Title: Whispers in the Dark
Author: Laurel Hightower
Page Count: 318 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
Rose McFarland is a trained killer–a Memphis S.W.A.T. sniper with a secret. Her team knows about the burn scars that lurk under her clothes, a legacy of the house fire that killed her father and brother sixteen years before. Her supervisors know that she spent two years in a rehabilitative facility, healing and learning to cope with the emotional trauma of the fire. But no one knows about the visions that drove her there, angry spirits that consumed her childhood, alienated her from her family and made her doubt her own sanity–the Whispers.
When Charlie Akers, a half-brother she never knew, ends up on the wrong side of Rose’s rifle, she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that puts her family in the middle of increasingly dangerous paranormal visitations. Charlie won’t stay dead, and soon ghosts from Rose’s past are creeping back into her life. People she’s killed in the line of duty, family she thought long buried, every one of them under the influence of Rose’s greatest fear, the Whispers themselves.
As the walls between our world and the world of the dead grow thin, Rose will have to face her old nightmares to stop the Whispers from breaking free. If she can’t, it won’t just be Memphis that falls to the dead–there will be no safe place left on earth for the living.
What a debut, holy smokes! I read this one recently along with my fellow Night Worms folks in another #NightWormsBookParty, and whoa. We pretty much unanimously loved this one, and the entire group of us have been stunned by the fact that this is Laurel Hightower’s first ever book!
I’m a big fan of compelling, fierce characters, and Hightower knocks it out of the park with Rose McFarland in WHISPERS. The characters in her story are all so complete and whole, it feels like you’re reading about actual people. Rose in particular is written with so much detail that she seemed to leap off of the pages. I could easily see her on screen in a TV series about her life, and I’d watch the hell out of it because she’s an amazing badass that I’d love to be best friends with! She reminded me a little of Anita Blake – although, I guess her Whispers are a little… different, lol. Both are really strong, take-no-shit type women, and I love that in a character so much!
While this one does have a lot of spooky stuff going on to qualify it as horror, it’s also a thriller, and I loved the way the author blended these genres seamlessly. The Whispers are terrifying, but Rose is also a S.W.A.T. sniper, and can handle her own. This combination of strength mixed with otherworldly terror made for such a compelling plot, and I found myself completely sucked into Rose’s world as soon as I started reading. I ended up finishing this in two sittings, only stopping in between because a girl must sleep before she works in the morning.
There’s a lot going on in this story, and a lot of ground to cover for an author taking on the task of writing it all. Hightower handles the task perfectly, and we’re able to experience some really scary stuff with our main character, as well as able to experience a little bit of normality with her as well. From relationship drama to being a mom to just loving a cold beer after a long day at work, Rose just a regular woman doing regular things. I mean, besides the creepy Whispers, of course!
Hightower’s ability to craft a completely believable, fast-paced, emotionally charged horror/thriller makes her a force to be reckoned with, and I am so eager to see what else she writes in the future. And I know I already said it once, but gosh, this would make such an incredible book-to-screen adaptation!
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