Tuesday, June 09, 2009

CFBA Tour - Ghostwriter

The latest book for the CFBA Tour is Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher.

Dennis Shore is the latest, greatest horror writer. His books have sold millions, but since his wife's death he has been unable to write at all. Desperate to keep up with medical bills, he sends in a manuscript from an undiscovered writer, Cillian Reed, and it becomes his latest smash novel, with critical acclaim. He is already haunted by the guilt of his crime, but the true author begins harrassing Dennis. First with words, then with demonstrations, Dennis becomes caught up in his own horror story. Will he find the way out, or will he become like too many of his characters before him?

There's been a few books I've read on the topic of a horror writer unable to write anymore. From the contemplative (Dave Long's Ezekiel's Shadow) to the humerous (Rene Gutteridge's hilarious Boo series), it seems like a rich theme to mine. Ghostwriter aims for the straightforward suspense/horror aspect.

I had a hard time with this book on several levels. The main character Dennis Shore is not someone I wanted to root for. He stole the manuscript, so he brought things on himself to a degree. There was some mild sympathy in the loss of his beloved wife, but they didn't tug the heart strings. The antagonist Cillian Reed and his friend Bob were similarly thin, without much to recommend them as fully developed characters.

Suspense is built up at times, but it starts slowly and builds in a disjointed fashion, as Dennis wrestles with his wife's death. There is a point to this, but in my opinion it distracted from the flow more than it provided emotional punch.

There is a major twist that is handled very well-it surprised me and renewed my interest in the book for a while. It ended up being too little too late. The ending turns quickly and felt pretty contrived to me. Too convenient to bring around a happier ending.

If readers have an aversion to violent imagery, there is some in this book. It seems appropriate for a mild horror novel, and it is not excessive by my reckoning, but sensitive people should be aware.

Overall, I was fairly disappointed and struggled to finish the book. Ghostwriter has an intriguing premise and some moments that work, but overall there weren't many goose bumps on my arms by the time I hit "The End".

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ghostwriter, go HERE.

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