Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Add it: Goodreads
If it had happened to you, you would have run away too.
Twenty-five years ago, Paul's friend Charlie Crabtree brutally killed their classmate - and then vanished without a trace.
Paul's never forgiven himself for his part in what happened. He's never gone back home.
Until his elderly mother has a fall. It's finally time to stop running.
It's not long before things start to go wrong. His mother claims there's someone in the house. Paul realises someone is following him. And, in a town many miles away, a copycat killer has struck.
Which makes him wonder - what really happened to Charlie the day of the murder?
And can anyone stop it happening again?
The Shadow Friend is a slower paced thriller/mystery that managed to keep my attention thanks to the creepy atmosphere. I’d read The Whisper Man by Alex North already, but I don’t think I really got a feel for his writing style until I read The Shadow Friend.
I think Alex North’s strength is his ability to craft such a chilling atmosphere. He perfectly cultivates the creepy local legends, the disturbing teenagers, and the dark and ominous woods in this story and so when it all comes together you’re left with chills. I’ve now realised that this is my favourite thing about his books.
I spoke in my Booktube review of The Shadow Friend that I come from a small town with lots of local legends, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m able to connect with Alex North’s books so much. He perfectly incorporates local legends to his books, and turns them into something disturbing, and yet also very realistic.
The characters are what I would say are Alex North’s weakest point when it comes to writing. His characters are never very memorable, and I never get attached to them. This is often the case with thrillers for me, but it was particularly stand out here as I was loving the rest of the story apart from the characters.
I was expecting more on Charlie Crabtree, to be honest, and less on Paul and his love life. It’s fine as it is, but I would have liked to see more of Crabtree and his creepiness, and also more on Paul’s relationship with his mother if the focus had to be on him so much.
The Shadow Friend is certainly a slower paced thriller, but it’s one that I really enjoyed, and I can’t wait to see what Alex North comes out with in the future. His books are great for Halloween if you want a spine tingling mystery to keep you up!