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.
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
"Brilliant...an 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."
"A powerful and scary story that will haunt readers long after the final page is turned."
"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 thrillera 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
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.