The Whisper Man, by Alex North.
And people’s memories are enduring of the terrible crimes: The killer was known as The Whisper Man for his habit of whispering enticements to his intended victims; school children even recite a rhyme amongst themselves to that effect – but no-one is prepared for the another child going missing, a six year old walking back to his mum’s place after visiting his dad: where could he be? All of Pete’s old nightmares resurface. The original Whisper Man is in prison, so he can’t be blamed: is there a copycat on the loose? And matters are not helped by the arrival in Featherbank of recently widowed writer Tom Kennedy and his small son Jake, hoping to make a new start without their beloved wife and mother – Tom is worried about Jake’s reliance on an Imaginary Friend, a little girl to whom he talks all the time, supposedly learning the Whisper Man rhyme from her. Jake is not settling at his new school and Tom is at a loss to know what to do for the best; it doesn’t help to know that they have just bought the local Scary House at Jake’s dogged insistence – and they start getting visited by scary people. Which prompts Tom to contact the police in the shape of DI Pete Willis, a meeting which changes their lives irrevocably, especially when the fifth body for which Pete has been searching for twenty years is found buried in the floor of the Scary House’s garage.
Alex North has written a deeply disturbing, truly creepy thriller for all of us to read between our fingers – but read it we must for, despite its theme of sadistic cruelty to the most vulnerable, it’s utterly compelling and unputdownable. FIVE STARS.