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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

Excellent choice

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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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Shadows.
The Shadows


It was my mother who took me to the police station.

The officers had wanted to drive me in the back of their squad car, but she told them no. It’s the only time I can remember her losing her temper. I was fifteen years old, standing in the kitchen, flanked by two huge policemen. My mother was in the doorway. I remember her expression changing as they told her why they were there and what they wanted to talk to me about. At first she seemed confused by what she was hearing, but then her face shifted to fear as she looked at me and saw how lost and scared I was right at that moment.

And, while my mother was a small woman, something in the quiet ferocity of her voice and the strength of her posture caused both of those huge policemen to take a step back from me. On the way to the police station, I sat in the passenger seat beside my mother, feeling numb as we followed the car that was escorting us through the town.

It slowed as we reached the old playground.

“Don’t look,” my mother told me.

But I did. I saw the cordons that had been put in place. The officers lining the street, their faces grim. All the vehicles that were parked along the roadside, their lights rotating silently in the late afternoon sun. And I saw the old jungle gym. The ground beside it had always been dull and gray before, but right now I could see it was patterned in red. It all seemed so quiet and solemn, the atmosphere almost reverential.

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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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Member ratings (24,258)

  • Amanda S.

    Cedar Grove, WI

    I was not expecting the plot of this at all. There is a complex story line that was thought out really well. I loved the twists and that it kept me guessing. Overall⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️really enjoyed this read.

  • Cathy D.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Good read. Love the author . Spooky, came from left field. Would definitely recommend. Too scary for scary cats. A (spooky Dook!). (Look it up). phrase my family has used.????????????????????????????????????????

  • Kaylee R.

    Litchfield Park, AZ

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 I loved this book. It was beautifully written and so powerful. The twists were so sad and unexpected while also unsettling. The story was so disturbing, It will keep you spooked all night.

  • Cadie W.

    Lexington, NC

    Slow read in the beginning. It took me a few days to actually get into it but once I did I couldn’t put the book down. I was not expecting the ending at all. Riveting thriller!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Heidi L.

    Union, NH

    About 4 boys who tried to control their dreams but instead created a nightmare. You will THINK you have parts figured out ???? but 3/4 in you will realize things weren't as they appeared. Enjoyed the suspense

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