CBR11Bingo Not My Wheelhouse.
I was a precocious reader as a child. I learned to read before kindergarten, and pretty quickly outpaced my elementary school library. I read everything I could get my hands on, and when I ran out of my own reading material I moved on to my parent’s books and magazines. Which is how I came to read the work of Stephen King at an inappropriate age. For several years, starting in about third grade, Stephen King’s books were my constant companions. I would lock myself in to the bathroom and lie on the bathmat on the floor with Christine or Cujo or Different Seasons or the Bachmann books. All of this to say that at one time this genre (and Archie Comics) was basically my main source of extra-curricular reading. This genre was also the main source of my nightmares and sleep difficulties, and I have been pretty horror-avoidant for the last twenty-plus years. I actively avoid reading horror. If I watch anything slightly scary I sleep with the covers over my head and a wooden shoe form under my pillow for several nights in a row. Haunted houses? Not a chance I will even enter the parking lot.
The central story is about Tom and Jake, father and son who move to a new town to escape their grief over losing Jake’s mom suddenly. Tom allows Jake, a troubled first-grader, to choose their new house based only on a picture. When they arrive to their new home Jake continues to speak to his imaginary friend/ghost. Tom quickly finds out that their new home has a sordid past that is somehow connected to the town’s history of child murders. The murderer was caught and imprisoned years ago, but now a new abduction sets the town on edge. Tom and Jake are caught up in the mystery of the Whisper Man.
The Whisper Man by Alex North hits all the horror tropes: recently grieving family moves to a new town with a suspicious past, creepy child talks to ghosts, mystery involving cops assigned to investigate the case at hand. The book moves quickly and involves a serial killer of young boys but was somehow still dull in spots. The point of view alternates by chapter from first-person to third-person and it doesn’t make much sense to have those alternating narrative styles.