Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Review of "The Whisperer" [85]

The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi
Mulholland Books, ISBN 978-0316194723
January 5, 2012, 432 pages.

From the product description..
"Six buried arms. Six missing girls. A team led by Captain Roche and internationally renowned criminologist Goran Gavila are on the trail of a serial killer whose ferocity seems to have no limits. And he seems to be taunting them, leading them to discover each small corpse in turn; but the clues on the bodies point to several different killers. Roche and Gavila bring in Mila Vasquez, a specialist in cases involving children, and Mila discovers that the real killer is one who has never lifted a finger against the girls - but merely psychologically instructs others to do his work: a 'subliminal killer' - the hardest to catch... "

Well, actually, it is six arms but five missing girls, which is why they call in a missing child expert to help. To try and discover who the sixth girl is..and determine if they might be able to rescue her while she is still alive. Good start.
I must say reading the description I thought this was right up my alley, even though comparisons to Stieg Larsson made me a little concerned.
And there are some positive things about the book. The idea that the killer is using the murder of each girl to lead the police to uncover another hidden crime is rather clever. And I must say that the ending was quite a surprise, always a great thing in my book...quite a surprise.

But, from there on I have quite a few problems with this book.
First, is the basic premise that there are such thing as "whisperers", evil people who can somehow influence others to do bad things, people who otherwise may not have been bad people. Interesting, but the case is never really made by the author, and at least one of the examples just seems totally unbelievable.
Then there is the writing. This is a translation, so I am not sure if the issue is with the original or the translation, but either way it comes across as very awkward. I have read a couple of reviews that thought that gave it a "European charm". I just though it kept me from getting totally involved in the book, always jolting me out of the story to reread yet another awkward phrase that just felt wrong.

And a final issue..I could list a few that the book has no setting. I am not sure that I have ever read a book before that was set in no specific place.
You know it is not the US because there are too many metric references for us metric challenged Americans. The character's names are of a variety of ethic sources, so that is no help and no specific reference is ever made to a real place. So is it Europe? Germany..Italy...England...who knows? And I wanted to! I must say I do not understand that decision of the author at all and found it annoying. The setting can be a huge plus to a story and the lack here was just another thing to grate on me as I read this book.

There are a lot of great mysteries and thrillers out there, including the above mentioned Stieg Larsson, but too little time to waste on a just fair book like this one.

My thanks to the publisher and Library Thing Early Reviewers for providing a review copy of this book.


  1. I'm glad to hear you like to know where the story takes place. Me too! I finished Orchestrated Murder, a novella, a while back and it never said where it was either. Just "symphony hall" - geez, that could be anyplace. A sense of place is important to me, not sure why, but it just is!! Weird that the authors can't even come up with a state, a country, something. Give us somethin'!

  2. It sounds like this book had some promise - sorry it ended up being a stinker.

  3. I wasn't a fan of this book either. I agree about the lack of setting didn't do anything for it, but my major issue was the unrealistic plot. I was groaning/rolling my eyes all the way through. I don't understand why this book is such a big seller.

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  5. me got some very good reviews when it was released in Europe.


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