Loads of Twists

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Review of The Shadows by Alex North:
25-years ago a dark and gruesome ritualistic murder at the hands of teenager, Charlie Crabtree, rocked the small town of Gritten Woods. Paul Adams, once a friend with Crabtree, has spent the last quarter of a century trying to compartmentalize and forget about the horrific events in his past but he soon discovers that doing so is impossible. Charlie Crabtree was a kid with a disturbed and sinister mind who believed that by mastering lucid dreaming and offering a sacrifice to “Red Hands” that he could disappear from the real world and live in the world of lucid dreams where he could be all-powerful and in full control. His convictions were the sole reason behind the murder. Following the murder, Crabtree disappeared without a trace. His disappearance piqued the interest of believers and occult followers. Adams is now faced with learning that there’s been another murder and even more unsettling is not knowing who is behind it. Is Charlie still alive out there pulling strings or did he really disappear into the dream world and has this one event turned into an urban legend that will trigger copycats around?

If you ever had a sleepover as a kid and tried conjuring Bloody Mary from your mirror; if you’ve tried having a seance to talk with the dead; or if you’ve been fascinated with stories of Slenderman, then this book is for you. I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I needed to know who (or what) was behind the murders. The character development was in-depth enough that I truly felt like I knew them all but I felt like it missed an opportunity to talk about Charlie’s family and his upbringing. Charlie had a sinister mind and the social worker in me kept screaming “sociopath!” The horrifying murders were detailed enough but not so detailed that I couldn’t stomach it. There were many surprising twists that I didn’t see coming but the book fell short with an anticlimactic ending. Anticlimactic but made sense. I do have questions that I think were intended to be left to be open for interpretation by the reader so I’m excited to discuss in book club at the end of the month!

Thank you @celadonbooks {#partner} for gifting me with an advanced readers copy in exchange for an independent and honest review! This book comes out tomorrow, 07/07/2020, and I suspect that it will be one of 2020’s psychological thrillers of the year.