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The Shadows by Alex North

The Shadows

Repeat author

Alex North is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Whisper Man.

by Alex North
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Quick take

Ever repeat “Bloody Mary” in the mirror three times? This is the creeptastic thriller for urban-myth-believers.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Scary


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SuburbanDrama

    Suburban drama


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 senile, 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. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. 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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Why I love it

I’ve always been fascinated by dreams: why they’re significant, whether they’re insights into our subconscious or reflections of our imagination… you name it. Which is why I was drawn to The Shadows, a book that explores the power (and potential dangers) of lucid dreaming, those rare occurrences when you’re aware that you're asleep and can exercise control over your mind.

The Shadows centers around Paul Adams, who reluctantly returns home after 25 years to aid his ailing mother. At eighteen, Paul fled his small town because of a gruesome murder enshrouded in mystery. Now, Paul is forced to confront his past and greatest fears—a sinister teen named Charlie Crabtree and a demented theory about dreams.

I had unrealistically high expectations following North’s debut, but I’m happy to share he did not disappoint. Like the ambiguous nature of lucid dreams, The Shadows teeters the line between the supernatural and natural. You’ll untangle a mystery entrenched with dark subversions, messy family dynamics, occult twists, and complicated teenage relationships. The suspense will incite you to breeze through the pages, but be prepared for some nerve-shredding moments that’ll force you to pause and quiet your heartbeat.

Be warned… if you’re like me and enjoy reading before bed, you may need to sleep with the lights on. But if you’re seeking a brief respite from the world, look no further than the enrapturing pages of The Shadows.

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