The Shadow Friend by Alex North | An interesting thriller but not as captivating as I wanted it to be!

Ever since the release of «The Whisper Man» by Alex North last year, I’ve been very excited to read his debut thriller. Especially because it received so much positive feedback (and the cover definitely caught my attention). 

Guess what. I still haven’t read «The Whisper Man» but I was very lucky to get the ARC of Alex North’s new release – «The Shadow Friend» (or «The Shadow» as it’s called in the US). I’m so happy that I finally got to read at least one Alex North books!

If you’ve read any of his books, I’m very curious to know what you thought of his writing style. Was it easy to read? Did it captivate you? Because I definitely struggled a bit.

goodreads blurb:

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?

Thank you Netgalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.

Alright… Where should I begin? 

As excited as I was about Alex North’s book, I have to be honest, it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. And I’m sure that this time it wasn’t the case of me overhyping the book for myself. 

I loved the technique Alex North used in this book – giving us the glimpses of the past mixed with the present events. These “memories of the past” weren’t meaningless and provided some great insight into the main mystery, and in general, were very interesting to read. In fact, I think the past bits about Paul’s friendship with Charlie was my favorite part of the whole book. 

We basically followed Paul in two different timelines – the present days when he returned to his home town 20ish years after he left; and the past highschool days. I was expecting for the “present days” timeline to be more engaging, especially with multiple murders, scary woods and quiet, almost haunted, towns. But that wasn’t the case. 

The plot itself was rather engaging, in my opinion. I wasn’t head over heels for the mystery to unravel, but I still felt compelled to keep reading to find out what actually happened and who I could blame. 😀 

However, while the story reads VERY quickly [I flew through it in a couple of hours], it felt empty. There wasn’t enough content for me to (1) get attached to the characters and (2) feel thrilled about the plot. To the point that I couldn’t even remember the name of the main character without looking at the blurb. 

Because there were so many unnecessary words (i.e. fluff), it was actually difficult to stay focused on what was happening in the book. It’s very strange, but even though the writing was beautiful and easy to read, my mind kept wandering off. I constantly caught myself thinking about other things, and had to re-read passages multiple times because of that. 

This kept happening for the most part of the book. I even tried switching to a different one to see if the problem was me. But no, I can confirm that the other book didn’t fail to keep me captivated. 

My rating:

I feel very conflicted about «The Shadow Friend». On one hand, it wasn’t bad at all, and I actually liked Alex North’s writing style (except the fluff). But on the other hand, I could tell you the whole plot in a couple of sentences and there was nothing even slightly scary or creepy or even thrilling. I don’t even know what rating I should give it. 

Have you read «The Whisper Man» or «The Shadow Friend»? What did you think about them? Let’s chat below! 

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7 thoughts on “The Shadow Friend by Alex North | An interesting thriller but not as captivating as I wanted it to be!

    1. Oh no! 😀 I saw some people saying that Whisper Man was better than The Shadow Friend, so I might still give it a go, especially since I already have it on my Kindle, but my expectations are def not as high anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahah, I feel the same! I have The Whisper Man on my Kindle and my plan was to binge read them both, but yeah… I think I will try The Whisper Man anyway, many people say it was better. 😀


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