Book Review: The Shadows by Alex North

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It’s been twenty-five years since the brutal-beyond-belief slaying of a teenager rocked the bucolic town of Gritten. Haunted by the memory of what happened to his friend decades before, Paul Adams has stayed as far from his childhood home as possible, not returning even once to visit his ailing mother. When she takes a turn for the worst, however, Paul can no longer postpone the inevitable and makes his way back to the scene of a crime now infamous the country over. When his visit coincides with another local killing – one that is eerily similar to the one in Gritton – Paul must confront more than the demons of his own past, the many reasons he chose never to return to The Shadows, and the boy responsible for ruining everything. “Charlie.” he thought. “We have to do something about Charlie.”

“After what happened it felt like there was only one story that would ever matter and I don’t think I’ve ever had the words to write about that... It’s not a story that has an ending.”

“Not yet.”

Paul Adams, The Shadows

📒📒 (Two stars as rated in a notebook that is “in the house, Paul!”)

This book was recommended to me awhile back (for whatever reason I can no longer remember) and I recently decided to do a buddy listen of it with my friend, Katie. (Thanks for toughing this one out with me, friend!) The first third of the story was completely engrossing to me. I honestly couldn’t step away. I loved the uniquely supernatural elements that North chose to weave into a crime that was otherwise fairly ordinary. Around the middle of the book, though, I think the plot loses a lot of its direction. It’s almost tragic. I barely made it over the finish line with this one and could probably have not even read the last few chapters and felt similarly satisfied. Or unsatisfied, rather? I can’t decide. There are one or two twists near 75% that I wasn’t expecting. But I’m not entirely sure if this was because I wasn’t given enough information up front to have assembled the pieces or simply that I had so long since stopped paying attention to the story that I missed the clues altogether. In any case this was an easy enough book to listen to and I enjoyed the narration quite a bit. If you need something to pass a road trip or plane ride and tend to like British procedurals, Stephen King or James Patterson then you probably won’t hate this. No shade intended. Read what you like, fam! I just didn’t particularly care for this.

“But everything is okay until it isn’t. People are there, large as life and taken for granted, and then they aren’t.”

Amanda Beck, The Shadows
Sarah’s rating for the audiobook version of  The Shadows

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book at a glance

🎲 Plot Twists
👁️ Multiple POV
💀 Dark Content
🔎 Mystery /Thriller

✨ Rep in this book: n/a

✨ Content warnings for this book: bullying, violence, blood, murder, death, mental health, medical stuff, death of a parent, death of a loved one, grief

Recommended for fans of:

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

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In The Woods by Tana French

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IT by Stephen King

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Image Description: A flat lay featuring the audio book version of The Shadows by Alex North as seen on the screen of a Samsung phone. The phone rests on a piece of newsprint. Green leaves stretch into the frame on the right side. There is a frothy matcha drink in a mug near the top. The whole scene is drenched in shadows.
Buy The Shadows:
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about the author

Alex North

Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North’s own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with “the boy in the floor.” Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name. (Borrowed from Goodreads.)

about the narrator

Hannah Arterton

Hannah Jane Arterton is an English actress. She was born in Gravesend, Kent. Arterton attended Gravesend Grammar School for Girls and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2011. She has most notably appeared in the television series The Five and Safe, and in the film Walking on Sunshine. (Wikipedia)

Other books narrated by Hannah ArtertonThis Time Next Year, Wild Cities

John Heffernon

John was born in Billericay in Essex in 1981 to a couple of teachers, one of four brothers. He became interested in theatre as a young boy watching The Animated Shakespeare Tales on television and, when his parents separated and he moved with his mother to a village near to Stratford-on-Avon he spent his teen-age years watching productions of Shakespeare. After a three year university course he enrolled at the Webber Douglas Drama school in London, also taking on work experience as an usher at the Royal Shakespeare Company and, having graduated, he played walk-on roles with the company, being on stage for the RST Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival. His subsequent stage career includes appearing with the English Touring Theatre’s ‘Hamlet’, in the National Theatre’s ‘Major Barbara’. earning him third place at the Ian Charleson Awards for Most Promising Young Actor and in the black comedy ‘The Physicists’ at the Donmar Warehouse. before playing the title roles in ‘Edward II’ for the National Theatre in 2013 and in 2015 ‘Oppenheimer’ for the R.S.C. and Macbeth for the Young Vic. Having made his television debut in 2006, he has, during the 2010s, become an increasingly familiar face in either sinister roles (‘Luther’ as a killer). period pieces (‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’, ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’ and lawyer Jaggers in ‘Dickensian’) or both (‘Ripper Street’.)

Other books narrated by John HeffernonThe Faithful Spy

A happy Thursday, everyone!


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Published by Sarah

My name is Sarah and I can't imagine my life without books. Actually, I can and it's terrible. I'm also into climbing, video games and bothering the nearest cat.

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