Tom Kennedy and his 7 year old son Jake are lost in grief after the untimely death of Rebecca, wife and mother. They are struggling to communicate with each other and not succeeding too well. Tom decides that they need a fresh start so he buys a new house for them in the village of Featherbank, a strange and quirky house that Jake loves at first sight. But Featherbank is the place where young boys have disappeared and although the man responsible for their deaths is in jail, the fear still remains as another boy has disappeared. And soon Jake appears to be targeted by the man the locals call "the Whispering Man". Such a terrific read.
Humanity at it's truest, this character-driven narrative is heart-wrenching. With characters of all ages, normal people, average people, people trying their damnedest just to be better versions of themselves. Then pair that with a parent's worst fears and you have the Whisper Man. A compulsive read that grabs from page one, evokes your heart with love and fear and wraps the ending up with promise and retribution.
Was hoping with something with a little more supernatural than just a few scenes here and there. The suspense was there, but it fell a bit flat. Some parts were pretty predictable but it was still a decent plot to read through. However! the last third of the book packed a pretty good punch and it seemed everything happened all too fast and at once. Makes you wonder if there's a possible sequel but on the other hand if there isn't that's fine too. The ending was just right.
Looking forward to another one of North's books. I'm sure they'll get better.
Two decades ago, The Whisper Man abducted and murdered five boys. Only four bodies were found, haunting police officer Pete ever since. Two decades later, Tom and Jake Kennedy move to the area. But soon a little boy goes missing, and Jake begins to hear whispers outside his own window.
Although I did not find the book creepy, I did appreciate its commentaries on familial trauma and personal redemption as well as dissection of father-son relationships.
(❗️spoiler alert❗️) The Kennedy sons have been traumatized for at least three generations. Pete had an abusive father, leading to problems in his own family relationships. He has successfully combated his own abusiveness by the beginning of the book, but still frequently relapses into bouts of self-worthlessness.
Tom, luckily, grew up mostly under his mother’s influence, but the lack of father figures in his life means that he does not know how to interact with his own son.
Little Jake represents the future. Although he is traumatized by his mother’s death, he knows that Tom loves him and has the greatest chance of breaking this vicious cycle. But then he gets kidnapped by Francis.
Francis (not a Kennedy) ought to be the most extreme of our four narrators. He never outgrows the natural but childish admiration for his abusive father, and consequently becomes torn between this admiration and a conflicting disillusionment. Through taking other children and “caring” for them, he hopes to vicariously fix his own childhood trauma.
However, while he is consciously guided by redemption, he subconsciously seeks to legitimize his father’s abusiveness. Through terrorizing his victims and venting his anger on them, he simply becomes another copy of his father.
Rather than trying to escape from trauma (as Pete does), bury it (Tom) and fix it (Francis), the best way to recover from trauma seems to be to admit past mistakes and work through the consequences together. Healing is a often multigenerational effort, and unfortunately, in becoming obsessed with the past, some are also deprived of the present and the future.
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This psychological thriller/horror started off very promising... then it settled into a somewhat suspenseful story with mostly drab characters.
The technique is interesting and I think there is a nice sort of symmetry between these characters—they are all connected and they are all struggling emotionally in a similar fashion.
The issue is that they are all one-note and flat. It has a spooky concept and it’s definitely a page-turner with good pacing. Other than that, it’s full of bad cop show dialogue, there is no real character arc or differentiation between the characters, and the twists land softly and are predictable...but still interesting?
It’s nothing remarkable, but still recommendable.
I thought it was very good. The only downside to me was that there was a little to much supernatural going on i.e, talking to people who were not there. I read it a good bit quicker than I usually get one read. Thankfully, not much navel-gazing which is a real pet peeve of mine.
I'll admit, it was difficult to get into at first. As I got through Part 2 of the book into Part 3 I was hooked.
There were definitely a few parts that ran a shiver down my spine and made me un-easy. So Mission accomplished on what the author was trying to do.
My real only complaint about it, was how some repetitive some parts got, and the fact that I was able to predict the ending about halfway through.
Other then that, good read. Definitely recommend.
I read it in one day and I cannot tell if that's due to its creativity or lack thereof.
I had a very good idea what was happening about midway through. The 'scary parts' did not translate well in written word but I suspect this would do very well as a movie.
This heart stopping suspense novel is absolutely first rate. I couldn't put it down.
Eerie and suspenseful.
This was a deliciously creepy book. It brings to mind the idea of how many of the "monsters" in our world are imaginary and human. It captures parenting, death, and life very well.
I thought it was okay but I will not read any more of this author's books. Trite in many places and too many places that he tries to scare you like so many other books but not much innovative.
Good, creepy mystery...or is it horror? It would be a spoiler to disclose in a review.
A good chiller, a bit too reminiscent of "Silence of the Lambs" but enjoyable nonetheless. What I liked the most was the relationship between Tom and Jake, Father and Son. The relationship between a man in mourning who is trying the best he can to be a loving, supportive, single father, and a little boy dealing with changes and grief in his own ways. The story was touching in how the characters interact and learn to live with what life has given them.
Wow! I just finished this book tonight. All the praise I had read or heard about was well deserved! This book was so well developed in characters, plot & haunting emotions that it will linger with me for a long, long time!
When I first began reading this, Stephen King's "The Shining" along with "Silence of the Lambs" came to mind though the story is different from both. I categorize the genre as "Creepy Crime" since the antagonist reminded me of Hannibal Lechter minus the cannabalistic tendencies. Driven by a father/son theme, the story is well paced, characters have depth though the outcome is somewhat predictable. For those who prefer crime drama with a dash of horror, you'll enjoy this immenseley.
After reading this book, I immediately got up and checked all my windows and doors to make sure they were locked. A little bit of Mindhunter, a little bit of The Haunting of Hill House, this chilling supernatural thriller will leave you unable to sleep at night, listening for whispers at your window.
The Whisper Man by Alex North is one of those books that captures your attention instantly and stays in your mind long after the last page is turned. Tom Kennedy and his seven-year-old son Jake move to the English small town of Featherbank to start a new life after the sudden death of Tom's wife. It was in Featherbank that, twenty years before, a psychopath had abducted and killed five young boys. Detective Pete Willis did not rest until Frank Carter was arrested and jailed forever for these horrible crimes. Carter was called the Whisper Man because the parents of the victims reported that their children had said that a man was whispering outside their bedroom window before the abductions. Now, after all this time, another boy disappears and his mother mentions that her son had said he heard a man whispering outside the window. Detectives Pete Willis and Amanda Beck believe that the perpetrator must be an accomplice of the Whisper Man. And then, little Jake Kennedy hears whispers in the night! This book is more than creepy: what makes it shine is the sensitive way the author develops the relationships. This is not your average scary tale. So turn up the lights and close your curtains and sink into something you will not soon forget.
"A creepy, sinister, can't-put-it-down story of a town that survives and then relives the crimes of a child serial killer. For those who love psychological thrillers (with the absence of gore but plenty of plot twists and turns), The Whisper Man is a grand ride into the minds of those who kill and those who are victims. You'll find yourself looking over your shoulder when reading this book. Don't stand too close to an open window..." --Helen Gregory, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo.
The best example of a well written "nightmare" that I have read in a long time. I loved it!
I can't recall the last time I read a novel in this particular genre that stirred so many emotions in me. It terrified me, shocked me, broke my heart, creeped me out, and so much more! This beautifully written, expertly plotted novel, full of twists and turns and even supernatural elements, is the Best Crime Novel of 2019, hands down. It was so good I kept thinking, as I was reading, that it must be made into a movie.. and yes, I found out later that a film studio has already purchased the rights to do just that. Can't wait to see the film! In the meantime: READ THIS BOOK!
Based on all of the reviews, I thought this book was going to be a lot scarier than it was. It just didn't give me the chills that I was expecting. It is still a good book though, and I enjoyed it.