4.5 stars for the Creepy Release, the Shadows | BookishFirst

4.5 stars for the Creepy Release, the Shadows

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In this new release from Alex North, we head back to Gritten (where The Whisper Man) took place. In this new tale, we meet a disturbing teenager named Charlie Crabtree who has a sinister smile and even more sinister motives. 25 years ago, he convinced his friends to pursue having lucid dreams where the end result is a gruesome murder and his disappearance. Which means that Charlie Crabtree has lived on in infamy himself and is a dark tale circulating around town.

We also meet present day Paul Adams who has never returned to Gritten after Charlie murdered. Once upon a time Paul considered himself friends with Charlie, but when the lucid dreams scheme was being pushed, Paul decided to distance himself. Charlie's plan almost destroyed Paul's life completely, but leaving town and never coming back allowed him to put himself back together.

However, Paul's aging mom has deteriorated quickly and Paul returns to see her and assess the situation. Once home, Paul realizes that there have been countless copycat murders over the years and that someone is still out there in The Shadows.

I enjoyed this one and was definitely surprised by one of the twists. Love how the author played with the creepiness of lucid dreams and the past and present timelines. The second half of the book had additional characters which complicated the storyline and did have me confused for a bit, but I thoroughly enjoyed this psychological thriller.

Definitely some strong trigger warnings for this including suicide, graphic murder scenes, bullying, domestic violence and mental illness.