The Whisper Man, by Alex North

Eight stars

In an apparent debut novel, Alex North takes readers on a chilling adventure of loss and betrayal that spans a handful of decades. Propped up by much chatter across Goodreads, the book has been on the virtual bookshelves of many, which led me to want to be part of the action. Tom Kennedy has been trying to deal with the death of his wife, which has thrust him into being a single parent. After making the decision to move away from all his emotions triggers, Tom and his son, Jake, settling into a new community and hope for the best. Their new environs are rocked by the disappearance of a school-age boy, which has parallels to a set of five murders two decades before by the ‘Whisper Man’. While the police scramble to find the little boy, the Kennedys are pulled into the centre when Jake begins having nightmares about someone coaxing him to follow while whispering in his ear. Jake and Tom are soon offered a safe house until things return to normal. The case takes a turn and soon there is a scramble for answers, just as Jake disappears. Where could he be and might Tom have to face the Whisper Man to ensure Jake’s safety? There’s something eerie underneath all this, as if Jake were a target all along and is the true plaything of this presence that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. North surely delivers something that will keep the reader forging ahead late into the night to discover hidden truths. Recommended to those who enjoy something chilling with hints embedded in a strong narrative.

I suppose I watched from the sidelines long enough and wanted a chance to chime in on what I thought of this book that has been plastered all over Goodreads. Many have opinions, which span from sensational to downright bleak. I find myself somewhere in the middle, having enjoyed the book but am not feeling a tingle from the base of my spine and up into my brain. Tom Kennedy proves to be a decent protagonist, having taken his son and uprooted him to find a better life. Battered and bruised by his wife’s death, Tom seeks solace in a new surrounding, but soon discovers the horrors follow him, like a scent on the wind. What follows is a true test to Tom’s character as he seeks to find answers before he losing everything he loves. Others complement the story well, as North seeks to inject an eerie twist at varying points of the narrative. From the hapless coppers who turn up evidence after it has gone cold to the other school children who help create the Whisper Man persona, and even someone in the shadows who seems ready to caused havoc on a quaint community. The story is strong and moves along well, differentiating itself from other chilling thrillers with kidnapping at its core. Alex North deserves many of the accolades that are lauded upon him, though I felt a certain reserve, almost a holding back, as if this debut were an attempt to test the waters before writing a second novel to really rock the reader to the core. I will certainly keep my eyes open for more by the author and hope to be knocked off my feet.

Kudos, Mr. North, for this debut under your new name. Speculation mounts that this pseudonym allows you to reinvent yourself and I look forward to new revelations.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: