Wow. I’m still reeling and trying to process what just happened at the end. This is a book that keeps on giving right until the last page, and it doesn’t use any ridiculous tricks to deceive and artificially heighten the tension either.
The first unusual aspect of this book I noticed was the setting. As The Crime Vault told me on Twitter: it’s tricky. It seems like it’s set in Europe. But then there are a few Americanisms tossed in here and there, infrequently enough that they catch you by surprise, making you wonder what kind of Europe it’s set in. Certainly, not the kind we here in Canada would imagine, I wouldn’t think. The character names are all over the map, and so they give no hint either. I think the effect is that this could happen anywhere. Don’t feel comfortable.
And, in fact, this is not a book to read at night — not because it’s creepy but because it plays with your mind and incites dreams. Not good. Well, good for the writer, meaning he’s pulled you right into his story.
The characters are well drawn and come to life. The plot is convoluted as hell, although I think if I read The Whisperer again, I would probably find it is deceptively simple. To help the reader yet hinder you as well, the author uses some familiar formulaic devices mystery writers oftentimes use, but he turns them inside out. You think you’re reading one thing. But you’re not.
At the end of the book, two themes come to their end. One is obvious and is the mystery. The other grows from nothingness to completely dominate the end. And that’s what ends up going round and round in your mind. It’s a cleverly constructed and well-thought-out book. I can see why it was a hit.
This is the second of ten books I won from The Crime Vault in a Twitter contest. The first one I read was Nothing But Trouble.