"The Whisperer" Book Review
Written by Donato Carrisi
2011, 422 pages, Fiction
Released on January 5th, 2012
Serial killer books are a horror staple. With Donato Carrisi's The Whisperer, the genre is not only receiving a breath of fresh air; the book is taking dark literary thrillers to a new level. The novel, which was a bestseller all over Europe, was translated by Shaun Whiteside and released by Mulholland Books in the US last month. Don't be surprised if it becomes a best-seller here as well.
The Whisperer starts rapidly and with a gruesome touch: six severed arms are discovered buried in the woods. The limbs are arranged in a strange circle and they appear to belong to missing girls between the ages of eight and eighteen. However, the sixth arm doesn't fit in with disappearances and the coroner thinks it was cut while the victim was still alive. To complicate things, the girls' bodies are nowhere to be found and whoever buried the limbs left no clues behind.
The team that takes over the investigation is lead by Goran Gavila, a man with a sharp mind and vast knowledge when it comes to killers. Since there is a child missing, investigator Mila Vasquez, who's an expert at finding missing children, is brought in to lend some help. With the help of the rest of the team, Gavila and Vasquez quickly learn enough to have a suspect. However, as the story progresses, the investigators learn that this case is way more complicated than they could have ever imagined.
Carrisi is a master of building tension and twists his story as often and as wonderfully as a great jazz musician manipulates harmony. At the end of each chapter, the author unveils a piece of the puzzle. However, what Gavila's team, as well as the readers, are lead to believe is a step toward solving the murders and finding the sixth girl, often turns out to be a step in the wrong direction. In fact, if there's one critique that can be made of this book, it's the fact that Carrisi fools the reader time and time again, which can be too much for some in a book that comes in at 422 pages.
While the investigation delves in very sinister places and nonchalantly explores the psychology behind the heinous acts the team comes across, it's Carrisi's characters that eventually bring the biggest and darkest surprises in the narrative. Early on, we learn that Gavila was abandoned by his wife, Vasquez cuts herself and Rosa, an agent in Gavila's team, is going through a tough time in her marriage. As these characters fight on the right side of the law and do all they can to apprehend the killer, the author slowly uncovers what hides in the deepest, darkest recesses of each one's psyche. By the time the culprit is exposed and his incredibly bizarre MO is explained, the reveal almost pales in comparison to the things Gavila, Vasquez and the rest of the team were hiding.
The Whisperer is a great, creepy, tension-filled thriller that keeps a frenetic pace for more than 400 pages. Carrisi's prose is sharp and his phrasing has a distinctive literary slant that helps make even the grisly portions of the novel a pleasure to read. Pick up a copy.