The Whisper Man: New Excerpt

The Whisper Man

Alex North

August 20, 2019

Read our exclusive excerpt of The Whisper Man, a dark and suspenseful thriller from Alex North that weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Twenty

The man stood shivering in the darkness.

Above him, the blue-black sky was clear and speckled with stars, the night a stark, cold contrast to the heat of the day behind him. But it was not the temperature that was making him tremble. Even though he refused to think directly about what he had done that afternoon, the impact of his actions remained with him, just out of sight beneath his skin.

He had never killed before today.

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Beforehand, he had imagined he was prepared to do so, and in the moment the rage and hatred he had felt had carried him through. But the act had left him off-kilter afterward, unsure what he was feeling. He had laughed this evening, and he had cried. He had shaken with shame and self-hatred, but also rocked on the bathroom floor in confused elation. It was impossible to describe. Which made sense, he supposed. He had opened a door that could never be closed, and experienced something few others on the planet ever had or would. There was no preparation or guidebook for the journey he had embarked on. No map showing the course through it. The act of killing had left him adrift on an entirely uncharted sea of emotions.

He breathed the cool night air in slowly now, his body still singing. It was so quiet here that all he could hear was the rush of the air, as though the world were murmuring secrets in its sleep. The streetlights in the distance shone brightly, but he was so far from the light here, and standing so motionless, that someone could walk past meters away without seeing him. He would see them, though—or sense them, at least. He felt attuned to the world. And right now, in the early hours of the morning, he could tell that he was totally alone out here.

Waiting.

Full of shivers.

It was difficult now to remember how angry he had been this afternoon. At the time, the rage had simply consumed him, flaring within his chest until his whole body was twisting with the force of it, like a puppet wrenched about on its strings. His head had been so full of blinding light that perhaps he wouldn’t be able to recall what he’d done even if he tried. It felt like he had stepped outside himself for a time, and in doing so had allowed something else to emerge. If he had been a religious man, it would have been easy to imagine himself possessed by some external force. But he was not, and he knew that whatever had taken him over in those terrible minutes had come from inside.

It was gone now—or at least it had slunk back down into its cave. What had felt right at the time now brought little but a sense of guilt and failure. In Neil Spencer he had found a troubled child who needed to be rescued and cared for, and he had believed that he was the one to do so. He would help and nurture Neil. House him. Care for him.

It had never been his intention to hurt him.

And for two months, it had worked. The man had felt such peace. The boy’s presence and apparent contentment had been a balm to him. For the first time he could remember, his world had felt not only possible but right, as though some long-standing infection inside him had finally begun to heal.

But, of course, it had all been an illusion.

Neil had been lying to him all along, biding his time and only ever pretending to be happy. And finallythe man had been forced to accept that the spark of goodness he’d imagined in the boy’s eyes had never been real, just trickery and deceit. From the beginning he had been too naïve and trusting. Neil Spencer had only ever been a snake in a little boy suit, and the truth was that he had deserved exactly what happened to him today. . .

The man’s heart was beating too hard. He shook his head, then forced himself to calm down, breathing steadily again and putting such thoughts out of his mind. What had happened today was abhorrent. If, among all the other emotions, it had also brought its own strange sense of harmony and satisfaction, that was horrible and wrong and had to be fought against. He had to cling instead to the tranquility of the weeks beforehand, however false it had turned out to be. He had chosen badly—that was all. Neil had been a mistake, and that wouldn’t happen again.

The next little boy would be perfect.

Copyright © 2019 Alex North

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