Twenty-five years ago, troubled teenager Charlie Crabtree committed a shocking and unprovoked murder. On the darkest corners of the internet, plenty of people still remember what happened: Charlie’s crime has attracted a dark infamy.
Paul Adams can remember the case too – Charlie and his victim were his friends. Paul left town as soon as he could, and he’s never gone back. But then his mother, old and senile, takes a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it’s time to come home.
It’s not long before things start to go wrong. In the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. 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 afterwards, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…
Alex North’s Last Book The Whisper Man was hugely popular with the Better Reading community and a tremendous addition to the thriller genre, so it’s no surprise that his new book, The Shadow Friend is equally as powerful in telling a captivating story.
The story that North weaves together blurs the lines between dreams and reality for troubled protagonist Paul. The mind-bending sequences that Paul suffers through really highlight North’s beautiful prose and stunning character work. The complex and layered characters, combined with the malevolent and electrifying atmosphere, truly makes this a perfect thriller read.
What really struck me was how the character of Charlie Crabtree was written. A powerfully calm and terrifying young man who was written so precisely, with his every move so well calculated and grim.
This story also explores grief as Paul comes to terms with his mother’s imminent passing. North has clearly done his research and it pays off in a really grounded way that speaks volumes to the reader. This is one of those books that will pull you in for hours, and is a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon.
Alex North had a tough job coming up with a story as thrilling and gripping as The Whisper Man, but has somehow managed to not only match the quality and hair-raising charm of his previous book, but surpass it in many ways. We here at Better Reading can’t wait for what this talented author has in store next! Keep a look out for his next great work!