Review: The Whisper Man

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Title: The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Pages: 355

Rating: ★★★.5

Book 2 for 2019 FridayFrightAThon! Hosted by myself, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills, Melanie @ Meltotheany, and Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads Synopsis:

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…

Review:

“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.”

If ever a line from a book has given my shivers just from reading the synopsis on the cover, it’s this one. I mean come on, how terrifying is that rhyme? That single line gave me hope that this book would be one of the spookiest I’ve ever come across. All of the hype surrounding it didn’t hurt, either.

And it really did start out pretty spooky! Told between real time and flashbacks, we have two stories layered over each other that eventually weave together and come to a head in the present.

Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted, tortured and murdered five young boys on Detective Pete Willis’ watch. Prior to his capture, the serial killer Frank Carter was known as “The Whisper Man”, as he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows. While he was eventually caught and sent to prison for his crimes, his fifth victim was never recovered, and Pete is still haunted by his failure to save this little boys every day.

In the present, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to Featherbank after the sudden death of his wife, looking for a new start. Always a peculiar boy, Jake has grown even more introverted and is becoming more attached to his imaginary friends by the day. Just as they move to the area, another young boy vanishes and the old rhyme resurfaces:

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.

If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.

If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.

If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.

As Jake starts to act more and more strangely, and things start to happen that Frank can’t explain, the town starts to question: has the Whisper Man returned somehow? And then Jake starts hearing whispering in the night…

Like I said, the story started off with SO MUCH SPOOKY. From the rhyme to Jake knowing things he possibly couldn’t know…I had the shivers. I even started to wonder if there was going to be a little bit of a supernatural element! I’d say I truly enjoyed the first third of the book, and it was on par to be one of the spookiest I’ve ever read.

“Over the years I’ve told you man times that there’s no such thing as monsters.

I’m sorry that I lied.”

Unfortunately, the middle half fell a little flat for me. We received a lot of answers to our questions, yes, but in a way that almost left me disappointed? I guess I liked the mystery surrounding the whole thing. And the ending… woah guys. I don’t want to say TOO much because you know how I feel about spoilers, but I did NOT care for this ending at all. I will say this: I like to have some plausible answer to who-done-it books. I don’t like when the bad guy is someone I never even met/considered because he was SO FAR REMOVED from the story that I don’t even care when they are unveiled. And while the answer to this story was a plausible person…they were JUST BARELY plausible, if that makes any sense.

Now that I’m just spewing word vomit, I will also say that the story got decidedly less spooky as it went on. I did enjoy the read, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think it quite lived up to the hype for me. Maybe that was the problem – my expectations were too high. But I did end up giving this book a solid 3.5 stars, and I did LOVE Jake so much. He was easily my favorite character in this book, and I will go to my grave protecting him forever and ever.

Thanks so much to everyone who read along with us for Friday Fright A Thon, and I hope you enjoyed this one a little more than I did!

Author:

I'm a late 20-something physical therapist living in Michigan with my hubby who loves reading and reviewing books, running, wine, and dogs.

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