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Friday, June 14, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Perfect Ghost by Linda Barnes- Feature and Review


Mousy and shy to the point of agoraphobic, Em Moore is the writing half of a celebrity biography team. Her charismatic partner, Teddy, does the interviewing and the public schmoozing. But Em's dependence on Teddy runs deeper than just the job—Teddy is her bridge to the world and the main source of love in her life. So when Teddy dies in a car accident, Em is devastated, alone in a world she doesn't understand. The only way she can honor his memory and cope with his loss is to finish the interviews for their current book—an "autobiography" of renowned and reclusive film director Garrett Malcolm.

Ensconced in a small cottage near Malcolm's Cape Cod home, Em slowly builds the courage to interview Malcolm the way Teddy would have. She finds Malcolm at once friendlier, more intimidating, and much sexier than she had imagined. But Em soon starts hearing whispers of skeletons in the Malcolm family closet. And then the police begin looking into the accident that killed Teddy, and Em's control on her life—tenuous at best—is threatened.

In The Perfect Ghost, a stunning breakout novel from the beloved author of the Carlotta Carlyle mystery series, Linda Barnes slowly winds the strings tighter and tighter, leading the reader ever more deeply into the lives of her characters with pitch-perfect pacing and mesmerizing prose.



The Perfect GhostThe Perfect Ghost by Linda Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Perfect Ghost by Linda Barnes is a 2013  Minotaur Books/ St. Martin's Press publication.

Em and Teddy a ghostwriting team- Teddy does the interviews and publicity, while the agoraphobic Em, does the actual writing. They were working on a biography of the great Garrett Malcolm, an Academy award winner turned director.

 But, before the book could be completed, Teddy dies in a car accident. The publisher sought to cancel the project, but somehow Em manages to rise to the occasion and pushes herself to complete the book.

Em tells the story of how she slowly comes out of her shell and fights her inner demons and fears to finish this book, in the form of a journal written to her by her beloved Teddy.

As Em begins to listen to Teddy's tapes, and begins interviewing the great actor, she falls under Garrett's spell completely.

In the background of the story is Garrett's work on a production of Hamlet and the parallels to what Em is doing while conducting interviews with Garrett, while transcribing the tapes.

Also, we have some questions about Teddy's single car accident. The police have suspicions that it could have been a suicide or that foul play might have been involved. Not only that, Em begins to uncover secrets involving Garrett and his marriage to a famous actress and the mother of his only child -secrets that Garrett would have done anything to keep out of the public eye. Was Garrett afraid Teddy was about to expose him?

Many of you may know Linda Barnes as the author of the Carlotta Carlyle novels. This one may feel like a big departure by comparison.

Em, is a fragile little thing. I often felt proud of her for working so hard to overcome her fears and forge ahead in a dog eat dog world of powerful men. I worried about her when it was obvious that she was being taken in by the allure of having intimate dealings with the famous, powerful and wealthy actor.  I also felt sorry for her as she dealt with the obvious blow of Teddy's death. I was angry on her behalf when men tried to control and manipulate her, using her illness as a way to keep her under their thumb or intimidate her.

The book is written in first person, in the form of a journal. There are also chapters that are written in "interview" form as Em transcribes the tapes Teddy made.

Em turns into an amateur sleuth after she catches on that Garrett is trying to control what goes into this book and is obviously keeping secrets.

There are really two mysteries at work here. One is in regards to Teddy's death and one in regard to Garrett and his many secrets.

This was an absorbing tale, easy to get into and a very fast read. I was completely taken in by all the twists and turns, which kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat.

A tense, dark, edgy sort of mystery. I really liked it.





Linda Barnes is an American mystery writer, born and raised in Detroit, and graduated from Boston University"s School of Theater. She is best known for her series featuring Carlotta Carlyle, a 6'1" redheaded detective from Boston. Carlotta Carlyle is often compared to the hard-boiled female detectives created by Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. Her new novel, "The Perfect Ghost," which will be published in April, 2013, is her first stand-alone mystery.

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