The Shadows, Alex North

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I dug the dual timelines and the fact that it had to have been tricky to alternate the narrative from first person to third person when weaving the past and present. It’s not complicated as other reviewers are claiming, rather it was masterful; more on that later. I can see why Paul would want to run from his past, but I think burying that kind of pain can be tricky. I love lucid dreaming, so shared lucid dreams sounds appealing, and I was curious to see if that was actually what was happening or if there was more.

We get to see Amanda, who we met in The Whisper Man, a character we’ve come to appreciate because of how skilled she is. I liked the fact that this book had nothing to do with the previous, but that she got to play a role. For someone so desperate to leave the past behind, Paul got obsessed with trying to figure out Charlie. I don’t want to say more on the “Charlie-lucid dreaming” so I don’t spoil it, but I was underwhelmed. I think it would have been near impossible to pull off, but…maybe? I was also thrown off that Paul didn’t see his mother as an actual person until he was 40. Maybe the fact he hadn’t seen her in over two decades aided in that, but I would like to think we come to that realization much sooner in our lives.

I wasn’t prepared for the big twist and never saw it coming. I want to circle back to the alternating timelines though. North writes: “Dreams are a patchwork, stitched together from the things that happen to us in our waking lives.” And the book is written along the patchwork lines. Because in each timeframe, North brings you right to the edge and then switches time, leaving you desperate to piece together the mystery. Time slowly weaved itself together while leaving you eager to have the story made whole, which made it a super thrilling read. Thank you, Celadon Books, for sending this along!

Read this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.
The Shadows is available on Amazon for $13.99.
Blurb:
You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and suffering from dementia, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

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