"This is absorbing, headlong reading, a play on classic horror with an inventiveness of its own... As with all the best illusions, you are left feeling not tricked, but full of wonder."
– The New York Times
The haunting new thriller from Alex North, author of the New York Times bestseller The Whisper Man
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 suffering from dementia, 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. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank. 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 pseudonymous North follows up his sensational debut, 2019's The Whisper Man, with another terrifying spine-tingler set in Featherbank, England. When Paul Adams was 15, his school playground was the scene of the murder of one of his friends. The alleged killer, teenager Charlie Crabtree, was another friend of Paul. Charlie disappeared and was never seen again. After going away to college, Paul doesn't return to Featherbank until, as a 40-year-old English teacher, he decides he must come home to tend to his dying mother. To his dismay, history appears to be repeating itself with a series of copycat killings of teenage boys. Det. Amanda Beck, from the previous novel, investigates as the bodies pile up and suspects accumulate. Ghosts (real and imagined) continue to haunt Paul, whose senile mother fears something strange is in the house. The complex plot shifts smoothly between past and present with numerous unexpected twists. An overwhelming atmosphere of doom and disaster hovers over the perennial darkness of the nearby woods. This heart-pounding page-turner is impossible to put down.