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Whisper Down the Lane

– tekijä: Clay Chapman

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
553380,643 (3.46)2
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näyttää 3/3
This book starts off with a creepy roar, and it never backs down after that. Chapman's writing hooked me right away, bringing to life a horrifyingly believable story based on the Satanic Panic and its effects. The parts of the book which are hardest to believe are the ones ultimately based in fact, too, which makes the book that much more terrifying. As a novel, though, the book demands to be read once it is begun--I found it almost impossible to put down, and the movement between timelines and characters was so smooth, with a surprising and satisfying end, that the whole reading experience was fantastic.

I absolutely recommend this book. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Aug 22, 2021 |
Synopsis: Inspired by the McMartin preschool trials and the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s, the critically acclaimed author of The Remaking delivers another pulse pounding, true-crime-based horror novel.

Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage to Tamara, a first chance at fatherhood to her son Elijah, and a quiet but pleasant life as an art teacher at Elijah’s elementary school in Danvers, Virginia. Then the body of a rabbit, ritualistically murdered, appears on the school grounds with a birthday card for Richard tucked beneath it. Richard doesn’t have a birthday—but Sean does . . .

Sean is a five-year-old boy who has just moved to Greenfield, Virginia, with his mother. Like most mothers of the 1980s, she’s worried about bills, childcare, putting food on the table . . . and an encroaching threat to American life that can take the face of anyone: a politician, a friendly neighbor, or even a teacher. When Sean’s school sends a letter to the parents revealing that Sean’s favorite teacher is under investigation, a white lie from Sean lights a fire that engulfs the entire nation—and Sean and his mother are left holding the match.

Now, thirty years later, someone is here to remind Richard that they remember what Sean did. And though Sean doesn’t exist anymore, someone needs to pay the price for his lies.


Review: Oh, I enjoyed this book. What a fun read.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Whisper Down the Lane is that Chapman has clearly done his homework. Though the novel itself is a work of fiction it is undeniably informed by the 1983-1990 McMartin Preschool trial, complete with allusions to Judy Johnson (a mother of one of the accusing students) and Kyle Sapp (an accusing student who publicly apologized in 2005. Those familiar with the atrocity that is the McMartin accusations and trial will appreciate the tone of Chapman's novel which, I'd argue, places the blame where it truly lies. As the narrative unfolds the absurdity of the criminal case dawns naturally, and the audience is encouraged to empathize with five-year-old Sean even as the consequences of his actions become clear. But more than the historic narrative I appreciate the attention to legacy, an imagining of what an adulthood may look like after childhood involvement in a case of Satanic sexual abuse, and a recognition that moral panics continue to plague American culture. ( )
  London_StJ | May 5, 2021 |
Artist Richard Bellamy has a good life going for him in the faux quaint town of Danvers. He's got a steady art teaching job at the local elementary school where his new wife Tamara works and a blooming relationship with his 5 year old stepson Elijah. When strange things start happening at the school, Richard begins to fear it's history repeating itself, echoes of his traumatic childhood reaching out to claim him.

Flipping between Richard's present day and the 1980s, Whisper Down The Lane juxtaposes the two narratives to reveal the childhood secrets Richard thought he'd buried with the unfolding horrors taking over his adult life. While the concept of having a satanic panic accuser's accusations come back to be thrown on him as an adult is interesting, the way this novel is structured undermines that story. Constantly going between two ongoing narratives kept tension from building properly. There were also a few cases where events that happened in one timeline spoiled something in the other one. It's hard to have two narratives that inform each other build suspense simultaneously. I think if this had been split into two novellas it would have worked better.

I wanted to love this, but the pacing was all over, the characters never feel fleshed out, and it suffers from a bad case of male myopia. Psychological horror is usually my thing, but this just didn't work.

An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher via Netgalley ( )
  midnightbex | Mar 23, 2021 |
näyttää 3/3
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