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The Whisper Man

Written by: Alex North
Narrated by: Christopher Eccleston
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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Whisper Man, by Alex North, read by Christopher Eccleston.

If you leave the door half open, you will hear the whispers spoken....

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son, Jake, move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as 'The Whisper Man'.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another young boy has gone missing, stirring up rumours that the original killer was always known to have an accomplice. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window.... 

©2018 Alex North (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The best crime novel of the decade." (Steve Cavanagh)

"Terrifying and utterly heartbreaking." (Mark Billingham)

"A dark, creepy, thriller with a huge amount of heart." (Stuart MacBride)

What listeners say about The Whisper Man

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Thriller Novel with Paranormal, Mental Illness, Se

The gist of words that describe this Thriller Novel written by Alex North Would be paranormal, mental illness, serial killing, the relationship between a father and son, and, most importantly, the role of a father they argue with their son.

The whisperman waited long in my kindle shelf, reasons even I am not known to them. As the title and the beginning of the plot's first few chapters were nothing but mundane, the story starts reshaping when you start becoming comfortable with the level you do not want to hear.

Right from the start, you believe that the child Jake is somewhat unique, and this thriller is not going to him in any which way. All the characters that the writer has made alive are proper and required except Amanda's character in the last few chapters, which I felt was not necessary to go into that deep.

This is a thriller where you do not find one character who becomes your favorite character, which I found quite strange. Though some of the lines and sentences that the author has written are special, it is crucial to love even when we argue, especially when we argue. This gives a special message to the readers who live in this century where argument turns into a fight in an instant where we are always surrounded by social media and messaging apps.

The most peculiar thing I liked about this book is how the writer has defined the role of the father through the loss of a mother. This is the real bookmark of the The Whisperman.

For the paranormal fans, yes, there are many elements of the supernatural that the author has attempted, but they remain unconcluded till the end of the story. They are open-ended.

The book is quite a one time read for a lazy Sunday; I would recommend reading via an audio reader with a reading speed of 1.1x. As the initial story takes to build.

Overall I would rate it 3.5 from 5.

Thanks.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story! terrible narration

The story was great but the narration is unbearable. Hope penguin gets their act straight

1 person found this helpful

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The boy in the ground

“That’s what things do. Even in the toughest of circumstances, they keep living.”

My recent foray into the world of audiobooks led me to ask myself the question - how awesome would it be to listen to a really great thriller with a fantastic narrator at the helm?

I am glad to say that my curiosity bore fruit - and I had a great time with Alex North's 'The Whisper Man' narrated by Christopher Eccleston.

The premise of the book is not ground breaking, but is definitely one that is sufficient enough to keep you hooked. Tom Kennedy and his son, Jake, move to a new house in the little town of Featherbank, only to get embroiled in a high profile criminal case that involves a child abductor who goes by the name of 'The Whisper Man'. The resurgence of this criminal also brings back to the fold, the same detective who captured the original Whisper Man, Detective Pete Willis.

I love this book and the themes it explores. North does a great job of building up the tension surrounding the identity of the abductor, and explores pertinent themes of single parenthood, coping with the loss of loved ones, and the ramifications of child abuse. The author goes to great lengths to lay out the complex relationship between Tom and Jake with a pristine attention to fine details and nuances.

There are some notable plot twists by the halfway mark, and a substantial lack of them towards the end. It felt like the last few chapters of the book followed the usual thriller tropes, and I would have liked to see the author explore with a bolder climax.

Overall, this is a very good thriller novel that stick to the genre's tropes, but at the same time, meticulously crafts out its' main characters with love and care. By the end of it, you can't help but root for the father-son duo of Tom and Jake Kennedy.

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  • Simon
  • 15-06-19

A Long Way North of Good!

This is an excellent debut from Alex North. Dripping with atmosphere and suspense rather than being an action thriller it's one to chill the bones just slightly on the warmest day. A single father trying his damndest to bring up his socially-awkward son living in a small town previously ravaged by a serial killer called the Whisper Man. A sinister predator who whispered to his victims from outside their bedroom windows to entice them before pouncing . . . '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.' Has the Whisper Man returned or is something new and equally dangerous on the loose?

It's really good stuff and the characters feel very well fleshed out with the story being delivered from multiple points of view which each ring true to their nature. Possibly most impressive of all was the voice of young Jake with his (imagined?) friend. Quite often I find when authors try to write children's thoughts they come across as poorly thought out but North's writing of Jake struck good chords with me.

I was looking forward to Chris Ecclestone as a narrator and he didn't disappoint though I would say that for those looking for a genuine performance with lots of varied character voices you won't find it here. He doesn't have that range but what you do get is a very decent reading in a voice that I liked so I was happy with that.

As an overall package, this is genuinely decent though and if you like thrillers that aren't too action-packed but do generate tension and some atmosphere then this could well be a decent choice.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Mark B.
  • 30-07-19

I’m amazed that ppl liked this

As soon as I saw the Narrator was Christopher Ecclestone and read the introduction I purchased without hesitation. 10 minutes in I was thinking “ was C.E forced to read this at gun point??” Honestly I could have done a better job. Really disappointed. Stick to TV mr Ecclestone!

18 people found this helpful

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  • SandraL
  • 21-06-19

Stunning

I don't know who the mysterious Alex North is, but bloody hell he can spin a good tale!

The children's rhyme sets the tone of the book. It scared me to death!

'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.'

Indeed the book is incredibly creepy and tense and I was hooked right from the start. The book is so beautifully written, without a wasted word. I loved the characters of Tom, who really wanted to be a good father but often failed, and Jake, the lonely child who had an imaginary friend. I just wanted to hug him. In fact all the characters were well fleshed out and felt real.

I listened to the Audible version and was a little underwhelmed by Christopher Eccleston's narration. I do like his voice, but it was a straightforward read-through of the book with no effort to distinguish between the different voices. Shame because he is a superb actor.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Melanie Preston Lewis
  • 19-06-19

First class

Well, Alex North, whoever he really is, has a hit on his hands with The Whisper Man. I listened to all 9 hours and 41 minutes in 2 sessions, and I only took a break because I absolutely had to get some sleep. The story draws you in from the very beginning, Tom and Jake are beautifully drawn characters. Their grief is so eloquently described it's almost tangible. I became hugely invested in their efforts to move on, willing them to succeed with every fibre of my being. The story around The Whisper Man is dark, chilling and terrifying and is so full of evil that the juxtaposition between that, and the obvious love between Tom and Jake is even more stark. Our police officers are human beings and their roles in this story are set perfectly. The denouement is startling and credible. Narrated by Christopher Eccleston this is a perfect package, which I highly recommend to all. Can't wait for more from the mysterious Mr North

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jill
  • 08-06-20

dire narrative

monotone throughout.
did the narrator read this through first? if he did he needs to learn how to read. good story just awful narration. spoiled the story!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Steve R
  • 26-05-20

What a shame

This is generally a good story. It worked for me and I listened to it almost continuously. Now the bad part. I love Christopher Ecclestone, he is one of my favourite actors, but he phoned it in with this reading. He was obviously bored stiff reading it. There was precious little inflection and his monotone voice made for hard listening. The way he switched from characters made it difficult to work out when one voice changed to another. Sorry Christopher, but you dropped the ball with this one.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-06-19

A heart stopping roller coaster

This was a brilliant book that I was consciously drawing out (as I didn’t want it to end) whilst devouring the next bit because couldn’t stop listening. You knew every character inside and out - they were so beautifully detailed and delivered. This was genuinely the best book I’ve listened to in a while

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mandy Dockery
  • 30-07-19

One of best best books I've ever listened to!

High praise for Alex North for this amazing book! It's gritty, but not gratuitous, leaving your own imagination to do the work.
This author has huge success ahead and I am now a huge fan!
The Narrator as we all know, can make or break a book, but he gets 5 stars too for the energy he brings to every written word.

4 people found this helpful

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  • claire
  • 27-04-20

Disappointing...

I was really looking forward to this after looking at the reviews but was disappointed. I didn't find the story very gripping compared to other thrillers I have listened to and the narration was so monotone that at times I was confused about which character was speaking.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr P.
  • 02-04-20

Narration really let's it down.

I'm afraid I have to echo the common theme of the reviews. The story is pretty good as thrillers go, and with decent narration this could be a 4 or 5 star review.

I just can't believe anyone has listened to Eccleston's narration and thought it was acceptable. It sounds like my kid reading to me at bedtime. Monotone, drab and worst of all the pacing. He's so bad at it, the scenes that would build tension just fall flat. Almost like he finishes one characters dialogue and immediately starts the next line of dialogue, no pauses or dare I say it, acting. So so so bad.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-06-19

I can not wait for the movie!!!

This book certainly deserves a movie all it's own.

The character arcs in this book were so heart felt and real I could feel all the emotion that went into writing this.

At the beginning you expect it to be a standard crime book but let me tell you this book will knock you off your feet!

There are times I got literal goosebumps reading on my couch at night not knowing what was going to be on the next page.

You begin to feel the terror and despair as you follow the story as it begins to unfold in a way you can not predict.

The Whisper Man touches not only on child abduction and the type of person it takes to steal and kill a child, but also explores how sometimes as adults we just aren't the best at really LISTENING to children.

Just because they are young doesn't mean what they have to say doesn't carry any weight. Imaginary friends can be disguised as true secrets waiting to be uncovered.

It will really make you look between the lines in your own life and challenge you.

The Whisper Man is reminiscent of Hannibal, with a killer so enigmatic and the back and forth banter between the police and the alleged killer is delicious!

I don't want to spoil this for anyone so all I'll say is, if you want a book that intricately weaves complicated relationships, secrets and childhood terror into a 'book that you literally can't put down', you need to read this!



7 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 11-10-20

Like it was written by a high school student.

This was possibly one of the worst things I've ever read. All of the characters are so indistinct, they all speak similarly and if the book didn't say "I said" "she said" "he said" there would be no contextual clues about who anyone is. They all have the same dreary, depressed personality, similar thought processes and similar vocabulary. The least diverse group of characters I've heard of in a book before. And speaking of, this guy cannot write a child to save his life. They chucked in some weak line early on like "my wife and I always talked to him like an adult" and apparently that's enough excuse to just write the child as a clone of every other character in the book, as long as you chuck the word "daddy" in six million times. The overall plot was dry, and what sounded like a mysterious, almost supernatural predator hunting down children in the blurb was just a bland serial killer. Aspects of how people heard the killer whispering despite being on the second floor were never addressed at all, and somehow after multiple children are kidnapped from their own homes, people are STILL happy to leave their doors unlocked. There's suspending your disbelief, and then there's a town that put up neon signs saying "hey, come get my kid, the door's wide open!" Characters were introduced, immediately made the most suspicious person, then speedily cleared of all suspicion in a matter of chapters. While some novels make you guess the whole way by making characters seem to have different motives or suspicious actions, this one has characters basically rock up at the front door, say "hi, I am probably a serial killer, can I come in?" and then 2 chapters later never be heard from again. Eccleston's performance was far from enjoyable. I know the text he was given wasn't exactly great, but even he sounded bored reading it. And the cloned personalities of all the characters really wasn't helped by his endless monotone and lack of the slightest variation between characters. Particularly annoying in a novel where the perspective changes every 5 minutes. (Not an exaggeration) Also, making the main character a writer that is so painfully, obviously based on yourself is tacky, and the little bit of writing he did at the ending basically made me smash my face into my desk with how predictable and cringey it was.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Leah
  • 01-07-19

hard to read

The performance was good but overall the story lacked thrill and excitement. I found it hard to finish the book.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim Houston
  • 29-02-20

great narrator but story....hmmm.

i bought this on advice. unfortunately even though i really enjoy the narrator i find the story trite.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • john Farrell
  • 20-07-19

Great Story, very well read

I really enjoyed the story line, its twists and the many layers as the plot developed. I particularly enjoyed the way it was read. It's no nonsense delivery was refreshing and not someone trying to "act" each character which can be very annoying if not done properly. it's a big thumbs up from me.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle Mason
  • 03-01-23

An excellent story that had me enthralled from the beginning.

This story is about evil, heartbreak and love. There are so many emotions within. Unpredictable twists and turns, ending in the depth of a parent’s love.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela Bull
  • 18-12-22

A great crime thriller

I really enjoyed this book. It had views from several different characters, with the timelines and characters interweaving as the story went on. I have already started the next book by Alex North. The narrator was a bit monotone, but easy enough to follow.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Antonella Rebello
  • 17-06-22

Emotional Pull n Generational Trauma

The emotional connection formed with the character's brought me to tears at one point, It's a dark book but beautiful in its own right, told in the perspectives of multiple chatacters, I found the journey more enjoyable than the ending which left me wanting more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathy Chapman
  • 18-03-22

A good, slightly creepy thriller

A few unlikely coincidences and plot twists that stretch things a little beyond belief but despite this I throughly enjoyed this classic thriller.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andie B
  • 13-06-21

Great book - Awful narration

The book would have been way more enjoyable and gripping, if the narrator had any emotion in his voice. His narration was so flat that at times when there was more than one person speaking it was hard to know who was saying what. It's the first time that a narrator has completely ruined a book for me.