Whisper Down the Lane: A Novel
“A diabolically creepy hybrid of horror and psychological suspense that thrills as much as it unsettles.”—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, 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.
Praise for Whisper Down the Lane: A Novel
One of POPSUGAR’s Best New Mystery and Thriller Books of April 2021
One of Tor Nightfire’s Horror Books We’re Most Looking Forward To in 2021
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
“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
“A potent, compulsive thriller...one of the most gripping novels I’ve read this year.”—SFFWorld
“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
Praise for Clay McLeod Chapman
“Chapman is the storyteller supreme.”—Andy Davidson, author of The Hollow Kind
“One of horror’s modern masters.”—Rachel Harrison, national best-selling author of Cackle and Such Sharp Teeth
“A not-to-miss horror novelist.”—Library Journal
“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
"Chapman is the 21st century’s Richard Matheson. He’s that good.”—Richard Chizmar, New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Boogeyman