Review: Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (4/5)

Thursday 16 October 2014
'Fast, hard and knowing: this is an amazing debut full of intrigue, tradecraft and suspense. Read it immediately!' Lee Child (author of the Jack Reacher novels)


I make things disappear. It’s what I do. This time I’m tidying up the loose ends after a casino heist gone bad. The loose ends being a million cash. But I only have 48 hours, and there’s a guy out there who wants my head in a bag.

He’ll have to find me first. They don’t call me the Ghostman for nothing...

And breathe. I spent much of my time reading this book holding my breath in a trance, obvious to the world around me. I was hooked on this book from the first page, reading it in four sittings, my first taking me to page 100 long after I should have been asleep. Believe me when I say you will not want to put this book down once you start reading. It is so addictive and given its fast paced nature, the action doesn't let up from the first page and it's brilliant.

From the blurb I was excited and then a little disheartened by a couple of average reviews that I read. But, this book was only written when Hobbs was in college and for me that is incredibly exciting as for a debut thriller it is incredible. There's best-selling authors that had a shaky start, and this book is anything but shaky. It's a very solid read, with a fantastic main character and one hell of an action-packed story. I am desperate for more from Hobbs already and hope that draft he posted recently on Twitter is finalised very soon.

Given the somewhat ambiguous nature of the blurb it's hard to discuss the plot but our main character is the Ghostman (or Jack, though that's not his real name). Described in the book as being in the business of disappearing. A professional imposter. A favour is called in from Jack by Marcus. He employed two people to rob a casino. One man is dead and the other is AWOL with the money. Jack has just 48 hours to recover the money before it is rendered useless. It's not just Marcus with his eye on the cash though and Jack soon finds himself in Atlantic City not only trying to hunt down a couple of million dollars in cash but trying to stay alive as well.

The opening of the book read like a film, and given that it takes place over a short period of time the rest of the book felt like a film too. It's really cinematic and the scenes playing out in my head were very vivid making the book so much more enjoyable. Alternating chapters take us back to when Jack was first employed by Marcus, and we learn what went wrong that left Jack in his debt. The chapters end in an exciting but frustrating way, often on a cliffhanger in the Present we go back in time only to then be left on a cliffhanger in the Past. It's very exciting though and written in a way that demands you read on.

With no idea where the plot is going to go, I was kept on my toes throughout. Constantly second guessing everything and trying to think outside the box to spot the twists before they snuck up on me (and the book is full of them). The Ghostman is extremely clever though, and plays everybody here excellently. Never once did the story feel dull, predictable or obvious so top marks to Hobbs for that. The book is very descriptive and informative. Some might say too informative as Hobbs goes into great detail about everything although for me this made the story all the more intriguing and you actually learn something. I'd love to know how he knows some of the stuff discussed in this book.

One of my favourite authors is Lorenzo Carcaterra and I got that feel reading this book, the characters Carcaterra creates to me feel real and original and that's the feeling I got with the Ghostman. He feels like a character Hobbs has put real effort into, and he's a character I enjoyed reading about immensely and had no trouble rooting for when he finds his life in danger numerous times in the book. Often you can find these sorts of characters to be quite cold, or hard to relate to but that's not the case here.

So engrossed was I in the book that I reached its conclusion long before I was ready to finish the book. I finished it and was left wanting more. I only hope book two is going to feature the Ghostman as well, it would be a great shame if not as he is such a brilliant character and one that I loved reading about. Either way I'm very excited to see what Hobbs comes up with next, as he's an author I can definitely see being amongst the greats after a few more releases. An absolutely gripping read that I have no trouble in recommending.

Source: Won in giveaway.

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