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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--a 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. 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 haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man.


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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--a 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. 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 haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man.

30 review for The Shadows

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Hey all! I've read my way through 200+ books to bring you this Booktube Video - all about the Best 2020 Books (so far this year!). Was it strange to think of the dead as friends? 25 years ago, Paul Adams experienced the worst day of his life. One of his friends was ritualistically murdered by two other "friends". The police pick up one of them but the other (Charlie Crabtree) was never found. Some say he's been living out in the woods ever since. Now, 25 years later, Paul's mother i Hey all! I've read my way through 200+ books to bring you this Booktube Video - all about the Best 2020 Books (so far this year!). Was it strange to think of the dead as friends? 25 years ago, Paul Adams experienced the worst day of his life. One of his friends was ritualistically murdered by two other "friends". The police pick up one of them but the other (Charlie Crabtree) was never found. Some say he's been living out in the woods ever since. Now, 25 years later, Paul's mother is suffering from dementia and takes a spill down the stairs in Gritten (the hometown where the murder happened). She's in hospice care and (reluctantly) Paul comes back to the town that haunted him so long ago. The sky above was dark blue and speckled with a faint prickling of stars. No answers to be found. Meanwhile, Detective Amanda from Featherbank stumbled upon a grisly/ritualistic murder - committed by two teens against a classmate. She ends up tracing it back to Charlie Crabtree - and Paul. Through flashbacks, we learn that Charlie believed in lucid dreaming and that physical manifestations (and murders) are possible. With Paul's nightmare's coming in faster and faster, he begins to wonder if Charlie was right all along. What are you dreaming? Just when I think the author couldn't top the Whisper Man, this absolutely GORGEOUS gem shows up. Stunning. I loved how Alex North teeters on the edge of supernatural vs natural for his books - it's so fun (and a lil bit spooky) to watch the characters navigate the world. I enjoyed how the two storylines came together - with Detective Amanda and Paul circling each other and the events until they come together to solve the murder. The flashbacks worked really well. Each time we went back in time, another kernel of truth was released. The pacing was perfect for this. All in all, this was QUITE a fabulous book and I'm so excited to have read it. I received a free physical copy of THE SHADOWS by Alex North from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    “Red hands, red hands, red hands everywhere.” 3.5 stars The 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 stars The 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth

    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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    When Paul Adams was a teenager, a classmate of his was brutally murdered. Due to Paul's closeness with the deceased, he was immediately suspected, accused and arrested of the horrific crime. His mother, who knew her son was innocent, fought like a dog for his freedom. The police finally come to agree with her. Paul was innocent, so who brutally killed that poor child? Two of Paul's one-time friends, Billy and Charlie Crabtree, were then accused. Billy went to prison and Charlie, subsequently, disa When Paul Adams was a teenager, a classmate of his was brutally murdered. Due to Paul's closeness with the deceased, he was immediately suspected, accused and arrested of the horrific crime. His mother, who knew her son was innocent, fought like a dog for his freedom. The police finally come to agree with her. Paul was innocent, so who brutally killed that poor child? Two of Paul's one-time friends, Billy and Charlie Crabtree, were then accused. Billy went to prison and Charlie, subsequently, disappeared into the local woods, known as The Shadows, never to be seen or heard from again. Having suffered enough in the public spotlight of his village, Paul moves away as soon as he can, leaving his mother behind. He doesn't return for 25-years. He only returns after receiving word that his mother, who is in poor health and suffering from dementia, has taken a fall and is now being kept in a nursing facility. As you can imagine, coming back to the village he fled so many years before, stirs up a lot of memories and emotions. Making matters worse, a copycat crime has been committed, bringing the brutal violence of the past to a whole new generation. As with, The Whisper Man, I really enjoyed North's writing and the way he chose to format the story. We follow a couple different perspectives, as well as past and present timelines. I just feel like he makes such clever choices with his storytelling and I'm down for it. There were definitely moments I didn't see coming, as well as some solid red herrings. I wasn't crazy about the conclusion to some of the mysteries held within the story, but that is purely personal preference. It is no way a reflection on the skill of the writing or the book itself. There were just a couple of things, I personally wish would have wrapped-up differently. Overall, this is a fun, creepy read. I love the is it paranormal, is it not paranormal feel that North brings to his work. That's how I live my life and I love it. Thank you so much to the publisher, Celadon Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint!

  5. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    dont read this before bed. its about creepy lucid dreaming and spooky ghosts and the combination is a sure recipe for nightmares. i did enjoy this, though. while not as strong as 'the whisper man,' its still a eerie story. i got major 'the chalk man' vibes while reading it, so if you enjoyed that book, you will really like this one. the writing is very easy to read and does a great job at getting a reader hooked. but there are a couple of things i didnt like about this. i feel like detective dont read this before bed. its about creepy lucid dreaming and spooky ghosts and the combination is a sure recipe for nightmares. i did enjoy this, though. while not as strong as 'the whisper man,' its still a eerie story. i got major 'the chalk man' vibes while reading it, so if you enjoyed that book, you will really like this one. the writing is very easy to read and does a great job at getting a reader hooked. but there are a couple of things i didnt like about this. i feel like detective becks POV detracts from the story. i understand the necessity of her chapters, especially for the reader to get information pertaining to the big reveal at the end, but i didnt like the ending. it was quite anticlimactic to me. so change the ending, get rid of the detective, and this could have been near perfection. overall, a minor sophomore slump of a book compared to such an outstanding debut, but still a pretty entertaining story in its own right. ↠ 3.5 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    All 5 ⭐s for the PERFECT reading experience!! I loved this awesome book! Creepy, dark and suspenseful, with a plot that hooked me from the get-go. The Shadows is a horror story at its core but flirts with other genres and doesn't follow the rules of most books. Some of the twists hit me in a way that I felt like I was physically slapped! Seriously. As if that wicked bony hand from the cover reached around and smacked me. "𝘽𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙣𝙤𝙬, 𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙧𝙮, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙯𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙝 All 5 ⭐s for the PERFECT reading experience!! I loved this awesome book! Creepy, dark and suspenseful, with a plot that hooked me from the get-go. The Shadows is a horror story at its core but flirts with other genres and doesn't follow the rules of most books. Some of the twists hit me in a way that I felt like I was physically slapped! Seriously. As if that wicked bony hand from the cover reached around and smacked me. "𝘽𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙣𝙤𝙬, 𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙧𝙮, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙯𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙩, 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙢𝙚. " And North's previous book is rated even higher than this one?! How is that even possible?? I can not WAIT to read it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** 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” w ***NOW AVAILABLE*** 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    *** 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!

  9. 4 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!! 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 NOW AVAILABLE!!! 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. ooOOOOoo this 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!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    I think I've come to the realization that, if I'm only continuing with a book to see how it ends, then I need to put it down and move on. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    marilyn

    Alex North's, The Shadows, is oozing with atmosphere. The Shadows are the thick, dark, creepy woods behind the houses of Paul and his best friend, James. If a person is not very careful, he can venture into The Shadows and never make his way out again.  Twenty five years ago, fifteen year old Paul and James, find themselves in the sights of Charlie Crabtree, a narcissist bully, and James, who is often picked on by his classmates, is in awe of Charlie, so when Charlie takes him under his wing, Pau Alex North's, The Shadows, is oozing with atmosphere. The Shadows are the thick, dark, creepy woods behind the houses of Paul and his best friend, James. If a person is not very careful, he can venture into The Shadows and never make his way out again.  Twenty five years ago, fifteen year old Paul and James, find themselves in the sights of Charlie Crabtree, a narcissist bully, and James, who is often picked on by his classmates, is in awe of Charlie, so when Charlie takes him under his wing, Paul has to hang around them just to keep an eye on James. Charlie insists that the boys, along with Charlie's second hand man, Billy, start keeping journals of their dreams, so that they can develop lucid dreaming skills. He also will lead them through The Shadows for hours at a time, and Paul goes with them only so that he can keep James safe. We find that Charlie has a murderous motive and after the murder, Charlie disappears and Billy goes to prison for murder.  Now, in the present, Paul has returned to his hometown so he can visit his mother during her last days in hospice care. At the same time, there has been a copy-cat murder in another town, which leads Detective Amanda Beck to Paul's town so that she can see if there is a link to the murder twenty-five years ago. Paul had just wanted to forget what happened all those years ago but he finds that he can't forget because his mom's house contains things from those days and because things are happening around him, that point to that long ago murder.  Despite the fact that there were way too many characters for me, I wanted to know what happened in the past and in the present and why those things happened. The book is a bit of a brain teaser with trying to keep characters straight and going back and forth between timelines. Even so, it's a good kind of creepy when I go outside at night to feed my horses and my very own woods give me goosebumps, thanks to this story.  Published July 7th 2020

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    This was so creepy and everything I wanted it to be If I was rating this book just based on atmosphere alone it would easily be a 5/5. I love the vibe of this book, the talk of the shadows and the woods and red hands and lucid dreaming and a mysterious murder. This book reminded me of The Chalk Man for some reason. Probably because our main character left the small town he grew up in where something horrible happened when he was younger, and now he’s an adult coming back for the first time in 20 This was so creepy and everything I wanted it to be If I was rating this book just based on atmosphere alone it would easily be a 5/5. I love the vibe of this book, the talk of the shadows and the woods and red hands and lucid dreaming and a mysterious murder. This book reminded me of The Chalk Man for some reason. Probably because our main character left the small town he grew up in where something horrible happened when he was younger, and now he’s an adult coming back for the first time in 20+ years. I like that we go back and forth between chapters from the past when Paul was a teen and present day chapters. His friend Charlie was pretty creepy and the scenes of the boys as teenagers were so freaking creepy at times it gave me chills. It also reminded me a lot of Slender Man it had similar spooky vibes to that. There was one really great plot twist at the end, but overall I did find the ending to be mostly disappointing which is why this isn’t a five star book for me. But I still love the writing in this book, it’s so creepy and mysterious and I dig it. I DNF’ed this authors first book The Whisper Man last year and now I’m feeling like I need to give that one another shot because of how much I enjoyed this one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    It’s what all good parents tell their children. And yet what does it really amount to? A hostage to fortune. It’s a promise you have to make, and one you must do your best to believe in, because what else is there? It’s going to be ok. Yes, I think about that a lot. How every good parent says it, and how often they’re wrong. When Paul Adams got the call, he came. One hundred miles, back to Gritten. It had been twenty five years since he’d left, but mom was nearing the end, cancer, dementia, an It’s what all good parents tell their children. And yet what does it really amount to? A hostage to fortune. It’s a promise you have to make, and one you must do your best to believe in, because what else is there? It’s going to be ok. Yes, I think about that a lot. How every good parent says it, and how often they’re wrong. When Paul Adams got the call, he came. One hundred miles, back to Gritten. It had been twenty five years since he’d left, but mom was nearing the end, cancer, dementia, and now a fall. She is in hospice care. Not all that surprising that she would act a bit weird. When he gets to see her the first thing she has to say is, “You shouldn’t be here,” and she says it repeatedly. Then “…poor little James too. We’re only doing this for him, aren’t we?” Most alarmingly, “Red hands, Paul! There are red hands everywhere…Oh god, it’s in the house, Paul…It’s in the fucking house!” AlexNorth? - image from Colourbox Well, not exactly a “Welcome Home, Paul” sign hanging at the local pub, with munchies, cake, and an open bar, but I guess it will have to do. There are reasons Adams had stayed away. Horrific life events have a way of making the place where you were brought up seem something less than inviting. And, really, it was not such a great place to begin with. Teenage Paul’s take: Most of Gritten was saturated with poverty, and the view through the bus window was so drab that it was sometimes difficult to tell the empty premises from the occupied. I wanted nothing more than to escape from here—but it was hard to imagine it ever happening. The place had a gravity that held whatever was dropped where it fell. That included people. Present day Detective Amanda Beck would probably agree with Paul’s assessment from twenty five years back. …there was something especially beaten down about Gritten. Despite the sunlight, the air seemed drab and gray, like an old wet cloth half wrung out. As she looked out at the dilapidated neighborhoods she drove through, it was difficult to shake the sensation that the place was cursed in some way—that there was something poisonous in the ground here, rooted in the history of the place, that kept the land barren and the people dead inside. People have been getting dead outside too. A revisit to the charming site of North’s first (first as Alex North, anyway, 2019’s insanely scary The Whisper Man) scare-fest, Featherbank, features two teenage charmers who slash a friend to bits leaving red handprints all over the scene. A little research shows that the case bears a remarkable resemblance to another killing twenty-five years ago, in Gritten, about a hundred miles away. Paul had few friends at his new school, but James was his bestie. When Paul tried to defend him from a bully, two other boys come to his aid, Billy Roberts and Charlie Crabtree, and thus a circle is formed. But Charlie had an edge to him, a cockiness far in advance of his age. It worked well to intimidate other kids, but was maybe not so much fun in a pal. Charlie was natural leader, of the Manson sort. Qu'est-ce que c'est? He leads the crew into practicing lucid dreaming. Trying to create a shared experience. But in the dreams he tells the other boys about, there is a dark figure in the woods. And if they all do what he wants, the mystery man will grant them a new, permanent dreamlife. Not exactly a small draw for kids of limited means in a dead-end place like Gritten. Lucid dreams are when you wake up in a dream while remaining asleep. I was obsessed with them as a teenager and have remained so to an extent as an adult. The appeal was always the idea of escape: of being in control of the world and able to do anything you want…I thought they were fertile ground to explore — that isolated teenage boys in a drab community might seize on them as means of escape. And that things could become sinister very quickly, especially if one of them began manipulating the others. - from the Bookub interviewIt led to a bloody killing, after which Charlie Crabtree was seen no more. Did he succeed in his dream? And why did he vanish while Billy Roberts was found covered in blood and holding a knife? And now there is a copycat. Like I suspect a lot of writers, I was fascinated by a crime that occurred in Wisconsin in 2014 where two young girls attempted to murder one of their friends. The girls had become obsessed with a figure known as Slender Man and had created this fantasy world between them, to the point they believed a sacrifice would allow them to escape the real world and join him. Slender Man is of course an entirely fictional figure, but a whole subculture has grown up around him. My first thought was “how could anybody really believe this?” — but then I remembered how alienated and lonely you can feel when you’re young, the imaginative games you play and the way those can take hold, and I also started reading more about shared delusional disorder, in which two or more individuals begin to believe the same extraordinary things. (view spoiler)[ Trump voters? (hide spoiler)] - from the BookBub interviewPresent day Paul stays, during his visit, at the house in which he grew up, the place his mother was referring to when shrieking about something being in the house. In addition to having to clean up after mom, the house holds a residual creepiness from his childhood. And then there are the boxes Paul finds in the attic, the contents of which give him cause for great concern and massive confusion. The other decoration he finds in the attic has an even darker effect. Signs appear. Is there a mysterious man in the woods? He could swear he saw one just now. Someone is definitely trying to scare him, or maybe trying to draw him back in? There are plenty of reasons to get chills. On the upside there is an old girlfriend with whom Paul reacquaints. The Shadows of the title is what the locals call the woods of the town, which happens to abut Paul’s and James’s childhood homes, a venue for many a creepy tale in local lore, spectral and physical, killings, suicides, disappearances, murderous ghosts. Night night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs carve you to chunks. The structure of the book is a back and forth of then and now, peeling back the layers of what happened a quarter-century ago, but also looking into what is happening now. Paul has been beset by some mysterious doings, and struggles with what is real and what might just be in his head. The story switches, as well, between Paul’s first-person narration and Detective Beck’s third-person investigation. In truth they ate both investigating. Beck has her own issues to cope with but stays mostly focused on trying to track the links between a spate of gruesome killings happening today, and that outrage from the past. Was Paul just an innocent bystander way back when, and might he be a target today? Beck is a carryover from The Whispers and mention is made of the case she had been involved in for that book, but it is not at all crucial to have read The Whispers before taking on this one. It might have been more fun, and given Detective Beck more to do and more to experience had Paul lived in the same town, Featherbank, as the awfulness of North’s first (under the name Alex North) horror/suspense/thriller novel, But Gritten (a knock of Great Britain as a bleak, depressing place? Turns out not so much. See EXTRA STUFF for more) is still a grim setting, one befitting grim events. There is more than just scares that might remind you of North‘s earlier work. The alternating POV will feel familiar. There are mysteries to be solved, both now and from the past. What really happened way back when, and just what the hell is going on now? But is it always better to know the truth? He remains very interested in parent-child dynamics, and the legacies parents leave for those who come after. If you’re going to write about a character confronting something that happened in childhood, and about how it’s impacted them in the present, it’s inevitable you’re going to end up looking at all the factors that shaped them. And so in subsequent drafts, Paul’s mother just made more of her presence felt, until — in some ways — their relationship became the heart of the book. - from the BookBub interview I had one considerable gripe. There is a major twist that occurs about three quarters into the book (you will know it when you see it) that was not adequately supported by preparatory hints and clues. The result was that it felt like a cheat, particularly as a later switcheroo would be impossible without this one. I know you do not expect the smoothness of say, It’s a Small World, when you use your ticket for Space Mountain, but it did feel for a bit there that the car had left the tracks. In short, while not as consistently terrifying as The Whisper Man, a very, very high bar, The Shadows definitely delivers on the chills front. Scary stuff that might find its way into your dreams, whether lucid or regular. In case the actual world is not scaring you enough, or, if you prefer being frightened by the fictional, you might give this one a go. But sleep on it first. And if you wake up serene…wait, you are really awake, right? And not just imagining you are awake in a dream? It’s ok. Should be fine. Go on ahead and check this one out. And pay no attention to those handprints on the wall. The volume dropped a notch, the quiet rush of the real world fading away behind us. The silence in the woods was eerie, and not for the first time I found myself glancing around as I trailed behind, my heart thrumming with the strange sensation you have when it feels like you’re being watched. Review posted – July 17, 2020 Publication date – July 7, 2020 I received a free ARC of The Shadows from Macmillan, through its Reading Insiders Club program, in exchange for an honest review. No human sacrifices were required. But I do not understand why my hands were all red when I finished reading. #readinginsidersclub =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s Twitter and GR pages Interviews -----Pages of Julia - Maximum Shelf author interview: Alex North by Julia Kastner -----BookBub - How a Real-Life Attempted Murder Between Teen Friends Inspired Alex North’s Latest Thriller -----Celadon - Discussion with Alex North - A facebook Q & A with the author, mostly focused on The Whisper Man, but with some Qs having to do with The Shadows as well In the above-noted Q&A, I asked North about his choice of Gritten as town name WB - In The Shadows is Gritten a contraction of Great Britain? And if so, why? If not, is there some other significance to the town's name? AND Why not return to Featherbank? AN - No - that's an accident! I don't know where Gritten came from as a place name, although it might have been a subconscious psychological nod to Grimpen Mire from Hound of the Baskervilles. It's a place name that has a certain feel to it - hard and unforgiving and, well, gritty, I suppose - and it just stuck while I was writing. While Featherbank does feature, it just felt a little too much for it to have been the scene of another serious crime in the past. I didn't want it to end up like Midsomer Murders, where there are so many murders in the place it feels like there shouldn't be anyone left alive there! My review of the North’s previous book -----The Whisper Man Music -----Talking Heads - Psycho Killer Items of Interest -----Amazon - excerpt -----Healthline - 5 Techniques to Try for Lucid Dreaming by Kirsten Nunez -----Wikipedia - Slender Man -----For another book that uses The Slender Man as an inspiration, you might check out The Dead Girls Club

  14. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    "We have to do something about Charlie." Charlie Crabtree with his dark imagination and creepy smile committed a murder twenty five years ago that rocked and shocked the local community. The crime destroyed lives and continues to have an impact all the years later. Now, there is a copycat, inspired by that heinous crime years ago, who is communicating with someone online and planning more evil. When Paul left town, he had no intentions of going back. He was briefly friends with Charlie Crabtr "We have to do something about Charlie." Charlie Crabtree with his dark imagination and creepy smile committed a murder twenty five years ago that rocked and shocked the local community. The crime destroyed lives and continues to have an impact all the years later. Now, there is a copycat, inspired by that heinous crime years ago, who is communicating with someone online and planning more evil. When Paul left town, he had no intentions of going back. He was briefly friends with Charlie Crabtree and also friends with Crabtree's victim. But his elderly mother has taken a turn for the worse and he comes back to town and learns that his mother believes that there is something in the house. Worse yet, he begins to feel as if he is being followed and the ghosts of his past continue to haunt him. "I don't care if you ever think about me at all. I'll think about you instead." I have conflicted feelings about this book. There were parts that impressed me, parts where I thought "Are you kidding me", parts where I thought "Holy Shit" and parts that I wasn't engaged at all. There is a big twist and reveal, something I didn't see coming and other things that just didn't work for me. This story is told in two time lines. The past when Charlie Crabtree is talking to his friends about lucid dreams and how they can meet in each other's dreams. Then there is the present day, where Paul has returned home to visit his sick mother while in the same time, a police officer named Amanda is investigating the copycat crimes. The book did pull off some nice twists and turns but it never really blew my socks off. I found it to be a solid 3 - meaning I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. There are some creepy parts and the cover is fantastic, but overall a solid book. I look forward to more books by Alex North. He's a talented writer who knows how to put the creep in creepy. Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    And the most unpopular, disgusting, shameful, rotten tomato, (ahem) I mean poor grader reviewer at leading category goes to (ba boom ba boom- at the same time my stupid picture appears on the screen: wearing dirty pajamas, holding my iPad in one hand, clutching the Chardonnay bottle in the other, eyes are red rimmed- side effect of too much reading and alcoholism-) Nilufer Ozmekik! We hear booing! Rotten eggs, tomatoes start to fly through the air as I accept my statue ( Actually it’s not a statu And the most unpopular, disgusting, shameful, rotten tomato, (ahem) I mean poor grader reviewer at leading category goes to (ba boom ba boom- at the same time my stupid picture appears on the screen: wearing dirty pajamas, holding my iPad in one hand, clutching the Chardonnay bottle in the other, eyes are red rimmed- side effect of too much reading and alcoholism-) Nilufer Ozmekik! We hear booing! Rotten eggs, tomatoes start to fly through the air as I accept my statue ( Actually it’s not a statue! It’s a garbage bag! I think they want me put myself inside the bag so they can throw me at the minority dumpster land of unlikable reviewers) And here’s my speech: “It’s not all right all right all right! When I started to write three starred review for Whisper man’s author, I slapped at my forehead and asked myself WTH are you thinking! I know you liked some creepy, twisty, dark, paranormal parts of the book and you loved the supernatural character idea who shall be named Red Hands. Four kids synchronized dreaming idea and incubation part to connect with the eerie, scary supernatural existence was nice move. Admit it! And one of the boys’ turning back to the place where it started reminded you of “It” without Pennywise. So you’re telling me that even the writers of King vibes didn’t work for you! Are you out of your freakin mind, girl? But hear me out guys before throwing the hard copies at me and calling my ugly names: if I give a book five stars it means... It should shake me to the core, hook me from the first sentence, make me scream, speechless, breathless! It should be something jaw dropping, brain cell blender, soul shaker, hair splitter, nail biter! The previous book of the author: heart throbbing Whisper Man checked all these boxes but this book just meh okay kind of it’s good but not sooooo good reading! It isn’t riveting, fast paced addictive thriller I was expecting. Only reason I read last parts faster, I wanted to finish sooner to watch Old Guard on Netflix( Badass Charlize Theron always comes first and shame on George Miller for not giving her chance to play Furiosa again!) So giving it three lonely, exile from the majority, shameless, solid stars is my last choice. I’m thanking to NetGalley and Edelweiss for brutally rejecting my request ( they might see I could be tough grader) and I’m thanking to my brother for giving me my first Stephen King book Stand when I was only ten and help me to have great taste and higher expectations when it comes to best thriller stories ( okay, he didn’t give me the book, I stole it from his library. But it still appreciate his great taste about thriller masterpieces) I am also thankful to Ricky Gervais because after this review he will be still more unlikable person than me! That’s all folks. Thank you for coming. Good night!” I dropped the mic and ran away, carrying my garbage back as a shield to protect myself from book’s biggest fans’ attacks! blog instagram facebook twitter

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    After the runaway success of the creepy The Whisper Man, Alex North gives us this atmospheric follow up, with the return of Featherbank and Detective Amanda Beck. 25 years ago, Paul Adams left the industrial town of Gritten, 100 miles north of Featherbank, for university. to never return, making every effort to forget the murder of a classmate committed by Charlie Crabtree and Billy Roberts. Paul had been in an uneasy friendship with them after his best friend, the bullied James, insisted on bec After the runaway success of the creepy The Whisper Man, Alex North gives us this atmospheric follow up, with the return of Featherbank and Detective Amanda Beck. 25 years ago, Paul Adams left the industrial town of Gritten, 100 miles north of Featherbank, for university. to never return, making every effort to forget the murder of a classmate committed by Charlie Crabtree and Billy Roberts. Paul had been in an uneasy friendship with them after his best friend, the bullied James, insisted on becoming closer to Charlie. Paul became concerned about Charlie, who led them down the path of lucid dreaming and incubation, and into the strange and frightening fantasy of a shadowy man in the woods, with the red hands. Whilst Billy was prosecuted for his part in the killing, the sinister Charlie disappeared, never to be seen again, turning him into a cult figure and legend, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps, as through the years, copycat killings have occurred. Amanda finds herself on the scene of just such a gruesome copycat killing of Michael Price, in Featherbank, nearly beheaded by Elliot Hick and Robbie Foster, aided by an online user posting as CC666, possibly the missing Charlie, with inside knowledge of the original murder. The investigation has Amanda going to Gritten, where Paul, now a university lecturer, has returned, his elderly, dementia suffering mother whom he has not seen in all these years, suffered a fall and is dying. His mother's initial comments, informing him it is in the house, bring back his haunted memories of the past. Despite his desire to be free of the past, he is unable to escape, meeting his old friend, Jenny Chambers again, perhaps the time has come for him to confront what happened all those years ago? In a narrative where further murders occur, red hands are everywhere, there are ghosts, and dangers that refuse to subside in the present. North writes a beautifully creepy and compulsive novel that immediately captured my attention with the oodles of tension and suspense. I loved the fascinating look at lucid dreaming initiated among the boys by Charlie, a charismatic, self assured and menacing teenager. Whilst this was a brilliant read, I did feel that North crammed too much into the novel, resulting in confusion, reducing the clarity and impact of the main storyline. Nevertheless, this was an entertaining and riveting read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Holy shit!! Boom! Bitch ass bullies!! And zee creepy hands. Muahahaha... Red hands, red hands, red hands everywhere— Well, it got me for awhile and then it pissed me off. I liked how the ending tied up nicely. But, like I said, a few parts got to me and pissed me off. AND NO, DON’T ASK Anyhoo, on to the next! 😘 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... Holy shit!! Boom! Bitch ass bullies!! And zee creepy hands. Muahahaha... Red hands, red hands, red hands everywhere— Well, it got me for awhile and then it pissed me off. I liked how the ending tied up nicely. But, like I said, a few parts got to me and pissed me off. AND NO, DON’T ASK Anyhoo, on to the next! 😘 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....

  18. 4 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks

    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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    No, nope, nein, non ... This time Mr North disappointed me a little. Hard to explain why but the story was not as captivating as I had hoped it to be. While reading, I felt tired and was perfectly able to put The Shadows down. On the whole, the idea is interesting, but the execution well below my expectations. I know I am one of very few who did not enjoy this book, but I always encourage readers to have a go and give a book a chance. A library copy - OverDrive

  20. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    This had all the elements of an atmospheric, chilling read: the long-ago brutal murder of a child, copycat murders in the present, spooky woods (The Shadows), and bloody hand prints left as a calling card. Unfortunately, atmosphere was missing and I didn’t find it chilling, or even interesting. I found the concept of lucid dreams where the dreamer is consciously aware of dreaming and can control others to the point where they experience the same dream far-fetched and utterly ridiculous. The alter This had all the elements of an atmospheric, chilling read: the long-ago brutal murder of a child, copycat murders in the present, spooky woods (The Shadows), and bloody hand prints left as a calling card. Unfortunately, atmosphere was missing and I didn’t find it chilling, or even interesting. I found the concept of lucid dreams where the dreamer is consciously aware of dreaming and can control others to the point where they experience the same dream far-fetched and utterly ridiculous. The alternating time lines and large cast of characters took concentration to keep it all straight. I was bored, struggled to focus, and had no trouble putting the book aside. It failed even as a murder mystery with a dull police investigation. I said this about the author’s previous book, The Whisper Man: “All in all, this was just an ok read. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t the scary, gripping thriller I was expecting. I was neither creeped out nor felt chills while reading.” I felt the same about this book, but liked it even less. The story limped along to a disappointing ending. There was one major surprise but it was too little, too late and came out of nowhere. This book wasn’t for me but I suggest looking at other reviews. • I received an audio copy of the book via NetGalley. The narrators were very good.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    A Juicy Premise that left a little to Be Desired! The Present: Here we return to Featherbank with Detective Amanda Beck who you may remember from “The Whisper Man.” The Scene: The Murder of Michael Price by Elliot Hick and Robbie Foster and red hand prints, lots of them. The Investigation appears to be a copycat killing. It leads Amanda to Gritten, home of Paul Adams, who has returned to Gritten to be with his mother who has Dementia. The Past: 25 years ago the first murder took place, involv A Juicy Premise that left a little to Be Desired! The Present: Here we return to Featherbank with Detective Amanda Beck who you may remember from “The Whisper Man.” The Scene: The Murder of Michael Price by Elliot Hick and Robbie Foster and red hand prints, lots of them. The Investigation appears to be a copycat killing. It leads Amanda to Gritten, home of Paul Adams, who has returned to Gritten to be with his mother who has Dementia. The Past: 25 years ago the first murder took place, involving Pau Adam’s friends and a murder scene: Red Hand prints lots of red hand prints. At the time, the murderer, Charlie Crabtree got away, disappearing without a trace. Paul’s mother is insistent that he investigate on his own, that there is something in their house - which leads to dreams, which lead to questions, all of which haunt Paul and terrify him more than he’d like to admit. They are in fact the reason he has stayed away from Gritten for as long as he could remember. Gritten Woods is gloomy and atmospheric. It’s dark and foreboding and yet, never once was I scared holding my breath, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. In my opinion,“The Shadows” held such promise and yet somehow, it simply didn’t quite deliver. I was left wanting and waiting. Much of the time, while reading and listening to this, I was bored waiting for the plot to pick up the pace and give me something meaty to bite into like Alex North’s “The Whisper Man” which I absolutely loved. I am however only one reviewer thus I highly suggest reading other reviews as this may be the case of my being the wrong reader for this book. Thank you to NetGalley, Celadon Books, MacMillan Audio and Alex North for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 8.5.20. Excerpt to be published on Insta.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This book is more horror than mystery. It reminded me right off the bat of a Stephen King novel. It’s creepy in the extreme. Twenty five years ago, Paul Adams lost three of his friends. Two of them kill the third. One of the killers goes missing and is still missing all these years later. In the present day, Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another in a line of copycat murders. And Paul is back home as his mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is dying from cancer. It takes a while for the p This book is more horror than mystery. It reminded me right off the bat of a Stephen King novel. It’s creepy in the extreme. Twenty five years ago, Paul Adams lost three of his friends. Two of them kill the third. One of the killers goes missing and is still missing all these years later. In the present day, Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another in a line of copycat murders. And Paul is back home as his mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is dying from cancer. It takes a while for the pace of the book to pick up. But once it does, it never drops off again. There were multiple twists I never saw coming. In fact, the one problem with the audiobook was my inability to easily go back and review certain sections, because North totally bamboozled me. This audiobook has two different narrators. I found John Heffernan, who handles Paul’s sections, did a much better job than Hannah Arterton, who handles Amanda’s. But then Paul’s segments were much spookier and emotive. My thanks to netgalley and Macmillan Audio for this audiobook.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    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

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Not quite as creepy as his first, but creepy enough for me. Schoolyards and bullying sets the stage in this one. What happens as a result of this is what Paul is remembering when he returns home to his dying mother after a long absence. A horrific murder in his school days which is seems that someone is once again bringing it to his attention. Detective Amanda Beck from this authors previous book, is the investigator. Dreams and lucid dreams, do you believe in them or not? Can one manage to a 3.5 Not quite as creepy as his first, but creepy enough for me. Schoolyards and bullying sets the stage in this one. What happens as a result of this is what Paul is remembering when he returns home to his dying mother after a long absence. A horrific murder in his school days which is seems that someone is once again bringing it to his attention. Detective Amanda Beck from this authors previous book, is the investigator. Dreams and lucid dreams, do you believe in them or not? Can one manage to act in these dreams, become a watcher or participant? Never really thought of it before but after reading this, it is a question I have pondered. There were a few zingers, unexpected revelations within, that took me off guard. I like his distinctive covers and he does tell a good story. As long as it stays just a story. ARC from Edelweiss and Celadon Books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    *Now available!* 3.5 complicated stars This 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 *Now available!* 3.5 complicated stars This 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Following a book as successful as The Whisper Man must be a tough call but Alex North has done a fine job. The novel started with a powerful punch as we learn of two similar and very bloody murders in two different time lines. The earliest victim is horrifically murdered by Charlie Crabtree and Billy Roberts which we learn after Roberts appears the following day with a blood stained knife and confesses. Charlie disappears and a legend grows around him in Gritten. Twenty five years later Michael Following a book as successful as The Whisper Man must be a tough call but Alex North has done a fine job. The novel started with a powerful punch as we learn of two similar and very bloody murders in two different time lines. The earliest victim is horrifically murdered by Charlie Crabtree and Billy Roberts which we learn after Roberts appears the following day with a blood stained knife and confesses. Charlie disappears and a legend grows around him in Gritten. Twenty five years later Michael Price is stabbed and mutilated and his body surrounded by bloody hand prints. Elliot Hick and Robbie Foster confess. The story is partly told by Paul Adams who had been friends with the first victim and from the point of view of Detective Amanda Beck who features in Whisper Man and I like that we have a repeat character. I read most of this book with my eyes out in stalks (attractive) and my mouth open (doubly attractive) with the odd exclamation at dramatic moments. In places it is very scary and there are many very visual and extremely breathtaking events. There is a very strong sense of place with some excellent descriptions. The murders take place in Gritten which is a run down, full of misery, on its knees former industrial town which is spiralling downwards economically. It is surrounded by Gritten Woods and it’s here the atmosphere is especially malevolent, it has a Grimm’s fairytale quality, it’s full of dread and foreboding and this is the place where the title of the book comes from. The characters are strong too especially Charlie Crabtree who is scary, provocative, calm, very dominant and powerful. I really like the illusory power of dreams that Charlie creates and the author conveys a nightmarish, dream like quality in the writing. Revelation piles on revelation, one literally took my breath away as it is so unexpected and weird event upon even weirder in this well written and powerful story. I like the way that Paul unlocks the mysteries surrounding Charlie and the end takes us in an unexpected direction. Overall, I loved most enjoyed of the book, however, although I like the end I don’t love it and it isn’t as dramatic as I expected. That being said it’s still a terrific book and one I have no hesitation in recommending. I have been going backwards and forwards between 4 and 5 stars but because the book is so original and the overwhelming majority is outstanding I’ve settled at five!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Unfortunately I am the odd man out on this one as I really did not enjoy this book :( I can appreciate that it was well written and that the two story-lines were woven together excellently, but I still just did not care at all about anything that was happening. I was never really pulled into the overall mystery and I didn't particularly care for either of the main character's perspectives. Even though this one didn't super work for me, I do think that the audiobook did a great job of capturing t Unfortunately I am the odd man out on this one as I really did not enjoy this book :( I can appreciate that it was well written and that the two story-lines were woven together excellently, but I still just did not care at all about anything that was happening. I was never really pulled into the overall mystery and I didn't particularly care for either of the main character's perspectives. Even though this one didn't super work for me, I do think that the audiobook did a great job of capturing the spooky vibes of the story and I think that if this book interests you, I would recommend checking it out that way!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    On the day it began, Detective Amanda Beck was showering and making coffee, at the same time that a little boy was being killed, but nobody knew it yet. Hundreds of blood-red handprints pressed carefully against the stone. This time, the Victim is Michael Price. The latest sacrifice to Mister Red Hands, a "Myth" who haunts the woods, known as "The Shadows". 25 years Ago, Ring Leader Charlie Crabtree, had his friends, Billy Roberts, James Dawson, and Paul Adams believing in the Myth. He insisted t On the day it began, Detective Amanda Beck was showering and making coffee, at the same time that a little boy was being killed, but nobody knew it yet. Hundreds of blood-red handprints pressed carefully against the stone. This time, the Victim is Michael Price. The latest sacrifice to Mister Red Hands, a "Myth" who haunts the woods, known as "The Shadows". 25 years Ago, Ring Leader Charlie Crabtree, had his friends, Billy Roberts, James Dawson, and Paul Adams believing in the Myth. He insisted that they keep dream diaries, where they would learn the art of Lucid Dreaming-becoming aware of when you were dreaming so that you could take control of the narrative and influence the outcome. Like when, in their dream state they kill their teacher's dog, as practice for the sacrifice they will have to make to "Mister Red Hands"(thankfully you are told this but it is not described). The ultimate success is to be able to disappear into this World, and only Charlie has done that. Little boys continue to try to emulate him to this day. Paul Adams, left the area, after being cleared of the murder of Charlie's human sacrifice. Forced to return, to Gritten Woods, with his mother in hospice, he is drawn into the current day crime investigation because of his involvement with the one in the past. Clearly this is a complex tale which alternates from the Present to the Past as the author sets things up, and it unfolds slowly. I alternated reading this with listening to the audible, with its two fantastic narrators, and what always surprises me are the words that catch your attention because of the inflection of a narrator's voice, which may have been missed, had I only been reading this. If you have not tried Audible for awhile, they have greatly improved from the days when one narrator had to voice ALL of the characters. Now, narrators alternate along with the changing POV's, enhancing the experience. Despite the story, I did NOT really feel the sense of foreboding or tension which I expected to. BUT I am rating this 4 stars, because in a year of thrillers filled with abusive husbands and missing children, this was 100% unique, and it did keep me intrigued throughout. While I did not enjoy it as much as “The Whisper Man” (5 ⭐️ for me)-I did enjoy it more than I expected to after reading many mixed reviews. And, it DID manage to SURPRISE me, a FEW times as well! I look forward to seeing what Alex North dreams up next!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    M. Night Shyamalan approves! 3.5 to 4 stars. This was an easy thriller to get into and it went quickly! I blinked and it was over. So, if you want a decent thriller but don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a large book, this one should fly by! Also, if you are a fan of North’s previous book, The Whisper Man, you will likely enjoy this one. One thing that could be an issue is how you feel about time jumping in a book. This one does have a lot of time jumping and at times it can be difficult to r M. Night Shyamalan approves! 3.5 to 4 stars. This was an easy thriller to get into and it went quickly! I blinked and it was over. So, if you want a decent thriller but don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a large book, this one should fly by! Also, if you are a fan of North’s previous book, The Whisper Man, you will likely enjoy this one. One thing that could be an issue is how you feel about time jumping in a book. This one does have a lot of time jumping and at times it can be difficult to remember if you are in the “now” or in the “then”. Because of this I did have to back up a few times to see if I had the time frame correct. If time jumping bugs you or you have issues keeping timeframes straight, this could be an annoying book for you. In summary – a decent thriller, nothing too out of the ordinary from a lot of standard thrillers released recently. Gets a bit twisty, so that is kind of cool. Time jumping could be an issue. I do recommend if you like North’s other work and some of the other recent releases in this genre. But, it could also feel a bit repetitious.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    Charlie Crabtree. The name alone sounds macabre. 25 years ago, the teenager committed a heinous crime and then disappeared. Now, Paul Adams, who hung out with Charlie back in the day and is well aware of the murder he committed, is back in town to visit his dying mother. After a very similar murder occurs in a nearby town, Paul realizes that there have been other similar ones over the years. Is it a copycat killer? Or is Charlie Crabtree still out there? All I kept hearing about this book is that Charlie Crabtree. The name alone sounds macabre. 25 years ago, the teenager committed a heinous crime and then disappeared. Now, Paul Adams, who hung out with Charlie back in the day and is well aware of the murder he committed, is back in town to visit his dying mother. After a very similar murder occurs in a nearby town, Paul realizes that there have been other similar ones over the years. Is it a copycat killer? Or is Charlie Crabtree still out there? All I kept hearing about this book is that it wasn’t as good as author Alex North’s THE WHISPER MAN, which is true. However, I found myself really enjoying it. THE SHADOWS is suspenseful, has intriguing past/present storylines, and definitely has some twists that I wasn’t expecting. The one thing missing is the scare factor. While the storyline is dark and disturbing, I would have liked a few legitimately creeptastic moments (which THE WHISPER MAN has). The writing is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what the author puts out next.

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