Whisper Down the Lane
by Clay McLeod Chapman
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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 19 Dec 2022
A pulse-pounding, true-crime-based horror novel inspired by the McMartin preschool trial and Satanic Panic of the ’80s.
Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage, a first chance at fatherhood, and a quiet life as an art teacher in Virginia. Then the body of a ritualistically murdered rabbit appears on his school’s playground, along with a birthday card for him. But Richard hasn’t celebrated his birthday since he was known as Sean . . .
In the 1980s, Sean was five years old when his mother unwittingly led him to tell a lie about his teacher. When school administrators, cops, and therapists questioned him, he told another. And another. And another. Each was more outlandish than the last—and fueled a moral panic that engulfed the nation and destroyed the lives of everyone around him.
Now, thirty years later, someone is here to tell Richard that they know what Sean did. But who would even know that these two are one and the same? Whisper Down the Lane is a tense and compulsively readable exploration of a world primed by paranoia to believe the unbelievable.
One of The Lineup’s Scariest Horror Books We’re Most Looking Forward to in 2021
“[A] spellbinding psychological thriller…a suspenseful tale of paranoia that will keep readers riveted until the last surprise is sprung.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Creepy and engaging, this is a tale for readers who enjoy true crime like We Believe the Children by Richard Beck (2015), horror like Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2016), and intensely disorienting psychological suspense like Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (2017).”—Booklist
“Devilishly good. In Whisper Down the Lane, Clay McLeod Chapman has given us a diabolically creepy hybrid of horror and psychological suspense that thrills as much as it unsettles. You’ll keep turning the pages even as your hands shake.”—Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Home Before Dark
“In Whisper Down the Lane, Clay McLeod Chapman has gifted readers a novel that is darkly compelling, deeply discomfiting, and achingly human. We squirm as the dread and terror mount, but we can’t stop reading. We’re under the spell of a true storyteller, and bound to follow him wherever he takes us. Prepare to surrender some sleep for this twisting tale of family, memory, identity, and the weight of old sins.”—Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters
“A beguiling page-turner brimming with dread, Whisper Down the Lane is diabolical fun.”—Rachel Harrison, author of The Return and Cackle
“Chapman’s latest allows us to deal with horrors we don’t often get to see depicted like this. The horror of our past selves, the horror of guilt and consequence, the power of a mass delusion. Terrifying, sad, and even a tiny dash hopeful. I loved it.”—Adam Cesare, author of Clown in a Cornfield and Video Night
“Scary, compelling, heartbreaking, Whisper Down the Lane dredges our generation’s collective past and turns up the worst monsters of all: us. A fantastic read.”—Andy Davidson, author of The Boatman’s Daughter
“I waltzed into Whisper Down the Lane confident that I wasn’t going to let a little Satanic Panic get to me. Instead I fearfully devoured chapter after chapter….Chapman’s 80s-inspired horror will crawl under your skin and shake you silly, and you’ll like it.”—Molly Pohlig, author of The Unsuitable
“Whisper Down the Lane is a twisting maze of deadly secrets and dark, dangerous shadows. A nail-biting exercise of psychological terror…I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Clay McLeod Chapman has outdone himself.”—Richard Chizmar, author of Chasing the Boogeyman
“Whisper Down the Lane is a brilliant nightmare. Chapman will ensnare you in a terrifying web deftly woven with lies, good intentions, childhood fears and local hysteria. From the very first chapter, you’ll be caught.”—Mallory O’Meara, best-selling author of The Lady from the Black Lagoon
“Chapman is a maestro at building grim suspense to the point of unimaginable consequences, proving genuine horror dwells in the world we live in today.”—Mystery and Suspense Magazine
Average rating from 41 members
If the cover does not already speak for itself, this book is CREEPY.
I also loved every minute of it .
Whisper Down the Lane is a story of a child who falsely testified against one of his teachers that started a widespread hysteria in the 1980s for the "Satanic Panic" . This is Richard's story, previously known as "Sean". Told from dual narratives flashing back from childhood to present day.
Richard, was not born "Richard" , it is as if he is a boy without a past. Living under a new name, attempting to hide from the secrets of his past. Richard is married and also the happy parent of a little boy, Elijah. When a ritualistic killing of a rabbit is found on school property, Richard knows this is for him.
Someone is out to make Richard (Sean) pay for what had happened all those years ago. Someone knows of the lies that little Sean had told back in the day. That same someone wants to make Richard pay.
This is an insane cat and mouse book. My anxiety levels were through the roof at each turn of the page. I caught myself holding my breath numerous times not knowing what was going to come next.
I highly recommend Whisper Down the Lane and I have become a huge fan of Clay McLeod Chapman. I absolutely can not wait to see what this author comes out with next. This was an easy 5 star read.