it turns out i did NOT have to read this book before reading The Shadows, but i’m not displeased that i tricked myself into finally reading an ARC i’ve had for nearly a year, because i was definitely in the mood for a good thriller. this is a serial killer storyline that splits its focus between police procedural and family drama, with some overlap between the two. the procedural side is helmed by pete willis, an alcoholic detective who’s sober for now, but he tests this resolve every day, haunted by his personal and professional past. twenty years ago, he put killer frank carter—a.k.a. the whisper man—behind bars, but not before he had killed at least five young boys, the body of one still unrecovered. on the family drama side, grieving widower tom kennedy and his imaginative seven-year-old son jake move to a new town where tom hopes the change of scenery will serve to bridge the emotional distance between them.
but in that new town, things only get worse—a six-year-old boy is abducted, the investigation uncovers details similar to the serial murders two decades before, jake’s imaginary friends get creepier and more insistent, and ALL WORLDS COLLIDE in a tangled n’ twisty mass of crime fiction and psychological suspense with a drizzling of the supernatural on top.
there’s a The Silence of the Lambs vibe to it, and it hit all the right notes for me at this time— fast-paced but not superficial, unpredictable despite my figuring out the who before i was supposed to, with frequent POV-shifts ensuring that the story was rippling out in several directions at once, escalating tension and dripping creepy sauce everywhere.
not too bad for an “accidental” read!
and now i can go read The Shadows.
this situation is The Forever Ship all over again: i entered to win a book that was part of a series i hadn’t read the first book of and now i gotta read this one before i can read The Shadows, and it’s by no means a hardship or a complaint but a moment of “you’re such a dummy, karen.” and now i remember that i read The Fire Sermon AND The Map of Bones in order to read The Forever Ship, and then i never got around to it. i am the worst at everything. good day.