Recommended Reads: ‘Ghostman’ a refreshingly intelligent crime novel

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Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

A casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly sideways, despite all appearances of its intricate planning. The brain behind the operation needs to repair the damage and make it go away. He calls in an old favor from a Ghostman.

Occasionally called Jack, Ghostman lives completely off the grid and cannot be found when he doesn’t want to be. He makes himself invisible to society and lives without any ties or associations with people. You’re introduced to this curious personality, who has a high intellect, and ethics he’s created for himself. When inclined, he’s an expert fixer who cleans up crimes and makes them disappear.

This time the Ghostman is up against an explosive 48-hour clock, as well as more bad guys. His analysis of the situation, as well as the stories he hears and sees played out before him, is compelling. It’s a refreshingly intelligent crime story. Your page turning will grow faster and faster as you can’t wait to find out what happens next. No guarantees that anyone is as they seem.

And most fascinating of all is the Ghostman himself. Incredible the smart ways he keeps himself unknown, fully disguised, in the shadows. Seeing his personality at work through his own thoughts and actions is a real education. Woven through the story the Ghostman mentally relives the inciting crime when he created this life for himself, and reasons why he did it. The psychology is frightening, and at the same time fantastic.

This genius author created shadowy and criminal characters that not only come to life, but demand a true and thought-provoking presence. The smart plot appears to be moving in a specified direction, when the Ghostman improvises, and re-improvises a new ending right before your eyes.

When this novel was written, it received high acclaim from critics as a reinvention of the crime novel. The excellent, descriptive writing in this debut novel led him to be named one of the best writers in his field. In 2014 he was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. He went on to author Vanishing Games which I look forward to reading. Tragically he died far too young, near the end of 2016. This legacy that he’s left his readers is meant to be grabbed tightly and devoured whole. You’ll fully enjoy this tense ride.

Thereby hangs a tale . . . .

— By Wendy Kendall

Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.

 

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