thriller books

Book Review: The Shadow Friend by Alex North

Book Review: The Shadow Friend by Alex NorthThe Shadow Friend by Alex North
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

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!

Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy FoleyThe Guest List by Lucy Foley
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 19th March 2020
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Set on a remote island off the Irish coast, this is one guest list no one would want to be on, just as no one would have wanted an invitation to the New Year's Eve party in Foley's previous novel, The Hunting Party . Lives unravel amid the revelry on an eerie and remote island as family and friends assemble for a glam wedding in an updated Murder on the Orient Express. Each of the principal characters has a reason to want one of their number dead, there are old secrets, and one of them is murdered.

The Guest List was a fast-paced and intriguing thriller, which was exactly what I was expecting from Lucy Foley after I read and enjoyed The Hunting Party early last year. I’m very glad that it lived up to my expectations on that front!

I was kept engaged by the mystery of what happened on the wedding night – I needed to know who had been killed and who the killer was. The fact that the book was written in first person added to the mystery, as the characters were clearly keeping things from the reader and I knew something was amiss.

That said, I think I would have preferred for the book to have been told in third person. I always struggle when thrillers are written in first, and then the author clearly goes out of their way to keep things from the reader and has the characters omit certain information. I find it quite irritating, and sometimes it can come across as lazy writing. It wasn’t a big deal with this book, as I still thought it was written really well, but I would have preferred for it not to have happened.

I loved the way Lucy Foley wrote the different points of view. There were a lot of characters in this book, but they were all very unique and distinct. She did a really good job with those.

I didn’t find any of the characters to be likeable apart from Hannah and Olivia, but to be honest they weren’t really supposed to be!

As for the twist at the end, I thought it was really well done! I liked how we were fed little bits of information that came together towards the end. I was able to put most of it together right before the big twist was revealed, and I love it when stories do that! I love being able to piece together information just as the twist is happening. It reminded me of how I felt with The Silent Patient, as I figured out the twist right at the last minute, almost along with the characters!