Alex North, the author of Whisper Man, returns with this horror-thriller about past crimes that don’t stay buried and too many dead kids. I read Whisper Man not too long ago, and this book happens in the same general area and even references The Whisper Man, so I’m curious to see if North will write something SUPER different, because this felt similar, but I enjoyed it and read it in one day!
Paul Adams returns to Gritten to visit his dying mother in her final days. He hasn’t been back since he left for college, a few years after his semi-involvement in a terrible crime that resulted in one dead friend, another arrested, and one missing young man. While he’s back and dealing with the struggles of his mother and his own emotions and memories, a new crime occurs that has ties to the crime that Paul was running away from. Detective Amanda Beck is on the case of a young boy killed by two of his friends, and she ends up learning about an online forum about lucid dreaming and the past crimes. Are these copycat crimes? Or is someone thought gone actually back and active? There’s copycats, weird dream journals, small town crime and interconnectedness, and yes, murder. What happened back when Paul was a teenager, and will he ever escape it….if it is, as his mother says, inside the house? And who the heck is Mister Red Hands?
Alright, so I liked this book! I want to say that. I was super compelled by the story. But it DID feel very similar to The Whisper Man–young boys dead (different ages, but still), a past crime being revisited decades later, visits to people involved in the old crimes, online people obsessed with the crime, a police detective with her own issues, an aspiring writer protagonist with parental concerns..you see where I’m going? I won’t spoil the “ending” but it also felt kind of similar to The Whisper Man, and I’m happy to talk about that with anyone that has questions. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book–I just couldn’t ignore the parallels!
Overall, I think it was a good book though! Compelling, thrilling, lots of little twists.I didn’t LOVE the lucid dreaming thing but I know some people are interested in that stuff, and I thought the back and forth in time was well done. I think fans of The Whisper Man will like this, but definitely wonder if North can write something outside of this ouvre.