Whispers In The Dark: Laurel Hightower
Reviewed By Steve Stred
If you spend any time on Twitter within the horror community, you’ve undoubtedly experienced two things; A) someone recommending ‘Whispers in the Dark’ as a must-read or B) Laurel piping in on a Twitter thread with her hilarious wit.
I don’t believe I’ve ever once been on an extending sub-tweet thread with Laurel where we haven’t gone off the rails and it’s always hilarious.
When the Ladies of Horror Fiction announced that they wanted people to start their 2020 reading year off by choosing a book written by someone identifying as a female, I knew which two I was going to start with – The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee & this book, Whispers in the Dark. Now that I’ve finished Whispers, I’ll be starting Davenport shortly!
What I liked: Pretty much everything! Hightower throws us directly into the story. We quickly are introduced to Rose McFarland, SWAT Sniper. She’s on a call and things are not exactly as they seem. Throughout, Hightower kept the story pulled along by a very tight string made of tension. It was great. This a book that falls into the “page-turner” category with ease. The characters that are introduced are great and you feel like you know a good portion of them, and the others you’ve met at some point. The backstory is teased along the way before Laurel does a great job of connecting all of the dots and the ending was fantastic.
I personally enjoy epilogues, and with this book it was great to see what happened after the final moments of the main story.
I loved the character of Rose. She was a physically and mentally scarred character who was tough but caring. Her desire to be the best mom while also being the best sniper was a great plot piece and a lot of the time Hightower made story decisions based on that mentality.
What I didn’t like: Two small things. I didn’t care for the character Luke. Part of it was the fact that Rose and Luke had been partners for so many years, so the traces of jealousy we saw I found frustrating, and when the character Neal was involved and Rose was questioning some of Luke’s actions, I struggled to believe Rose would feel that way, due to them having been partners for so long.
The second thing was a character at the beginning I thought was going to be more prevalent but who just disappeared. I can’t even remember his name, but he wanted Rose essentially kicked out of the force due to his indecision and then poof gone. It wasn’t a big part of the story, but I kept wondering when we’d see him return.
Why you should buy this: You should buy this because it features some of the best writing I’ve read in some time and it’ll blow your friggin’ socks off that this is a debut novel.
You should buy this because it’s always great to find another strong female lead like Rose, especially one who has paranormal attachments.
I loved this book and I can see why people suggest that if this wasn’t released in December of its release year, there would be a good chance this would have won a Bram Stoker for Best Debut Novel.
Whispers In The Dark
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.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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