Posted in Literature

Read: The Whisper Man & The Hate U Give

The Whisper ManThe Whisper Man by Alex North
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 out of 5.

An engaging thriller with a hint of the supernatural mixed in.

This is a multi-perspective thriller with a good balance between victim/s, killer and police POVs set in England with some internal themes around parenthood – specifically fatherhood – and the relationships between fathers and sons. The added reflection between the different father-son relationships in the book made for some extra content to think about in relation to the central story and characters as well as a couple of unseen twists along the way.

One part of the killer’s identity was guessable but another aspect to it was hidden until late in the book and there were other reveals that I didn’t see coming.

The prose was easy to read and still engaging and the main character was sympathetically written. There were some supernatural-ish elements that I can’t add much more about without spoilers and some additional creep-factor moments that added to the suspense.

Worth a read and can be picked up fairly cheap (e.g. The Works, paperback, £2; Amazon Kindle ed, £2.99).


The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a brilliant book that, while fictional, is drawn from the author’s own experiences as a black woman in a predominantly white environment in the aftermath of police shooting and killing Oscar Grant (2009). Thomas has taken some of her own experiences, feelings and even guilt over her silence in that situation and turned it into a novelisation focusing on Starr, a 16 year old black girl who attends a predominantly white private school and lives in – as she describes it – “the ghetto”.

Starr witnesses her childhood friend Khalil get shot dead by a policeman and the book then follows her as she struggles to keep herself and her world from falling apart. She seeks justice for Khalil while her neighbourhood erupts into riots and the police roll in with tanks and tear-gas.

Black Lives Matter has been around since 2013 and we have seen a huge surge this year, 2020, again following the multiple unlawful killings of unarmed black people by police in America. THUG is as relevant now as it was in 2017 and when it began as a college short story for Angie Thomas in 2009. Despite being fictionalised this is a very realistic account of aftermath of one such police shooting and the various ways in which oppressed people can react.

I am not usually one for YA but this book doesn’t feel like YA to me. By all means, it still is, I mean more than it doesn’t dumb things down and that’s important especially with a topic like this.

If you haven’t read it, please do so, it’s a brilliant book with captivating prose and a seriously important story.


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