The Shadows by Alex North – Audiobook Review

Cover- The Shadows

Published: July 7, 2020

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Series: Standalone

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Length: 9 hours 5 minutes

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…


This is my second Alex North book and it was definitely on par with The Whisper Man, though I liked this story a bit more. The mystery aspect had more a paranormal twist to it in this book, though the story is in truth not paranormal at all. I loved this book in audio format because for one, it keeps me from zooming ahead and missing details (and spoiling things for myself). The narrator does a fine job of bringing the story to life and really getting you immersed in things.

Like The Whisper Man, this book centers around children and then those children when they’ve become adults and have to face the disturbing moments of their childhoods. Paul Ryan returns to his childhood home only when his mother takes a bad fall and it becomes clear that she will soon pass away. For decades he has avoided his hometown, never visiting, and avoiding all thought of it when possible because one of his friends was murdered and the boy who did it disappeared. Now it appears that there are copycat murderers who believe in this urban legend called Red Hands – the very same story that Charlie Crabtree told to Paul and his friends when they were all children. Red Hands is purported to basically disappear you into a dream world, but only after you sacrifice (murder) someone. There was this whole thing about lucid dreaming, evil, manipulative kids, and it was in general a bad time.

This was an extremely interesting book that was surprisingly thought provoking for a mystery. I found myself both disliking and feeling sorry for the kids (Paul included) because they all clearly had flawed home lives. In Charlie’s case, he turned into a bit of a psychopath, in another boy’s case, his desire to fit in and belong made him a target. And Paul… he had the most sense out all those kids but the murder left lifelong mental scars on him. So much so, that he disconnected from his family and moved away as soon as he was able.

The Shadows had some interesting twists and it was engaging for the length of the story. It really made you feel for the characters and I liked the split timelines. The way it was set up actually flowed really well, which can be a difficult thing to accomplish with split timelines. Overall, I’d totally recommend this to mystery fans and hope to keep seeing exciting new stories and ever improving quality from Alex North.

Stacking the Shelves: 8/8/20

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!


Received for Review: 

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The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie
First of all, THANK YOU ORBIT!! This is the first physical publisher bookmail I’ve gotten in MONTHS and I was so excited! It’s also Joe Abercrombie, so you know, that’s pretty cool too.

The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky
This was an irresistible request – fantasy mystery with such a lovely cover. It’s also the perfect test to see if I might enjoy Polansky’s writing… so maybe a jumping off point to a whole new favorite author! Thanks to Tor.com.

The Shadows by Alex North
This was the perfect way to test out NetGalley’s new audiobook feature and app, both of which I like. I’ve already finished this up and a review will be coming along soon.

How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason
This, as I mentioned in my Waiting on Wednesday, might be one of the most exciting sequels of the year. I LOVED the first book and can’t wait to see where this oddball group of characters adventures next. Many thanks to DAW for the eARC.

My Purchases:

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I’ve been on a vampire kick lately and decided to pick up Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer and The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. I also went ahead and snagged hardcover copies of Skyward and Starsight by Brandon Sanderson while they’re available.

Cover- Demon in White

I also added the Demon in White audiobook to my collection so that I actually have time to read/listen to this book. Honestly, I love the narration and the story is brilliant thus far. Highly underrated series.

Currently Reading: 7/27/20

Cover- The Shadows

The Shadows by Alex North
I’ve been awaiting the opportunity to get my hands on this and lo, it was one of the offers on NetGalley’s new audiobook feature! I haven’t had time to listen to more than a couple chapters, but I’m already intrigued and enjoying the narration. Looking forward to Alex North’s latest tale of horror/mystery.

I’ll also be finishing up Chaos Vector by Megan E. O’Keefe this week!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadows by Alex North

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Shadows

I came across this shortly after I finished up The Whisper Man and it’s equally creepy for sure. The Shadows is another copy-cat murder story with almost supernatural sounding elements. A boy murdered someone and then disappeared without a trace. The main character was the victim’s best friend and he’s been avoiding his hometown ever since, but now he must return. This sounds properly disturbing and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

The Whisper Man by Alex North – Review

Cover- The Whisper Man

Published: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Celadon Books

Series: Standalone

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 355 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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…


My first recommendation would be not to read this book unless you’re in a good places, mentally and perhaps even physically. Don’t read it next to open windows at night, or you might hear the whispers…. It was dang creepy and kind of depressing. 

Tom Kennedy and his son Jake are having a rough time of it since Tom’s wife died suddenly. He’s struggling with being a single dad, the loss of his wife, and stressing about having not worked on a new novel in too long. They’re planning to move to a new town and a new home without all the dark memories associated with their current home. The little town of Featherbank seems nice enough, except when you look at it’s past – this is where the Whisper Man kidnapped and murdered several children. Frank Carter has been in jail for decades though, but that doesn’t make anyone feel better when another little boy is kidnapped under similar circumstances. Something sinister is afoot and it’s hauntingly similar to Frank Carter’s crimes decades before except it seems that Jake may be the next target.

This isn’t a book that makes you feel good, but it does make you feel. The Whisper Man is a series of difficult situations woven into a tapestry of hopelessness. That’s actually a little overly-dramatic, because the characters have moments where they can get their heads above water and maybe see the light. The situations might get better, this is just a snapshot of their worst moments. On top all this, there’s the added creepiness of a boy who seems to know far too much. Jake’s best friend is imaginary and she seems to know things she shouldn’t, he mentions the boy in the floor, and has draws things he’s never seen before. 

This was a moving story and while it doesn’t quite merit a 5-star review from me, it was certainly memorable. I enjoyed and was thoroughly disturbed by the quasi-supernatural moments where Jake says downright disturbing things. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more books from Alex North in the future.

Currently Reading: 2/3/20

Cover- The Last Smile in Sunder City

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold
Let me just say again “THIS SOUNDS AWESOME”. Now, I’m not going into this with my head in the clouds. The early reviews are sitting around a 3.75 average rating but I’m expecting it to be snarky and interesting. Fingers crossed that it will be a 5 star read!

Cover- The Whisper Man

The Whisper Man by Alex North
I’m picking this up largely because this made Drew’s Top 20 Books of 2019 list and it sounds chilling. It sounds similar in plot to In the Woods by Tana French, which I read at the first of the year. Hope this bodes well for my continued foray into crime thrillers/mysteries!