Kerry Hammond is back with her latest report from the Crime & Beyond Book Club.
Crime & Beyond met in July to discuss Ghostman by Roger Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs wasn’t just a first time for us author, he is also a first time author. He wrote this book during his senior year in college and sent the manuscript to an agent on the day he graduated. Out of that came this debut novel, which some are calling a “heist thriller.”
The book is a ticking time bomb of sorts. It follows Jack, the lead character and aforementioned Ghostman, as he works against the clock to put the pieces together and figure out how a bank heist went wrong…..and to find the money. We also flash back to a heist in Kuala Lumpur in order to find out why Jack is obligated to step in and help with the Atlantic City clean up.
According to the author, “a ghostman is an identity thief geared for criminal organizations.” They don’t exist, except in Roger’s imagination, but other terms he uses, such as “wheelman” and “box man,” are real. Although, for those of you out there who believe everything they read, even in fiction, the author has something to say about all of the facts included in this literary how-to. In an interview Hobbs says, “If you believe everything that I tell you in “Ghostman,” you are a fool.” He freely admits to using his own imagination to supplement actual facts. So if you plan to use the information to rob a bank, instructions and measurements might be incomplete or just flat out wrong.
Our book club really enjoyed this book. We liked the two storylines: Atlantic City and Kuala Lumpur. There were a lot of people who loved the details – even if half of them were fake. Kudos to Mr. Hobbs on his debut novel. It is well written and quite a page turner. There was a small Red Herring that a few of us followed (I won’t say what it was because I don’t want any spoilers). When we got to the end, we realized that what we thought was going to happen didn’t. However, if you go to the author’s website you will find that there is a sequel coming out in the Spring of 2015. Here is what the author says about that book: “there will be a few characters returning from Ghostman,” and “the plot will have you flipping back through the earlier book for clues. I want the books in this series to fit together like puzzle pieces, and the sequel will do just that. The Ghostman ending is a cliff-hanger and you might not even know it!”
Hmmmm, I’m intrigued. The next book is called Vanishing Games and is due out in Spring 2015. Here’s what the website says:
After a heist in Macau, China goes badly, a criminal mastermind known only as Angela must call upon her old friend Jack, the Ghostman, to help her fix things before her head ends up in a box. But as soon as Jack arrives, he finds himself embroiled in a criminal conspiracy bigger than he has ever seen. Can he find Angela and help her escape before they both become the target of an international manhunt?
There is an added bonus that is included in the ebook format of Ghostman. For those of you who read paper books or listen to audio, you can go to the author’s website and solve a puzzle to unlock the same information. It’s a 23 page PDF that gives you the backstory to how Jack became a ghostman. I think more authors should do things like that. We mystery readers love a good puzzle!
Next month Jack Reacher is back, probably still kicking butt and taking names. We will meet in August to discuss Never Go Back by Lee Child.
You can read all about Kerry's love of the world's largest mystery convention here.