The paperback edition of Donato Carrisi’s THE WHISPERER, the acclaimed international bestselling thriller about which Michael Connelly wrote: “This story screams high tension, high stakes, and high velocity,”and which Ken Follett called “brilliant…a great book,” is now available in bookstores everywhere!
In the below Author’s Note included with the novel, Carrisi discusses the psychological background to his “haunting, disconcerting, devastating portrait of evil” (Kirkus).
Criminology literature began to address the issue of ‘whisperers’ during the rise of cults and sects, but had great difﬁculty ﬁnding a deﬁnition of ‘whisperer’ for use in a legal trial, because mere suggestion is so hard to prove.
Where there is no causal connection between the guilty party and the whisperer, it is not possible to envisage any type of crime for which the latter might be liable. ‘Incitement to criminal activity’ is usually too weak to lead to a sentence. The activity of these psychological controllers involves a subliminal level of communication which does not add criminal intent to the psyche of the agent, but brings out a dark side – present in a more or less latent form in each of us – which then leads to the subject committing one or several crimes.
Often cited is the Offelbeck case of 1986: a housewife who received a series of anonymous phone calls and who then, out of the blue, exterminated her family by putting rat poison in their soup.
Anyone who sullies himself with heinous crimes often tends to share moral responsibility with a voice, a vision or imaginary characters. For this reason it is particularly difﬁcult to tell when such manifestations spring from genuine psychosis and when they may be traced back to the hidden work of a whisperer.
Among the sources I used in the novel, apart from manuals of criminology, forensic psychiatry and texts of legal medicine, I’ve also quoted studies by the FBI, an organisation with the merit of having assembled the most valuable database concerning serial killers and violent crimes.
Many of the cases quoted in these pages really happened. For some, names and places have been changed because the investigations relating to them are not closed or the trials have not yet taken place.
The investigative and forensic techniques described in the novel are real, even though in some circumstances I have taken the liberty of adapting them to the needs of the narrative.
Donato Carrisi studied law and criminology before he began working as a writer for television. THE WHISPERER, Carrisi’s first novel, won five international literary prizes, has been sold in nearly twenty countries, and has been translated into languages as varied as Dutch, Hebrew, and Vietnamese. Carrisi lives in Rome.