The Shadows by Alex North is what people would call a slow build. This is not a dragging slow build, it still keeps you on your toes, but slow, nonetheless. If you have read previous recommendations of mine you know I love the chapter jumping, either from character to character or to different times. This book jumps from a young Paul Adams to his now adult self to detective Amanda Beck. Paul is pulled back to his hometown of Gritten to see his mom as she slowly fades away in Hospice care. He had avoided returning to Gritten since he left for college and he doesn’t particularly enjoy being back now and those feelings intensify as things start happening that stirs up the past he has tried so hard to put behind him and forget. Flashback to Paul being regular kid going through the regular school motions until Charlie Crabtree came into his life. Paul’s best friend James was a tiny, quiet kid that was a target for bullies. Paul did what he could to stand up to them to protect James and one day Charlie and Billy Roberts stepped in to defend as well. After that the four became fast friends and Charlie the clear leader. Charlie starts having the boys keep journals of their dreams and attempt lucid dreaming, convinced they could all end up in the same dreams together. When Paul finally tells Charlie he doesn’t believe any of it and walks away from his new friends and oldest best friend for good, he can’t shake the feeling that he needs to do something about Charlie. Paul avoids the boys and even meets a girl, Jenny, who he falls head over heels for. Back into the present Amanda Beck is called to a crime scene of a dead boy with his head nearly off and red hands stamped all around. This leads her to Gritten where an identical murder happened many years ago and Charlie Crabtree disappeared without a trace. This story keeps you interested and keeps you guessing. The ending was a little more anticlimactic then I would have liked, but a good spooky season read anyway.
Favorite Quote – “As you get older, it [time] all begins to blur into one. You start to think life was never any kind of straight line. It was always more of a … scribble.”