The Whisper Man

The Whisper Man

by Alex North


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"WORKS BEAUTIFULLY... If you like being terrified, The Whisper Man has your name on it."
The New York Times, Editor's Pick

Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

"BRILLIANT... will satisfy readers of Thomas Harris and Stephen King."
Booklist, Starred Review

Entertainment Weekly

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...

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Tina Jordan

There are two threads here—the supernatural one and the police-procedural one—and North does a fine job knitting them together. He switches narrators with each chapter, a technique that can be irritating when done badly but that works beautifully here…What North does best, though, is ratchet up the tension, imperceptibly at first, then with increasing urgency. If you like being terrified, The Whisper Man has your name on it.

Publishers Weekly

★ 06/17/2019

In the pseudonymous North’s superb thriller, a police procedural with supernatural overtones, Det. Insp. Amanda Beck heads the search for six-year-old Neil Spencer, who has gone missing from the English village of Featherbank. Neil may have been lured from his home by someone who whispered at his window at night, the same m.o. as incarcerated serial child killer Frank Carter (aka the Whisper Man), who was apprehended 20 years earlier by Det. Insp. Pete Willis. Beck brings in Willis to assist, specifically because he’s the only person Carter will talk to. Meanwhile, author Tom Kennedy, still reeling from his wife’s death, seeks a fresh start in Featherbank with his seven-year-old son, Jake. The sensitive Jake talks to a little girl who isn’t there and fears “the boy under the floor” in their odd new house. A strange man snooping at the Kennedy house and an attempt to lure Jake away during the night become connected to Beck’s investigation as she and Willis struggle to make a connection to Carter. Readers will have a tough time putting down this truly unnerving tale, with its seemingly unexplainable elements and glimpses of broken and dangerous minds. Agent: Sandra Sawicka, Marjacq (U.K.). (Aug.) This review has been updated to note the book's author is using a pseudonym.

From the Publisher

Alex North weaves a stunningly captivating narrative that’s a nuanced and grounded exploration of father-son relationships...a master class in genre exploration. An incredible read.”
—Joe and Anthony Russo

Early Praise for The Whisper Man:

"The Whisper Man is the most unsettling thriller I have read since Jo Nesbø's The Snowman. Much more than the sum of its parts, it is nightmarish and disturbing and, at the same time, a moving and life-affirming novel about fathers and sons, and grief, loss, and recovery.
—Alex Michaelides, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Silent Patient

" affirmation of the power of the father-son relationship...will satisfy readers of Thomas Harris and Stephen King."
Booklist, Starred Review

"A terrifying page-turner with the complexities of fatherhood at its core."
Kirkus Reviews

"A powerful and scary story that will haunt readers long after the final page is turned."
Library Journal

"First it’s spooky. Then it’s scary. Then it’s terrifying. And then… well, dear reader, proceed at your own risk. An ambitious, deeply satisfying thriller—a seamless blend of Harlan Coben, Stephen King, and Thomas Harris. My flesh is still crawling."
—A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

"Get ready to be unnerved. This novel is thrilling."
—Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Beautifully written. Beautifully plotted."
—C.J. Tudor, bestselling author of The Chalk Man

"Beautifully crafted, heart-rending and spine-tinglingly chilling, The Whisper Man is a thrilling tour de force."
—Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

"The best crime novel of the decade."
—Steve Cavanagh, bestselling author of The Defense

Library Journal

★ 10/01/2019

Each thread in the fabric of this dark story includes the bite of abandonment, the bitterness of self-loathing, and the overwhelming desire to be loved. After the death of his wife Rebecca, Tom Kennedy and his son, Jake, search for a new beginning. Detective Pete Willis buries himself in work to escape the overwhelming guilt from his alcoholic binges that chased his family away. Francis reacts to the sting of his father's hatred by imitating his father. All threads converge in the small community of Featherbank, England, where 20 years earlier a serial killer, nicknamed The Whisper Man, stalked and murdered five young boys before he was captured and sent to prison. Soon after Tom and Jake move to Featherbank, another young boy disappears. Detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis recognize undisclosed similarities in the crimes. Narrator Christopher Eccleston builds suspense while leaving much to the imagination of the listener. VERDICT Though this is a tale that hinges on children being murdered, it is not gruesome. It might even be characterized as a tale of love between fathers and sons. Engaging on many levels.—Ann Weber, Bellarmine Coll. Prep., San Jose, CA

Kirkus Reviews

The serial killer who terrorized a small British town by kidnapping and murdering five little boys has been locked up for over a decade. So who could have taken 6-year-old Neil Spencer?

"The first forty-eight hours following a disappearance are the most crucial." And yet one of those hours has gone by the time Neil's separated parents realize he never made it from his father's house to his mother's, a short walk he took alone. One of the main investigators of the crime is DI Pete Willis, who cracked a similar case years back and has never quite recovered from it, especially since one of the missing boys was never found. Is there an accomplice still on the loose? As Willis and his colleagues comb the town for clues about the disappearance, a recently widowed novelist and his young son move into what they don't yet know is called "the scary house." Jake is a bright but isolated child who has relied heavily on an imaginary friend and a Packet of Special Things for comfort since he came home from school one day to find his mother's lifeless body at the foot of the stairs. This move is meant to be a much-needed fresh start for the grieving and bewildered father and son, but from the start nothing goes right. On Jake's first day at his new school, the other children draw him into discussion about the missing boy and the Whisper Man who took him. Soon enough, Jake hears whispering too. North's debut pits nasty men submerged in evil against decent men struggling to do good; several father-son pairs reflect the challenges and darker possibilities of this relationship, though plotlines involving female characters are a bit undeveloped.

A terrifying page-turner with the complexities of fatherhood at its core.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594140917
Publisher: Celadon Books
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,911
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Customer Reviews