“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.”
Tom Kennedy and his seven-year-old son Jake, move to the village of Featherbank to escape the traumatic memories contained within their old house. Tom’s wife and Jake’s mother, Sarah died in that house a short ten months ago – and they both are still reeling with grief. Featherbank sounds like a positive change for them both.
However… it is possible they chose the wrong village. Twenty years ago, young boys had gone missing and were later murdered. The man responsible is now in prison. Yet… now another young boy has disappeared. An accomplice of the first murderer? A copycat?
Jake hears a man whispering outside his bedroom window. Tom awakens one night to hear Jake talking to someone outside their front door. That someone is reaching through the letter slot…
The police in charge of the missing boys’ investigation are at their wits end. DI Amanda Beck is officially in charge, but DI Pete Willis is called in because he was on the case of the first spate of murders twenty years ago… He has never gotten over the case despite the fact that the perpetrator was arrested and imprisoned.
Tom is distraught. He and Jake seem to be drifting apart. Jake talks to his imaginary friend, a little girl. Also, Jake seems to know things about this house that he couldn’t possibly know. He is getting into trouble at his new school.
Then, to make matters worse, Tom learns that the man who lived in the house before them was murdered…
I’ve read a lot of positive reviews for this novel, so thought I just had to read it in 2019. I’m SO glad I did. It delivered on every level and I can honestly say that all of the hype surrounding it was very well deserved.
The characters, both of Tom and Jake Kennedy and the police officers were all fully fleshed out and were empathetic. The creepy tone of the story was consistent throughout which kept me turning the pages long past my bedtime. I wanted to finish the book to find out how it was resolved, yet… at the same time, I didn’t want it to end because it was SUCH a good book. What a dilemma!
Told via multiple points of view, the story gives a well-rounded rendition of events.
DI Pete Willis, who is a sad man with many regrets both personal and professional. Willis has been battling alcoholism most of his adult life. He feels like a failure and thinks his life has been worthless. (BTW… my favourite character in the book)
DI Amanda Beck, a hard-working detective who works long hours and is driven to succeed in apprehending the person who took a young boy named Neil Spencer. She admires Pete Willis, but fears that this case will break him – once and for all…
Tom Kennedy, a novelist who is struggling with his raw grief while trying to be a single father to his son.
Jake Kennedy, a precocious and clever little boy who thinks too much, misses his Mom, and would rather draw and read than play outside with other children.
The Whisper Man, a man of damaged psyche, traumatic childhood, and a deranged mind.
Besides being a mesmerizing crime thriller, this novel is a story about fathers and sons. Fathers present, fathers absent, sons who are loved, and sons who crave love. A pervading sense of menace is prevalent throughout the entire story.
“The Whisper Man” is a successful melding of psychological thriller, police procedural, and domestic drama.
I’m confident that Alex North will have a long and illustrious career as a novelist and I am eagerly anticipating his next novel which is, as of today, still untitled. Kudos on your debut novel Alex North! Well done! Highly recommended!
I wanted to make sure I got to read a copy of this novel before the end of the year. I purchased a Kindle copy. SO glad I did!
Celadon talked with North about his writing routine, father-son relationships, and the incredible buzz around this dark, suspenseful thriller.
Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department. “The Whisper Man” is his debut novel.
Follow Alex North on Twitter