Wednesday 7 April 2021

The Shadow Friend - Alex North

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 . . .

What did I think?

I absolutely loved The Whisper Man so I was thrilled to be invited to take part in the Tandem Collective readalong for The Shadow Friend by Alex North.  The readalong suggests that you read set parts of the book over a certain number of days but that's IMPOSSIBLE with The Shadow Friend as it's like a runaway train...once you get on, you can't get off.

The Shadow Friend explores lucid dreaming so you're never quite sure what is true and what isn't while reading.  I found myself constantly questioning whether each character was awake or dreaming and I loved that element of the book as it felt like absolutely anything could happen.  It's so very cleverly written that you unwittingly make certain assumptions along the way and we all know what happens when you assume things; it definitely made an ass of me!

I don't want to give anything away about the perfect plot so the less said the better.  The dual storyline follows Paul as a schoolboy and then as an adult, returning to the scene of the crime so to speak.  Events in the past have an element of the supernatural and I gasped out loud and jumped in shock at one point, so much so that I almost dropped the book!  It's a double whammy of intrigue as the past and present is gradually revealed, making this book impossible to put down. 

The Shadow Friend is an incredibly addictive, gripping, creepy and dark thriller that puts Alex North firmly on the map.  It's pretty creepy but it didn't creep me out as much as The Whisper Man, however, it's more cunning in its deception and had me spinning round so much that I ended up completely in the wrong direction.  It's simply brilliant; an absolute must read and highly recommended.

I received a gifted paperback as part of The Tandem Collective readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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