An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
Finished it a day late of my deadline. Ah well. Still finished it before the due date, which is a relief.
Whispers in the Mist is an Irish mystery taking place in County Clare. When a unknown boy ends up dead in a field, the members of the small village he's found in can't help but rumor that the Grey Man, a Slenderman like figure, is responsible. Detective Danny Ahern tries to solve a growing string of Grey Man murders, the key to which may be a mute girl who is also an outsider to the village. Things get dramatic, no one is quite what they seem, and the mystery just keeps growing.
I have to admit, when I first started getting into the book, I was a little let down. I thought the Grey Man would have a really creepy presence. I wasn't expecting it to be a supernatural mystery necessarily, just creepy. Sort of like the Slenderman stabbing a few years ago. He didn't have much a presence at all, though. Aside from people calling the killer the Grey Man, the book hardly mentioned him. I feel like Alber missed out on an angle that could have been really fun.
That said, I really enjoyed this novel. It's one of the better mysteries I've read and my heart was hammering in my chest as I was finishing it. Alber was really skilled at dropping clues throughout to the point where I was able to connect them just enough to figure out a who-done-it, but not so much that everything was given away. Even with the clues I didn't completely guess right, which I appreciate. It really was a skilled mystery.
The characters themselves were okay. I didn't dislike Danny, the main character, but I wasn't too interested in him either. He was just a bit to angsty for my tastes. Merrit was also okay but she felt a little unnecessary, like the novel could have functioned mostly well without her. I absolutely loved Alan and Gemma though. Gemma especially was such a sweet, amazing character to me. I loved the descriptions of her anxiety since those felt so real to me. Her and Alan's relationship was absolutely adorable and I'm glad this book is part of a series so I can continue to see it bloom.
The biggest drawback to this book is it had a slow start. Like, when I first started reading it I wasn't too into it. It just felt like a summary of village drama, more of a Desperate Housewives kinda thing than the mystery I expected. I almost gave up on it. I'm glad I didn't though because once you push through and the mystery heats up, it became really amazing. So stick with it if you choose to read it. Don't let the slow set up in the beginning keep you from finishing.
Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Little slow and misleading in the premise, but the payoff was well worth the build up. I'd read it again.