The Whisperer is Donato Carrisi's first novel. It has been translated from the original Italian to English by Shaun Whiteside.
The Whisperer grabs you by the throat from the opening chapters. Six severed left arms are found buried in a circle in a forest glen. Those left arms belong to children. Girls, in fact - five of them reported missing. But no sixth child has been reported missing. No bodies have been found at all.
Criminologist Goran Gavila brings in Officer Mila Vasquez to work with his team. Mila's specialty is finding missing children.She is battling her own demons as the team struggles to follow the clues left by a deranged and devious serial killer. But he seems to be one step ahead of them at all times, playing cat and mouse with the sixth girl as the prize.
It took me about 50 - 75 pages to get a good firm grasp on the characters and plot in The Whisperer. Carrisi has crafted a complex labyrinth of a tale - you'll want to read carefully as the plot twists and turns rapidly (and the ending is a real twister). Indeed, I sometimes felt slightly off balance as I read - bodies and characters are added to the tale in quick succession. This is a minor complaint - but clues are referred to by the characters with no sense of how they were obtained - such as school pictures and homework from the past of one suspect. Some procedural details that don't quit ring true were bothersome. A police officer on a major crime scene reviewing tapes that asks for help because "I don't know a thing about electronics". Why in the world would he be allowed to touch evidence then?
Carrisi has taken the crime novel a step further with the care he has take to explore the main character's psyches. I would like to see Carrisi continues with Mila as a protagonist in future books.
I did find the translation to be a bit choppy in places. The setting of the book in terms of country is never really defined - niggly I know, but I would like to have known where the book was taking place. Did I enjoy The Whisperer? Yes I did. But, it's probably not for the faint at heart. Judge for yourself - Read the prologue and first chapter of The Whisperer.