Friday, 11 October 2019

The Whisper Man, by Alex North.

           Twenty years before the action in this story begins, four little boys were abducted, tortured and cruelly murdered in the small English village of Featherbank by a sadistic killer who was eventually betrayed by his terrified wife.  Detective Inspector Pete Willis was the man who ran the case and made the successful arrest, but the cost to him has been enormous:  a descent into alcoholism and the break-up of his marriage, and the knowledge that there was a fifth victim, but police have never found his body.  Until that happens, the case will never be closed to Pete, and his efforts to find out information from killer Frank Carter, imprisoned for life, yield nothing but sadistic pleasure for Carter, and an urge to drink until death for Pete.
            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.  

No comments:

Post a Comment