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.Alex North, The Whisper Man
Does that quote not just give you the shivers? I’m the kind of person who can’t watch a scary movie without a good pillow to hide my face. It’s kind of funny since I’m a big true crime fan, but put me in front of a scary movie or book and I’m a giant baby.
This book isn’t Conjuring scary, but it’s scary enough for me that I felt more comfortable reading it during the day. Totally worth it!
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 whispering at his window…
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If you are a fan of suspense/thriller books then be ready to read this book from start to finish with no breaks. Unless you have a full-time job like myself, then you will be forced to spread the readout. In any case, this book kept me captivated on every page.
The most notable relationship from the book is Tom and Jake’s.
As you can probably imagine, Tom and Jake’s relationship is very complicated. Tom feels like he’s failing Jake, like he isn’t enough for him, since the loss of his wife. You can tell that Tom feels helpless. I think I would feel pretty helpless too if my spouse had passed away and I was left to raise our only child. You have to cope with your own grief and at the same time, you have to stay brave and strong for your kid. Tom copes with his loss the best way he can, by writing to his dead wife, and continuing to make life for Jake as normal as he can.
Meanwhile, Jake copes with his loss by getting lost in his drawings and talking with his imaginary friend.
Tom hints that Jake’s imaginary friend popped into his life after the mom dies. The imaginary friend, who is a little girl, is present throughout the book, and she often acts as a guardian to Jake. She continually asks Jake to repeat the rhyme, that’s quoted above, before Jake and his dad move to Featherbank, and after they move there. She also warns Jake to be careful and to always leave his windows shut.
There are a few other instances where you can’t decide if Jake has made this girl up as a coping mechanism, or if she’s actually a ghost. Tom believes the former, and struggles to see his son so isolated. Alex North does a good job of capturing the hardships in Tom and Jake’s relationship throughout the book. Tom struggles with wanting his son to be normal and remembering that Tom was a lot like Jake as a young boy, and that it’s okay if Jake isn’t normal. He doesn’t need to be like every other boy.
*Side, but also relevant rant below- read at your own risk*
I actually recently watched a digital short called Float, from Pixar, that reminded me a lot of Tom and Jake’s relationship. In the video, a father tries to hide his young son’s ability to float from everyone in their town. The father doesn’t like the way strangers look at his son for being different, so he eventually decides to hide his son in their house, away from prying eyes. As time goes on, the two eventually have to venture out in the public realm again. The father tries to hide his son’s ability by putting rocks in his backpack so he won’t float. When they’re out and about, the son gets excited when he sees other kids playing at the park. He loses the backpack and starts to float. Can you guess what happens next? Everyone stares at the little boy, shocked and scared by what’s happening. The father reacts in anger at the little boy and yells at him to stop, then asks the boy, “Why can’t you be normal?!” This comment garners total silence from everyone at the park. The little boy stops floating (this moment breaks my heart) and looks at his father with big sad eyes. Immediately you can tell his father hates himself for making his son feel this way. He hates himself for letting all those strangers’ opinions affect the way he viewed his own child, so he picks up his sobbing son and sits on a swing. He wipes the boy’s tears away and begins to swing. His son opens his eyes, and seeing the smile in his father’s eyes, stops crying. The father, not caring what anyone thinks now, tosses his son forward prompting him to float.
I didn’t make the connection until now, but throughout the book, Tom struggles between embracing his son’s quirkiness and trying to hide it from others in fear of how they will treat him because he’s so different. He obviously doesn’t hide his uniqueness to the extent of the dad in the Pixar Short, but the thought, why can’t he be normal, seems to run through Tom’s mind more than once.
*Side, but relevant rant over*
Tom becomes more and more patient with Jake as the book progresses, and their relationship strengthens just in time for some crazy shit to happen.
Along with Tom and Jake, we have a few other important characters: Detectives Pete Willis and Amanda Beck. The two detectives are vastly different. Pete’s a veteran detective who was the one responsible for catching Frank Carter, or as he’s better known as, “The Whisper Man,” twenty years prior. Pete’s always thinking about those missing kids from years past, and as a new boy disappears, he finds himself facing Frank Carter for the second time.
Amanda Beck is a younger detective facing her first big investigation involving a missing child, and she’s determined to find him alive. Pete and Amanda have a somewhat strained relationship in the beginning, since Amanda’s younger, she feels a lot of pressure to solve this case fast and she’s reluctant to have some old guy helping her. She wants to show that she’s a good detective, while Pete’s not at all excited to be on the case. Pete wants nothing to do with Frank Carter, but he knows he has to see the case through the end.
Just Read It
Please, I’m begging you, JUST READ IT. There is so much more in this book than I’ve discussed. I didn’t want to give any spoilers away, so I didn’t hit on every relationship, but please know there are unexpected twists in this book that will have you shocked and maybe a little excited.
If you have read it, then let me know what you thought in the comments!
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