The Whisperer: Book summary and reviews of The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi

The Whisperer

By Donato Carrisi

The Whisperer
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2012,
    432 pages.

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Book Summary

A gripping literary thriller and smash bestseller that has taken Italy, France, Germany and the UK by storm.

Six severed arms are discovered, arranged in a mysterious circle and buried in a clearing in the woods. Five of them appear to belong to missing girls between the ages of eight and eighteen. The sixth is yet to be identified. Worse still, the girls' bodies, alive or dead, are nowhere to be found.

Lead investigators Mila Vasquez, a celebrated profiler, and Goran Gavila, an eerily prescient criminologist, dive into the case. They're confident they've got the right suspect in their sights until they discover no link between him and any of the kidnappings except the first. The evidence in the case of the second missing child points in a vastly different direction, creating more questions than it answers.

Vasquez and Gavila begin to wonder if they've been brought in to take the fall in a near-hopeless case. Is it all coincidence? Or is a copycat criminal at work? Obsessed with a case that becomes more tangled and intense as they unravel the layers of evil, Gavila and Vasquez find that their lives are increasingly in each other's hands. The Whisperer, as sensational a bestseller in Europe as the Stieg Larsson novels, is that rare creation: a thought-provoking, intelligent thriller that is also utterly unputdownable.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A taut psychological thriller about a serial killer who preys on young girls... the plot is gruesome and gripping." - The Sunday Times (UK)

"More than delivers on its ghoulish promise... you might not want to read this alone in the house." - Time Out London

"A gripping read... I defy anyone to guess the denouement." - The Guardian (UK)

"Gripping from the off, The Whisperer plays all sorts of games with the reader, but, crucially, doesn't let you down when it comes to the pay-off." - Evening Herald (Ireland)

"Familiar crime thriller tropes include the damaged cop and the haunted profiler, but Carrisi spins an engagingly gruesome tale." - Publishers Weekly

"A haunting, disconcerting, devastating portrait of evil." - Kirkus Reviews

"The Whisperer is one hell of a ride. This story screams high tension, high stakes and high velocity. Superb." - Michael Connelly

"Donato Carrisi has a unique gift for blending fascinating forensic detail, mind-bending plot twists, and empathetic characters into a seamless, powerful narrative. The Whisperer intrigues, informs, and haunts simultaneously, a novel that will linger in the mind long after you've finished." - Michael Koryta

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Susan Reiners
Warning: Here Be Monsters
I have no idea how to rate this book. I HATE the subject: the sadistic serial murder of children and others. I try to avoid reading the blurb on the inside flap until after I've finished a book, but in this case it might have saved me hours. I began reading (and it IS a page-turner!) and got hooked before I discovered how creepy plot and subplots are. Once in, I kept reading in the vain hope that order of some sort would be restored in the end. I guess I have to give it a low middle rating, because the things I admire are more than cancelled out by the things that disturb me.

This is apparently a best seller in Europe. I read Steig Larsson's whole trilogy, which can hardly be called cheerful, and enjoyed nearly every twist and turn. But there the writing and the translations are superb, and at least some of the characters are people you can root for and identify with. In at least some of the truly evil situations, the punishment fits the crimes with a wry humor. That is not the case here. Besides the unrelieved darkness and humorlessness, I found the translation often intrusive, with frequent use of colons and semi-colons and odd word choices. Also, I am a fan of books where the setting is specific and necessary -- practically a character itself. The Whisperer is set in an unidentifiable place, and to further muddy the waters, the characters have a New York phone directory of names.

Just be forewarned. This is not a terribly written book. You won't guess what's coming. But to enjoy it you must be a fan of the blackest horror stories, which I am definitely not. You've been warned. Here be monsters.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Diane S.
The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi
Creepy, dark, at times I felt the evil literally waft off the pages. Different characters, major twists, I honestly never saw them coming. Don't know where this novel takes place, but it doesn't seem to matter as if the author is telling the reader that the place doesn't really matter and that this type of evil exists everywhere and anywhere. Hopefully there will be a sequel.

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Donato Carrisi was born in 1973 and studied law and criminology. Since 1999 he has been working as a TV screenwriter. The Whisperer, Carrisi's first novel, won him five international literary prizes, has been sold in nearly twenty territories and has been translated into languages as varied as French, Danish, Hebrew and Vietnamese. Carrisi lives in Rome. You can visit him online at www.donatocarrisi.it.

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