The Shadows
The haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper ManYou 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...

The Shadows Details

TitleThe Shadows
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 7th, 2020
PublisherCeladon Books
ISBN-139781250318039
Rating
GenreThriller, Mystery, Horror, Mystery Thriller, Fiction

The Shadows Review

  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    “Red hands, red hands, red hands everywhere.”3.5 starsThe Shadows is a psychological thriller about lucid dreams that end in murder. 25 years ago, a group of teenage boys participated in a ritualistic murder. One murderer was apprehended, the other, Charlie Crabtree, disappeared without a trace. Linked to the crime, Paul Adams left his hometown without looking back. Forced to return home to visit his dying mother, it appears a copycat is on the loose. Paul comes to realize his mother has sec “Red hands, red hands, red hands everywhere.”3.5 starsThe Shadows is a psychological thriller about lucid dreams that end in murder. 25 years ago, a group of teenage boys participated in a ritualistic murder. One murderer was apprehended, the other, Charlie Crabtree, disappeared without a trace. Linked to the crime, Paul Adams left his hometown without looking back. Forced to return home to visit his dying mother, it appears a copycat is on the loose. Paul comes to realize his mother has secrets that link her Charlie Crabtree. As he starts digging into the past, Paul's mental state slowly unravels, leading one to question his sanity.The narrative alternates between Paul’s past and present. Also thrown in are some chapters from Detective Amanda Beck's (who appeared in The Whisper Man) POV. While there are some interesting elements at play, especially those involving lucid dreaming, it took some time for The Shadows to spark my interest. Paul feeds the reader bits of information slowly. He sets the tone and the pacing of the narrative, which is slow, melancholy, and tense. Ghosts, lucid dreams, and shadowy figures play a role. However, the creep factor is minimal, at best. Paul is an interesting, unreliable narrator who constantly had me questioning events from his POV. Amanda doesn’t play a huge role, but I do think she might show up again in a future North book. The Shadows isn’t The Whisper Man, and I wasn’t expecting it to be. Several moments caught me off guard, and I was way off about the present-day murderer. Charlie Crabtree's character is intriguing, but the reader only sees glimpses of him through Paul’s eyes. I would have liked to see a lot more of Charlie. In the end, some elements of the plot were never fully developed or resolved, and I was left asking questions and feeling underwhelmed. At the same time, some aspects and characters were intriguing, and I find the idea of lucid dreaming to be fascinating. The pace is slow, but the tale is certainly interesting. I received a free copy of The Shadows by Alex North from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mary Beth
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up!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-- 3.5 stars rounded up!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.I loved The Whisper Man! That was such a great book. I loved the first half of this book. I love supernatural in my thrillers. I loved the lucid dream premise. It was so creepy and bizarre. I thought it was clever. I thought it was going to give me nightmares, but Thank God it didn't. I thought the dual timelines were a little confusing for me and it took awhile to get use to it. I thought there were to many characters to keep track of. There also was a part of the book that I thought didn't add up. I just loved The Whisper Man so much more. I was a little disappointed. I thought that close to the ending that the book was all over the place. Too much happened all at once. I really did enjoy this book a lot. It kept me flipping the pages to see what was going to happen next. I just didn't love it. I can't wait to see what what the author is going to come up with next. I am excited to read it. I want to thank Macmillan for sending me the free ARC of The Shadows by Alex North in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    January 1, 1970
    I have been hesitant to write this review because this book wasn’t at all what I expected from this author. I loved The Whisper Man, everything about it, therefore I was highly anticipating reading The Shadows. Unfortunately, for me, it fell short. Here’s why.There are two timelines, the present and 25 years previous. Now this isn’t usually a problem but you have to add to this the fact that during these timelines they are constantly discussing and referencing “lucid dreams” which was what the y I have been hesitant to write this review because this book wasn’t at all what I expected from this author. I loved The Whisper Man, everything about it, therefore I was highly anticipating reading The Shadows. Unfortunately, for me, it fell short. Here’s why.There are two timelines, the present and 25 years previous. Now this isn’t usually a problem but you have to add to this the fact that during these timelines they are constantly discussing and referencing “lucid dreams” which was what the young teengers had been doing 25 years ago when “everything went wrong”. It was Charlie Crabtree who had tried to convince 3 of his friends, James, Billy and Paul, that if they did what he said they would be able to be in the same dream together. While in this “lucid dream” state they could also make certain things happen. Paul didn’t like where this was all going and in the end he had abandoned their friendship and been seeing Jenny, a bright, pretty young girl his age. They were developing a very close relationship, “until everything went wrong”. So you have two timelines and a very large cast of characters. There are the characters from the past and also a new set of characters from some “copycat” murders that have occurred recently. There is also Amanda, a police officer, and her partner who are trying to unravel all of the mysteries and find out what, if anything, they have to do with the present murders.There were so many characters that I found myself having to write down each group, one from the past and one from the present. Often it was hard to tell whether I was reading fact, or a lucid dream that Paul was having now or in the past.It was very, very confusing and the story didn’t flow well for me. There were also lots of questions left unanswered which I won’t get into because you have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about.From the blurb you know this about Charlie “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 had not been back to his hometown since he left to go to college. He never visited his mother and he has a lot of guilt about that. He has come back now to visit her in the nursing facility because she is dying. While there he is staying in his old home, sleeping in his old room and having all sorts of dreams, feelings that he is being watched, hearing sounds in the house, etc. He has also discovered secrets in the attic which his mother has been hiding all of these years.Oh boy this book was confusing! I have given it 3 stars for an idea which I thought was a good one but along the way the writing just didn’t work. It took me 3 days to read this because I found myself constantly looking back at what I had read before!I will continue to follow Alex North’s books because I think his ideas are wonderful and his writing is usually stellar. I’m sure that there are others who will love this book, it just didn’t work for me.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.This novel is set to publish on July 7, 2020.
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  • Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
    January 1, 1970
    *** Warning*** You are about to enter the unpopular opinion zone...if you can't handle it, you might want to leave. Okay guys, I wanted to love it sooo much! I really did...but...it was just okay. The Whisper Man rocked my socks last year. I couldn't wait to get ahold of this book. I figured I would be sleeping with the lights on for a week, at least. Hence, no. Charlie Crabtree is one disturbed dude, so were most of the kids in this town apparently. Remind me not to visit Gritten anytime soon, *** Warning*** You are about to enter the unpopular opinion zone...if you can't handle it, you might want to leave. Okay guys, I wanted to love it sooo much! I really did...but...it was just okay. The Whisper Man rocked my socks last year. I couldn't wait to get ahold of this book. I figured I would be sleeping with the lights on for a week, at least. Hence, no. Charlie Crabtree is one disturbed dude, so were most of the kids in this town apparently. Remind me not to visit Gritten anytime soon, even in my dreams. Not only did Charlie murder someone and get away with it- he changed life as they know it in this small town. I was completely hooked when we started talking lucid dreams, I mean who wouldn't be? The concept was totally fascinating. I thought the premise behind this was very unique and creeptastic. What I couldn't wrap my head around, is that it got very confusing. There were multiple people in reality and dreams and often I couldn't keep track without writing it down. I almost felt like I needed a dream journal myself.While I did enjoy it and there were some "creepy" moments, I didn't feel the tension and jaw dropping amazement as I did with the first book. The ending seemed a bit rushed and left me going hmm okay. Yet, there are fantastic reviews out there and people loved it! Hopefully you are on that side of the fence. I can't thank Macmillan Books enough for sending me a copy of this ARC for an honest review. I am really looking forward to what Alex North dreams up next! As this was not my favorite by him- it doesn't change the fact that he is on my "must read" list!
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    i haven’t been able to concentrate on much lately—i’m living out some quarantine-edition of Time Enough at Last, where i’m prevented BY LAW from doing much more than finally catching up on my reading and my writing about reading, and where my version of henry bemis’ broken glasses-irony is this constant state of unspecific low-level panic that keeps me flitting from one distraction to another, accomplishing very little.which is why i am so grateful to THIS BOOK for trapping me in a page-turning- i haven’t been able to concentrate on much lately—i’m living out some quarantine-edition of Time Enough at Last, where i’m prevented BY LAW from doing much more than finally catching up on my reading and my writing about reading, and where my version of henry bemis’ broken glasses-irony is this constant state of unspecific low-level panic that keeps me flitting from one distraction to another, accomplishing very little.which is why i am so grateful to THIS BOOK for trapping me in a page-turning-headlock because although i didn’t get to anything else i wanted to do that day, falling into a book and finishing it in a day is a pleasure i haven’t experienced for a while. i liked The Whisper Man, but this one is even better. i found it more unnerving in its premise with more surprising reveals, and i loved the doomy atmosphere as it twists and twists and twists through all manner of disturbing images—portentous dream journals, slender man-ish teen stabbings, crime scenes covered in red handprints, shadowy figures lurking in the deep dark woods. ooOOOOoothis book also has a richer emotional depth to its characters, specifically paul—coming home after 25 years to tend to his dementia-addled mother in hospice, returning to a past-haunted house in a dying town full of horrible memories where—in between numerous spooky threats—he’s forced to confront his past, his grief and guilt over all the decisions he did or didn’t make. in short—this book is both scarier AND sadder than The Whisper Man, and those are the two buttons you want to push when book-wooing me. as far as the scary goes, i love creepy kid characters, and young cult-leader-in-the-making charlie crabtree is creeptastic, shepherding his impressionable fellow-misfit friends into the practice of lucid dreaming—the realm of a sinister figure called red hands who promises the boys vengeance and deliverance in exchange for a sacrificial murder. the boys fulfill their part of the deal in a spectacularly bloody way and afterwards, charlie disappears, never to be seen again. this fact catapults a gruesome crime into dark legend status, spread via internet and inspiring a number of copycat killings committed in the name of red hands over the next twenty-five years.the ‘sadder’ of it has nothing to do with any of the murders in the book. which makes me sound like a monster, but if you’re the type of person who gets sad over the victims in murder mysteries, it might not be the best genre for you. this book is full of MY kind of sad—nostalgia, lost love, guilt, missed opportunities, withered ambition—all of that too close to home stuff i'm even more susceptible to now that i live like a tender veal calf.in this book's venn diagram of scary and sad, the point of intersection is paul’s mother’s dementia. the sad part is obvious—his guilt over abandoning her all those years ago and not coming back to visit until it was too late to connect is heartpunching. but while deeply moving, dementia’s slippage of time contributes to the suspense—as she viscerally returns to past experiences, dredging up secrets and darkness and dangers, shifting unpredictably through time and memories, strafing paul with vague utterances and brief warnings without context: It’s in the house.ANYWAY, because of this whole concentration-breakdown of mine, this review has already taken me a discouragingly long time to write so i’m going to back away from it now even though i’m not sure it’s useful or coherent. this book is good, i’m sorry i am bad at words and thoughts right now. **************************************4.5 rounded up - review to come!♥ to macmillan's reading insiders club for the ARC!come to my blog!
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  • BernLuvsBooks
    January 1, 1970
    Dreams are a patchwork, stitched together for the things that happen to us in our waking lives. 25 years ago, two teenage boys participated in a horrendous ritualistic murder. One of the boys was apprehended, but the other, Charlie Crabtree, disappeared without a trace leaving behind a phenomenon that lived on in the dark web. Linked to the crime, Paul Adams left his hometown and never looked back. He's forced to return home because of his ailing mother and is unsettled to discover that there is Dreams are a patchwork, stitched together for the things that happen to us in our waking lives. 25 years ago, two teenage boys participated in a horrendous ritualistic murder. One of the boys was apprehended, but the other, Charlie Crabtree, disappeared without a trace leaving behind a phenomenon that lived on in the dark web. Linked to the crime, Paul Adams left his hometown and never looked back. He's forced to return home because of his ailing mother and is unsettled to discover that there is a copycat on the loose and his mother seems to know more about the murders and Charlie's disappearance than she ever let on. As he starts digging into the past, he finds himself questioning everything he thought he knew - his friends, his family, even himself. Told via alternating timelines with the sinister background of The Shadows - the town's deep, dark woods, this story unfolds through revelations, piece by piece, we work out alongside Paul. The atmosphere is dark and haunting and begs us to question - can you ever truly escape your past? Alex North is a masterful writer. His characters are so fully fleshed out, it's easy to lose yourself in them. I really enjoyed Paul and how haunted he was by everything that took place that fateful year of his life. It was easy to feel his sense of loss and regret and see how it affected his life. My interest was very piqued by the concept of lucid dreams and how these boys were all so easily impressed upon by the sinister Charlie Crabtree. Loved the twists and definitely didn't see them all coming. I found myself looking back in shock at one splendid twist in particular! I can't wait to see what Mr. North writes next. Thank you to Alex North and Celadon Books for sending me an early copy of this book to read an review.
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  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an excellent read! I like Detective Beck's attitude and her box of bad stuffs. Her feelings are realistic and relatable when it comes to something she's afraid of and something she knew in her heart that there's more. I like the title and the explanation given within the story. The idea of this book is interesting. I like the discussions of dreams and dream diary. I used to keep a diary of my dreams but nothing like this story. I also like following Paul's view. I like how he's not This book is an excellent read! I like Detective Beck's attitude and her box of bad stuffs. Her feelings are realistic and relatable when it comes to something she's afraid of and something she knew in her heart that there's more. I like the title and the explanation given within the story. The idea of this book is interesting. I like the discussions of dreams and dream diary. I used to keep a diary of my dreams but nothing like this story. I also like following Paul's view. I like how he's not a follower in his teen years and able to distance himself from doing things he doesn't like. I also like his adult thinking where he analyzes situations and takes action.
This book started with a prologue following a man, told in first person, recalling about himself 25 years ago when he was 15 and accused of a horrific bloody scene at the playground. Then the story begins, told in the third person point of view following Detective Amanda Beck as she visited her father at his grave. Her view is in the present. She received a call to a crime scene where a body of a teen boy was found and two other teen boys are in custody. She followed the trails that lead her to a similar crime committed from 25 years ago. The second view is Paul Adams, told in first person as he visited his mother at the hospice. It has been 25 years since he's back to his hometown. Paul's past friends were James, Billy, and Charlie, where Charlie led the group to do things that Paul didn't like but had no control over it. This book is divided into 3 parts where every few chapters are told in the present and every few chapters are told of the past. The chapters with stories from before when Paul was younger also have his views of what he feels now. Now he feels he can't escape his past.
The Shadows is very well written and developed. The read is addicting and creepy and I couldn't put it down. I like the twists and didn't see it coming. I like the ending to the 25 years ago story but I'm not sure I like the ending to the present story. I'm undecided just because this character doesn't have any connection to Charlie. I like what's written about a mother's love and the regret for not reaching out until it's too late. Sucks to be in Carl's shoes. Overall, I still enjoyed the read and I recommend everyone to read this book!xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    Review to be posted nearer to publication on 9th July
  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I'm always anxious to dive into a successful author's sophomore novel, but I have faith that The Shadows will be every bit as creepy and compelling as The Whisper Man!*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. I'm always anxious to dive into a successful author's sophomore novel, but I have faith that The Shadows will be every bit as creepy and compelling as The Whisper Man!*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    A man returns home after a twenty-five year absence to visit his ailing mother. As a teenager, two of his friends savagely murdered another teen. One of the murderers was never found setting off copy cat murders, dastardly dark web threads, and other menacing mayhem. This tale is almost fatally frightening, disturbing, and unnerving.
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received!!!Thank you so much, Macmillan!!!Original:Just when I thought I couldn't love a cover more than The Whisper Man, this beauty pops up on my feed.Macabre hearts rejoice!!! ARC received!!!Thank you so much, Macmillan!!!Original:Just when I thought I couldn't love a cover more than The Whisper Man, this beauty pops up on my feed.Macabre hearts rejoice!!!
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Most of this book was atmospheric as hell, creepy enough to keep me awake at night, and had the same kind of thrill you get when you think about looking into the mirror and saying Candyman 5 times over. Or leaning over a high ledge. You know what I mean. Here, the crazy appeal is with lucid dreaming, the ability to be aware and in control of your own dreams. I couldn't let it go. The possibilities. I wonder if I could... NO, Emma, no.Anyway, things are not what they seem. Something or someone is Most of this book was atmospheric as hell, creepy enough to keep me awake at night, and had the same kind of thrill you get when you think about looking into the mirror and saying Candyman 5 times over. Or leaning over a high ledge. You know what I mean. Here, the crazy appeal is with lucid dreaming, the ability to be aware and in control of your own dreams. I couldn't let it go. The possibilities. I wonder if I could... NO, Emma, no.Anyway, things are not what they seem. Something or someone is behind it all, linking crimes that happened 25 years apart. As more people start meeting brutal ends, the race is on to find out what really happened all those years ago and why it's happening again. Believe me, it all builds up to a pretty bloody stunning revelation. And then... meh. The finale kinda felt like someone papering over big cracks in the wall. It worked ok, but I felt like I'd been promised something better. Perhaps it was because the first half was so ridiculously good. Like if Stephen King could still write scary stuff good. Plus, I just finished The Whisper Man, which was incredible and kept that hint of supernatural right until the last moment. Whereas this was all too human. This would have been fine except the motivations didn't ring true, which, considering I was willing to believe in ghosts for most of the book, shows you just how ridiculous they must have been. Don't scare the living shit out of me for ages and then left field me, it doesn't work. Even so, there's still so much to love here that it deserves 4 stars regardless.ARC via Netgalley
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 starsThanks to Goodreads and my winning this book, I was able to get an advanced look into Alex North's newest book The Shadows. Having been very much spooked by his The Whisper Man, I was quite happy to once again enter the world of "spookdom" and read this story. Teenagers are quite impressionable. They often believe a lot of things and try to grab onto concepts and ideas that at times seems quite out of the norm. They often make ready partners, easily led, and make decisions that oftenti 4.25 starsThanks to Goodreads and my winning this book, I was able to get an advanced look into Alex North's newest book The Shadows. Having been very much spooked by his The Whisper Man, I was quite happy to once again enter the world of "spookdom" and read this story. Teenagers are quite impressionable. They often believe a lot of things and try to grab onto concepts and ideas that at times seems quite out of the norm. They often make ready partners, easily led, and make decisions that oftentimes can lead to consequences that are dangerous. When one of the friends of Paul Adams, led by the malicious Charlie Crabtree perform a heinous murder, the town and its inhabitants are reeling. The extent of the heinous murder fuels talk and over the years also creates a number of copy cat murders. Paul, twenty five years later, has tried to put the death of his friend and the involvement of his other friends behind him. He has escaped his town, but now with the imminent death of his mother, and what seems to be a copycat murder, Paul must return. He returns to the memories, he returns to the place where he vowed he never would, he returns to find all those nightmares reoccurring.But who was this Charlie Crabtree? How could he influence these boys, making them believe they could live in each other's dreams, lurid dreams he called them? He was their leader, their malevolent director, who shaped their thoughts to become his own. Twenty-five years ago disaster struck and Charlie disappeared often to be resurrected in the copy cat murders that inhabited the dark net.There is much that is unknown and yet somehow Paul's mother, incoherent at times, knows something. Paul realizes that he must find out the truth to his nightmares and embarks on a hunt for the things that have haunted him for years. It's a terrifying journey that can only end if Paul finds all the answers he is so afraid to seek.Told with the sinister background of a dark deep woods, this story unfolds through revelations that are ugly and malevolent. It brings up the point that there are indeed evil people in our world and that many of them are the ones who shape a future we find ourselves in. Recommended for those who enjoy seriously creepy stories that keep the question of "what if" firmly in your mind.
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    Mix together creepy, scary, sinister and murderous and what do you end up with? The Shadows, the new great thriller from author Alex North.Paul Adams has returned to his home town after an absence of 25 years. Only the desire to visit his dying mother could lure him back. There are unpleasant memories for Paul of two of his friends brutally murdered another teen.Now it appears that there is a copycat murderer on the loose. But is there? Maybe it is someone from 25 years ago - one who was never f Mix together creepy, scary, sinister and murderous and what do you end up with? The Shadows, the new great thriller from author Alex North.Paul Adams has returned to his home town after an absence of 25 years. Only the desire to visit his dying mother could lure him back. There are unpleasant memories for Paul of two of his friends brutally murdered another teen.Now it appears that there is a copycat murderer on the loose. But is there? Maybe it is someone from 25 years ago - one who was never found - one who is lurking in the Shadows.Paul’s mother speaks of things from the past. But are these memories real or the ramblings of a dying woman?Paul must search out the “skeletons” in the closets. As Paul struggles to unravel the past, a police detective struggles to solve a current murder.Paul and the detective must uncover everything that happened in Gritten 25 years ago.The book was full of energy from start to finish and was that spooky, creepy novel that you don’t want to read late at night. You will enjoy this scary, heart stopping take of murder in the daylight.I received a free ARC of The Shadows by Alex North from MacMillan in exchange for an honest review.
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    not going to lie, i'm feeling PRETTY special for receiving an advance copy of this(okay yes i haven't read The Whisper Man but still)
  • Virginie
    January 1, 1970
    Give it to me!!😍Isn't this cover just amazing?
  • Crime by the Book
    January 1, 1970
    DANG THIS BOOK IS GOOD. Full review coming, just need to collect my thoughts. I LOVED this - absolutely worth adding to your summer TBR!!
  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 complicated starsThis one features a dual storyline and multiple narrators. In fact, I think it had too many characters! Paul has returned to his hometown, Gritten Wood, after decades away as his mother is now ill. He hasn’t been back because terrible events (including murder) transpired in his teen years. One of the storylines features the build-up to these events with Paul’s childhood friends and the idea of lucid dreaming.The present-day storyline has a detective trying to get to the bott 3.5 complicated starsThis one features a dual storyline and multiple narrators. In fact, I think it had too many characters! Paul has returned to his hometown, Gritten Wood, after decades away as his mother is now ill. He hasn’t been back because terrible events (including murder) transpired in his teen years. One of the storylines features the build-up to these events with Paul’s childhood friends and the idea of lucid dreaming.The present-day storyline has a detective trying to get to the bottom of some other teen killings and whether they are connected to the earlier murder in Paul’s time. Paul’s return to the town causes him to ponder those childhood events and then strange things start happening. His mother isn’t making sense anymore, but what secrets does she have about the crimes?This one had too much going on to really build tension, it was all I could do to keep characters and the event timeline straight. There were some creepy moments sprinkled throughout the book, like the creepy woods – called The Shadows -- but I was not on the edge of my seat.I really loved Alex North’s first book “The Whisper Man” – a 5-star read for me – and I was so excited to get to this one. I found it somewhat disappointing, but maybe my bar was too high. I found that the plot reminded me of too many other thrillers and got too convoluted (especially the ending). I’m hoping Alex North’s next book is as amazing as his first, this one isn’t a favorite, but didn’t turn me off from reading more from this writer.Thank you to Edelweiss, Celadon, and Alex North for an early copy of this one to read in return for an honest review. It's set to release 7.7.2020.
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    Paul’s mother is very ill and he goes back to his home town to visit her, he has not been home in twenty five years.Sometime terrible happened when he was a schoolboy and a boy died. Paul has been hiding from his past since then.I didn’t enjoy this book as much a The Whisper Man but I found it interesting.Thank you to NetGalley and Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    I keep hearing about Alex North but have never read anything by this author because I live in a book cave filled with trash
  • Becca
    January 1, 1970
    The Shadow Friend is the second book by author Alex North. His first, The Whisper Man, was a really really excellent read, so I was so thrilled to get an early copy of North's next offering. I wasn't disappointed, and this one was another 5 star read!The Shadow Friend follows Paul, a 40 year old ex resident of Gritten Wood, a small forgotten town on the outskirts of everywhere else, and his return to his hometown to visit his dying mother. Gritten Wood is close to Featherbank, where North's firs The Shadow Friend is the second book by author Alex North. His first, The Whisper Man, was a really really excellent read, so I was so thrilled to get an early copy of North's next offering. I wasn't disappointed, and this one was another 5 star read!The Shadow Friend follows Paul, a 40 year old ex resident of Gritten Wood, a small forgotten town on the outskirts of everywhere else, and his return to his hometown to visit his dying mother. Gritten Wood is close to Featherbank, where North's first novel is set, and the crossover between the two is the detective Amanda Beck. Amanda is investigating the murder of a local boy, which has similarities with a murder 25 years ago involving Paul and some of his friends. There isn't much more I can say about the plot that wouldn't give it away and this is such a thrilling book, that you really don't want spoilers.I read this over a week and it only took me that long because I had to read it in the day, as I couldn't read it when I went to bed as it was just so creepy! I don't get creeped out by books often, and I can't even tell you exactly what was so scary about this book. But I just couldn't read it right before I went to sleep! The story explores lucid dreams and 'incubation'. I'd never heard of these before, and I don't think I'll look into them further either. The descriptions in this book of the dream state and the things that can happen, was interesting and chilling.Alex North writes really well, his narrative is flowing and descriptive. You feel as though you are there with the characters in those creepy woods behind Paul's house - The Shadows. You can feel his apprehension and disappointment at Charlie's increasing hold over James and what that means for their friendship. I enjoyed reading this one so much, and I'm really glad I read it quite soon after The Whisper Man. I liked that the stories had the Featherbank link and that Amanda Beck was a character in this one too. When reading The Whisper Man, you don't necessarily feel that she will be a focus going forward, but I'm glad she was.I would recommend this to thriller and horror fans. The plot was quite complex, but once you got your head around it, it was really clever. Definitely give this one a go when it comes out.www.thebeautifulbookbreak.com
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  • Cassie
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds SO good, sign me the HELL up!!!
  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    (3.5) I wanted something gripping and easy to read, and this scratched that itch – a crime novel with a strong flavour of horror. It centres on Paul Adams, who returns to his bleak hometown, Gritten, after a 25-year absence. As a teen, he was part of a group of friends who became obsessed with a mythic figure, a nightmare-creature known as Red Hands. This obsession culminated in the murder of one of their classmates – a sacrifice that would, the boys believed, enable them to live in the 'land of (3.5) I wanted something gripping and easy to read, and this scratched that itch – a crime novel with a strong flavour of horror. It centres on Paul Adams, who returns to his bleak hometown, Gritten, after a 25-year absence. As a teen, he was part of a group of friends who became obsessed with a mythic figure, a nightmare-creature known as Red Hands. This obsession culminated in the murder of one of their classmates – a sacrifice that would, the boys believed, enable them to live in the 'land of dreams' forever. Paul was taken into custody, but released when his friend Billy confessed. Another of the boys, Charlie Crabtree, disappeared that same day.The story seems to draw on both the Columbine massacre in 1999 and the Slender Man stabbing in 2014. Charlie is the charismatic ringleader of the group; he encourages the others to try lucid dreaming and tells them stories about Red Hands, a faceless man in a tattered army jacket with bright red hands. Paul is deeply sceptical and tags along only because of his best friend James's reverence for Charlie. The tensions among the friends, plus the inexplicable fact of the boys' synchronised dreams, form the backbone of the story. As is often the case with this sort of book, the flashbacks are much more interesting than the present-day scenes. In fact, I can't really remember much about what happened in the latter.The Shadows reminded me a lot of Damien Angelica Walters' The Dead Girls Club (but with boys, obviously). Both move back and forth between the 1990s and the present day; both involve a group of young friends getting unhealthily obsessed with a spooky story; both have a pivotal character who disappears. Both have a protagonist who's really into Stephen King. Even the names of the ghosts/monsters/whatever are similar – the Red Lady in Dead Girls Club, and Red Hands in The Shadows. There are shades of Paul Tremblay's Disappearance at Devil's Rock, too.I read an American ARC, and it was only after finishing it that I discovered the author was British and the story is – presumably? – supposed to be taking place in the UK. I think some of the language has been tweaked to make it sound more American; the end result feels like it's set in neither the US nor the UK, just some strangely unidentifiable, anonymous place. I found this a bit disconcerting, though it's not necessarily inappropriate for a story that relies so heavily on the shadow-world of dreams. I received an advance review copy of The Shadows from the publisher through Edelweiss.TinyLetter
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  • Kristi
    January 1, 1970
    Alex North’s second novel, The Shadows hits you with its eerie creepiness before you even open the book! Look at this cover! If The Shadows didn’t already have me at the cover, because I’m easy that way, the summary is what really drug me in further. “You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile – always on the outside of the group.”That’s a big cup of hell yeah from me. If you’ve read the summary, you’ll see that Charlie Crabtree committed a murder most heinou Alex North’s second novel, The Shadows hits you with its eerie creepiness before you even open the book! Look at this cover! If The Shadows didn’t already have me at the cover, because I’m easy that way, the summary is what really drug me in further. “You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile – always on the outside of the group.”That’s a big cup of hell yeah from me. If you’ve read the summary, you’ll see that Charlie Crabtree committed a murder most heinous and then disappeared without a trace. What happened to Charlie? This is the big question and when similar murders begin occurring with the same MO there are questions if Charlie is somehow involved! Yikes! What I really loved about this book is the glimpse it gives me into the main character and narrators life, Paul Adams. Paul isn’t really the most likable guy at the start. Neglectful of his mother for years, you get the sense that maybe he’s a bit selfish and self-centered but as the story moves on, it’s clear why Paul avoids his home town. Speaking of Paul! Ah, Paul, you unreliable narrator you! The other character we hear from is Amanda Beck, a detective following the recurrence of gruesome murders that lead her to Paul and the events that occurred 25 years in the past. This story is told in alternating timelines; present and 25 years ago, not always my favorite but once I got used to the format, it worked for the story. There are twists in this story, one that really threw me … like really threw me! Ok, more like two! There is a supernatural element that is present and yet, I’m still uncertain if it was just the result of an unsettled mind. I’m still thinking about this and remain undecided. I completely enjoyed The Shadows and will continue to devour everything that Mr. North pens! Thank you Macmillan Reading Insiders Club for gifting me a copy of The Shadows in exchange for my honest review!
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    4.5⭐The Shadows is my first read by Alex North, and I really enjoyed it! This book has a good opening, and it held my attention the entire way through. This book was a good mix of thriller and horror, which are my favorite genres. The story felt like something you would hear on a true crime podcast. It took a minute to figure out what was going on since there are alternating chapters between the past and present, and then two different characters in the present. It felt a little rocky at first, 4.5⭐The Shadows is my first read by Alex North, and I really enjoyed it! This book has a good opening, and it held my attention the entire way through. This book was a good mix of thriller and horror, which are my favorite genres. The story felt like something you would hear on a true crime podcast. It took a minute to figure out what was going on since there are alternating chapters between the past and present, and then two different characters in the present. It felt a little rocky at first, but eventually, I sorted it out. I wasn't crazy about the ending, but I loved the rest of this book so much. I recommend it if you're looking for a good dark book this summer. I'm definitely planning on reading more from Alex North!CW - animal death (off-page), suicide
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know why I read this book. The Whisperman freaked me out, yet I loved it. This one is back to the same creepy creepy freaky happenings. I wouldn’t like to live next door to the author that’s for sure. Not even in the same town….haha.Paul has more than a few ghosts in his past. The skeletons in his closet you might say, which have forced him to stay away from his famliy home. However, he returns as his mum is terminally ill, but he soon finds newspaper reports of a murder, of a time that I don’t know why I read this book. The Whisperman freaked me out, yet I loved it. This one is back to the same creepy creepy freaky happenings. I wouldn’t like to live next door to the author that’s for sure. Not even in the same town….haha.Paul has more than a few ghosts in his past. The skeletons in his closet you might say, which have forced him to stay away from his famliy home. However, he returns as his mum is terminally ill, but he soon finds newspaper reports of a murder, of a time that haunts him still. Why has his mum held on to these snippets of pain from his past?That’s the big question hanging over the entire novel and the one that keeps you gripped. What did happen back then? Why are things so vivid of that day and why do the ghosts of the past wish Paul to revisit?Alex North has set his novel in a fictional town called Gritten. This name alone reminded me of Grimm as in Grimm’s fairy tales so that set the tone from the start. Gritten also sounds a bit like a creature similar to a gremlin I thought. Creepy stuff.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The Shadow friend by Alex North is the second book from the author I have read and looking forward to it. I read The Whisper man which I really enjoyed.Paul Adams returns to his childhood home as his mother is dying. He left when he went to University and has not returned since because of painful memories that he wants left buried.But when he returns home the memories resurface of when he was fifteen years old. His friends Charlie Campbell and Billy Roberts killed another school friend, which so The Shadow friend by Alex North is the second book from the author I have read and looking forward to it. I read The Whisper man which I really enjoyed.Paul Adams returns to his childhood home as his mother is dying. He left when he went to University and has not returned since because of painful memories that he wants left buried.But when he returns home the memories resurface of when he was fifteen years old. His friends Charlie Campbell and Billy Roberts killed another school friend, which somehow, he was involved in. The group gets involved with lucid dreaming and claim that things in it come true. Paul is guilty not only what happened that day but also not being there for his mother. He goes all out to find out what happened that day. Detective Amanda Beck travels to Gritten after reading the case and a teenage boy has been murdered. Is this a copycat killer or has Charlie come back to kill again? The police also follow a website that new information on what went on. This is a creepy, supernatural, atmospheric thriller with an original storyline. With a hint of a horror story vibe. The ghost that haunted the woods reminded me a bit of The Bogey man. It was gripping , with twists and turns and great characters. Four stars from me.
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  • Kristie
    January 1, 1970
    So... I did not read The Whisper Man. I know, I know. How did I miss that one? I'm working on fixing that. In the meantime, I just wanted to point out that this book sounds great and the cover is just amazing. I love it. So... I did not read The Whisper Man. I know, I know. How did I miss that one? I'm working on fixing that. In the meantime, I just wanted to point out that this book sounds great and the cover is just amazing. I love it.
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  • Tracy Fenton
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored Alex North's first book The Whisper Man and when I saw he had a new book out I popped it to the top of my pile and started it immediately.The Shadow Friend is a new standalone thriller with a creepy undertone centring around a violent killing by schoolchildren who believe in an urban myth.  Twenty-five years ago, the main character Paul Adams left his home town of Gritten after the murder of a classmate.  He's avoided his friends and family ever since, but when his mother is I absolutely adored Alex North's first book The Whisper Man and when I saw he had a new book out I popped it to the top of my pile and started it immediately.The Shadow Friend is a new standalone thriller with a creepy undertone centring around a violent killing by schoolchildren who believe in an urban myth.  Twenty-five years ago, the main character Paul Adams left his home town of Gritten after the murder of a classmate.  He's avoided his friends and family ever since, but when his mother is taken seriously ill, he has no choice but to return and face up to his past.The story is narrated by Paul and tells the story of his past and present taking the reader on an uncomfortable and often scary journey.  There is no doubt this author loves to spook his readers out and keep them guessing throughout.  The Shadow Friend certainly kept me on my toes and caught me out several times. In my opinion, this isn't quite as atmospheric or chilling as The Whisper Man, but it was entertaining and kept me reading until the end.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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