“Courage is not the absence of fear, Peter knew. Courage requires fear”

I had really high hopes for this book, and it’s safe to say they were definitely not met. After his wife passes away, Tom Kennedy decides the best way to deal with his grief is to move house. He and his son Jake move to the idyllic village of Featherbank, but this village is not all it seems. Plagued by the memories of a serial killer who prowled its streets twenty years ago, the residents of Featherbank fall into despair when another young boy vanishes. Tom and Jake might not have the fresh start they hoped, and when Jake hears a whispering at his window things begin to fall apart…

The premise of this book was brilliant; it sounded just like the kind of creepy, pacey thriller I was after for an October read. Unfortunately, it fell very short for me. I have rated it 2.5 stars on Goodreads, but I feel that this might even be a bit generous. The slow start did not set the tone very well for a thriller, and I felt like the plot ambled aimlessly around before finding its direction in the final few chapters, far too late for a book like this to pick up the pace.

Generally I didn’t have a problem with the main plot of the book, it was definitely the most gripping part of the story. My main issue lies in the unnecessary subplot, which felt like a failed attempt to add sentimentality to what should have been a fast-paced and terrifying book. Whilst I appreciate that North might have been trying to add a bit of emotional depth, I feel as though tenderness is not a necessary ingredient for a good thriller and some of the links between the relevant characters within this subplot were beyond farfetched. I found it drew me out of the story rather than being the ground-breaking twist that I think was intended.

I enjoyed the multiple perspectives the story was told through, and I found the chapters told from the perspective of the killer a little unnerving along with ‘the whisper man’ poem which I must admit was definitely unsettling. Other than that, this thriller really didn’t do all that much for me. Perhaps I’ll have more luck with some of North’s other books!

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