Publication: 9th July 2020 – Michael Joseph
The victim was his friend. So was the murderer.
Twenty-five years ago, troubled teenager Charlie Crabtree committed a shocking and unprovoked murder.
For Paul Adams, it’s a day he’ll never forget. He’s never forgiven himself for his part in what happened to his friend and classmate. He’s never gone back home.
But when his elderly mother has a fall, it’s finally time to stop running.
It’s not long before things start to go wrong. A copycat killer has struck, bringing back painful memories. Paul’s mother insists 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 afterwards, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…
One of my favourite novels last year was The Whisper Man, the debut novel by Alex North, so I have been really looking forward to reading his second book, The Shadow Friend, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Twenty-five years ago, the small village of Gritten was shocked by the horrific murder of a high-school student and Paul Adams, shocked and feeling guilty about the tragedy, swore he would never return home until, one day, he receives a call that informs him that his mother is dying in hospital so he has no choice but to go back and face the past. Many miles away, in the village of Featherbank, detective Amanda Beck is investigating another gruesome murder of a student. Is this connected to what happened in Gritten all those years ago?
The story is very well-written and addictive. It has supernatural elements that perfectly fits with the dark and creepy atmosphere. The tension is always high so that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading and it’s full of surprising twists, especially one that make me jump from the couch and yell “WHAT???”. The story is set in Featherbank with the reader is already familiar with if they’ve read The Whisper Man, but mostly in Gritten which the author describes as occupied by run-down houses, industrial estates, and neglected neighbourhoods and with a dull and gray air that made me feel claustrophobic.
The Shadow Friend is told from the points of views of the two protagonists. Paul and Amanda are very intricate and well-developed characters. I loved reading Paul’s flashbacks of his teen years, how he took care of his friends and wasn’t afraid to stand up to bullies and take action. Adult Paul was also an interesting and realistic character and I really felt for him. Amanda also feels authentic and relatable and I really liked her.
Alex North is a brilliant author. He creates unforgettable and chilling plots that makes it nearly impossible to put the book down. Like The Whisper Man last year, The Shadow Friend is one of my favourite books of 2020 and I am already looking forward to reading book number 3!!!
A huge thank you to Michael Joseph and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.