“This is an onion of a mystery, layers deep, each one - each story wrapped around the shocking event at the center - shaped carefully around details that push the reader's suspicions in every direction. The old, dense wood beside the never-prosperous village was bound to give rise to scary stories, and an event - was it real? - decades before gave the town a particularly creepy bogeyman, upon whom an inventive child fixates until he has drawn his friends into an escalating course of action. Twenty years later, one of those children returns to the village, but has no wish to reengage with the past. The bogeyman haunts everyone here in different ways, though, and when an old clue and a new disappearance coincide, Paul can't keep the indifferent distance he forces to protect himself from the memory nobody can escape. ...Capturing the foreboding of 1990's horror films and the wistfulness of a life frozen by calamity, this book won my affection with its depiction of an independent bookstore and the vibrant person at its core, but its many emotionally rich moments, like little dapples of sunlight across a forest floor, will provide every reader with that moment of love that makes the horror that much more disturbing!”
Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
"If you liked The Whisper Man, you’ll love this. Alex North has crafted a second novel which is just as gripping as his first and even scarier. Hugely atmospheric and deliciously creepy, it’s about how the past encroaches on the present, and how dreaming influences reality, until in the frightening world of The Shadows, it becomes harder and harder to tell one from the other... and the nightmare takes over."
– Alex Michaelides, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Silent Patient
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 suffering from dementia, 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. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank. 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...
A Macmillan Audio production from Celadon Books