Title: The Shadows
Author: Alex North
Length: 323 pages
Publisher: Celadon Books
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Source: gifted from publisher
The haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man
You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.
Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.
It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.
It wasn’t just the murder.
It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…
Thank you so much to Celadon Books for my gifted review copy of The Shadows! The Whisper Man was one of my top 10 books of 2019, so this was highly anticipated read for me.
I love Alex North’s writing. He creates such a spooky atmosphere and expertly builds suspense. I also love the way he toys with the supernatural in his books. Lucid dreaming plays a key role in this story. I think the concept of lucid dreaming is fascinating, and it brings an unsettling element to the story as readers question what is real and what is just a dream. I had to stop reading this at bedtime because the writing was so effective that it messed with my dreams.
The Shadows shares some similarities with The Whisper Man. Detective Amanda Beck is once again assigned to a case that recalls a decades-old crime. The main character, Paul Adams, is a struggling writer haunted by his past. However, this formula clearly works because by 50 pages I was completely hooked, absorbed in in the dual timelines of the story, trying to find the link between the past and present.
There was a huge twist toward that end that completely took me off guard and honestly pulled me out of the story a bit because it was so unexpected and forced me to rethink the entire book. While I never would’ve suspected the true identity of the killer, I wanted a little bit more from the ending.
Still, this book was incredibly well-written, suspenseful, compelling, and full of surprises, and I highly recommend it. Alex North is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.