The Shadow Friend is the second book by author Alex North. His first, The Whisper Man, was a really really excellent read, so I was so thrilled to get an early copy of North’s next offering. I wasn’t disappointed, and this one was another 5 star read!
The Shadow Friend follows Paul, a 40 year old ex resident of Gritten Wood, a small forgotten town on the outskirts of everywhere else, and his return to his hometown to visit his dying mother. Gritten Wood is close to Featherbank, where North’s first novel is set, and the crossover between the two is the detective Amanda Beck.
Amanda is investigating the murder of a local boy, which has similarities with a murder 25 years ago involving Paul and some of his friends.
There isn’t much more I can say about the plot that wouldn’t give it away and this is such a thrilling book, that you really don’t want spoilers.
I read this over a week and it only took me that long because I had to read it in the day, as I couldn’t read it when I went to bed as it was just so creepy! I don’t get creeped out by books often, and I can’t even tell you exactly what was so scary about this book. But I just couldn’t read it right before I went to sleep!
The story explores lucid dreams and ‘incubation’. I’d never heard of these before, and I don’t think I’ll look into them further either. The descriptions in this book of the dream state and the things that can happen, was interesting and chilling.
Alex North writes really well, his narrative is flowing and descriptive. You feel as though you are there with the characters in those creepy woods behind Paul’s house – The Shadows. You can feel his apprehension and disappointment at Charlie’s increasing hold over James and what that means for their friendship.
I enjoyed reading this one so much, and I’m really glad I read it quite soon after The Whisper Man. I liked that the stories had the Featherbank link and that Amanda Beck was a character in this one too. When reading The Whisper Man, you don’t necessarily feel that she will be a focus going forward, but I’m glad she was.
I would recommend this to thriller and horror fans. The plot was quite complex, but once you got your head around it, it was really clever. Definitely give this one a go when it comes out in July 2020.
(Thanks to NetGalley and the author for an early copy of this book.)