Title: The Shadows
Author: Alex North
Genre: Horror, Suspense
Publisher: Macmillan Audio, Celadon Books
Source: eARC, audiobook via NetGalley
Length: 326p; 9 hours, 5 min.
Publishing Date7 July 2020

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Alex North’s The Shadows. His first book, The Whisper Man, was too terrifying for me to listen to, so I was hesitant digging into The Shadows. But I was immediately sucked into the voice of the story through Paul’s narration. I could feel the sticky pub table between us as he starts to piece together what the hell he just lived through. There’s a sense of intimacy between you and the narrator, which is only made stronger by the interweaving chapters from a distanced third person showing us what the other main character is up to. But just like sitting across from someone telling a really good story, all the background pub din fades away. In these troubled times, who would’ve guessed horror could be an escape?

It should not have been left to me to deal with Charlie.

Alex North, The Shadows

The other main character, actually, is Detective Amanda Beck — someone who is familiar to those who’ve read The Whisper Man. Still rattled from her experience in The Whisper Man, Amanda’s confidence in herself as a detective is clearly shaky. It also seems like she’s competing with two ghosts: of the expectations she had for herself, and the ghost of her dead father who was also a detective. The quiet routine of normal life is disrupted, though, as she’s called to investigate the murder of a boy. Her investigation leads her to Paul, whose childhood friend Charlie Crabtree was involved in a murder twenty-five years ago whose details are eerily similar to this one.

History feels like it’s repeating itself, but with a distortion: something is just not quite right about the way things are adding up. Local legend is that Charlie Crabtree disappeared after he was involved with the first murder. And it’s little questions like these — is Charlie really gone? — and wondering what Paul is holding back (can we trust him?) that really kept me swept up in the story. After all, Paul’s own mother is telling him he shouldn’t have come back, that there are things in the woods and in the house he needs to be afraid of.

The dread rose up inside me because red hand prints were once again being pressed on the world.

Alex North, The Shadows

For fans of Tana French’s In The Woods, Alex North’s The Shadows is a captivating, atmospheric thriller with strong elements of classic horror weaved in.

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