After an introductory letter from a man to his older/adult son "Jake", which answers more questions than it answers (and sets the creepy level to high with phrases like "The little girl in the strange dress", "The boy in the floor" and "Mister Night", Part One of 'The Whisper Man' pulls viewers immediately into a first-hand abduction of six-year-old loner Neil, whose stalker seems to covet him for his own treasure trove of possessions. The scene is written sparingly but with great care, giving an intimate view into both the world of the lonely boy prone to anger, and that of the man who would steal him away.
The viewpoint changes to a young boy named Jake, presumably the child referenced as more of an adult in the opening letter, and here is where author Alex North really gets into the heart and soul of the young character who will be the focus of the novel. Jake and his father are both devastated by the sudden death of Jake's mother, but Jake's manifesting it into strange drawings and sudden conversations with imaginary friends he'd never had so vividly produced before. You care for Jake, root for him, even as the story runs parallel with that of the police investigation of Neil's disappearance and detective Pete Willis's growing obsession with who done it. Sadly, this sample didn't go far enough to explain the connections listed in the synopsis, but with crisp linear writing and strong characters that don't seem like suspense novel tropes, God knows there is more than enough in these pages to leave the reader hankering for more. I NEED to know who the girl in the blue-checkered dress is, and what the heck the "boy in the floor" is - even as I am not 100% sure I want to know too much, too fast about The Whisper Man; he's already creeping me the heck out! Come ON, more please! :0)