R E V I E W – B O O K
TW: Kidnapping and murder of children
“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.”
The quote is a bit chilly if you ask me but what makes it more chilling is the fact that it is taught to a five-year-old Jake by his friend — a young girl whom the adults cannot see. This friend can be excused as being the imaginary friend of a lonely boy as many of us let our imaginations run wild when we are kids and so did Jake. But this friend helps him go through some of the most fearful moments of his life.
The above poem was taught to Jake so that he stays safe and protected from the infamous Whisper Man. As a premonition for what was to come — something neither the young Jake nor anyone else could have predicted or taken actions against.
DI Pete, Tom, and Jake are some significant characters of this book and I personally liked how their relationship evolved. As well as how we are given insight into what they are thinking as they try to lessen the distance among themselves. For a crime thriller, it put detailed attention to not only the crimes and victims and cops involved but the side characters and their psychological dispositions.
Featherbank is a little quiet village but around two decades ago Frank Carter, a man later titled “The Whisper Man” by the media because of his perceived M.O kidnapped and brutally killed 5 children and was arrested by Detective Inspector Peter Willi. Pete was only able to find 4 of Carter’s victims and the fact that he had not been successful in finding the 5th child namely Tony Smith haunted Pete over the years because he believes everyone deserves to find home. When another kid goes missing in Featherbank, Pete immediately gets involved with the grunt work because it is the belief in law enforcement that the first 48 hours of a kid going missing were the most important.
Tom Kennedy is a successful writer, a husband and father to Jake, who was reeling from the sudden death of his wife and trying to raise his young son while having bad memories from his childhood that haunt him all the time. He also possesses a fear that he is failing to raise his son despite his best efforts. On the other hand, Jake, a highly creative and sensitive kid constantly tries to connect with his father and not cause trouble. While doing so he remembers his mom and believes subconsciously that his mom would have done better. To be able to move on from the unfortunate incident, Tom along with Jake decides to move to Featherbank to a new home, a home that Jake chooses. However, Jake starts to act a little weird after moving there and making his father concerned. One night, Tom wakes up to find his son, not in his room and ends up finding that someone is whispering to Jake from outside the main door of their home and urging Jake to open the door, which forces Tom to immediately race for his son’s safety and rethink his sense of security.
All these events caused Featherbank and the new home to create more trouble for Tom. What with an intruder trying to break into his garage in broad daylight, finding an unknown person whispering to his son to open the door in the late hours of the night, and last but not least finding the body of a child inside a box while trying to find out what the intruder wanted in the garage — Featherbank became a nightmare! Amidst such chaos, Tom tries to ensure things stay as normal as possible for Jake while sending him to school, where a new character named Karen appears who ends up playing an impactful role in his life.
I personally liked how easy it was to relate to the characters in the book despite the mass difference between me, the reader and the characters in the book. The deaths of each character were presented in such a way that you cannot but sympathise and mourn their deaths. The concept of human psychology when dealing with death and things outside our control was nicely presented in this novel.
The book also deals with the kidnapping and murder of young children and as a result, it would not be wise for all but perfect for a fan of thrillers and mystery what with all the twists and gruesome information we discover in the book. I was taken aback initially by the animosity between DI Pete and Tom but their budding relationship that evolved as the book progressed made the ending bittersweet. The characters all of them together make this book shine and worthy of a read.
Rabab Rayan is a Business undergrad trying to excel academically but failing spectacularly.