Whisper Down the Lane: A Novel (Hardcover)
“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 best-selling author of Home Before Dark
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 with a birthday card for Richard. Richard doesn't have a birthday—but Sean does.
Sean is a five-year-old boy who has just moved to Virginia with his mother. Like most moms of the 1980s, she's worried about bills, childcare, putting food on the table . . . and an encroaching threat that can take the face of anyone: a politician, a neighbor, or even a teacher. When Sean’s school sends a letter to the parents revealing that Sean’s favorite teacher is under investigation, a white lie from Sean lights a fire that engulfs the entire nation—and Sean and his mother are left holding the match.
Now, thirty years later, someone is here to remind Richard that they remember what Sean did. And though Sean doesn’t exist anymore, someone needs to pay the price for his lies.
About the Author
Clay McLeod Chapman writes novels, comic books, and children's books, as well as for film and TV. He is the author of the horror novels The Remaking and Whisper Down the Lane. Visit him at claymcleodchapman.com.
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“[A] spellbinding psychological thriller...a suspenseful tale of paranoia that will keep readers riveted until the last surprise is sprung.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Within just a few pages you’ll have gotten enough shocking violence, overwhelming fear and psychological intrigue to keep you hooked for hours.”—BookPage, 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
“This clever, creepy roller-coaster ride is perfect for fans of fast-paced horror with the flavor of true crime.”—Library Journal
“Whisper Down the Lane is a well-crafted thriller with an intricate plot. Chapman writes in an unadorned manner and with a sharp eye toward the underside of American popular culture.”—New York Journal of Books
“Chapman expertly taps into the hysteria of the famed “Satanic Panic,” creating a chilling, psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing and worrying, wondering what’s real.”—Daily Dead
“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
“A ruthlessly compelling novel, where two stories close on each other like a claw—a truly diabolical nightmare that daylight can’t dispel—all the more terrifying for what it tells us of ourselves.”—Ramsey Campbell, author of The Wise Friend and The Searching Dead
“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
“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