3 stars. The Whisper is darker in tone and subject matter than The Riverman. More direct bad things happen to which the reader is firsthand witness than in the previous volume. The story seems more mired in getting from the series’ strong beginning to a possible ending, so this volume succumbs to “middle book in the trilogy” syndrome. I was much less able to relate to this story, perhaps because so little of it was grounded in the subversive, twisted version of the real world that made the prose of Aaron Starmer’s previous book stand out. Alistair Cleary develops naturally in the book, and his story keeps the narrative cohesive when it is at risk of devolving into a series of fantasy vignettes. There is not nearly enough Fiona Loomis; her quirky charm was one of the delights of The Riverman. All in all, this isn’t a bad book, merely a bit pedestrian after the first installment in the trilogy. I suspect it will be overshadowed by the trilogy’s conclusion.