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Publisher's Summary

In this tantalizing tale of Victorian ghost stories and family secrets, timid, solitary librarian Gerard Freeman lives for just two things: his elusive pen pal Alice and a story he found hidden in his mother's drawer years ago.
Written by his great-grandmother Viola, it hints at his mother's role in a sinister crime. As he discovers more of Viola's chilling tales, he realizes that they might hold the key to finding Alice and unveiling his family's mystery - or will they bring about his untimely death, as they seem to foretell?
Harwood's astonishing, assured debut shows us just how dangerous family skeletons - and stories - can be.
©2013 John Harwood; 2013 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Die Falknerin on 09-12-14

A modern master of the Gothic

In 2004, I took "The Ghost Writer" on a long, dreaded flight. By the time the plane landed, I knew I would be reading everything Harwood published for the rest of my life.

Listening to Simon Vance's performance was such a treat. It's like when you listen to a piece of music and love it on an emotional level, then listen again to find the deeper structure and beauty. "The Ghost Writer" is all the more impressive ten years after.

Harwood plays fair and respects his reader. All the clues are there but he expects you to pay attention and think things through. His foreshadowing is subtle and well-timed. There is no dumping of information or meaningless backstory, and every scene contributes to the advancement of the plot. His writing is masterful, and as a poet, some of his imagery is arresting, but his prose never calls attention to itself. Add to that compelling characters and layers of intriguing mysteries waiting to be solved, and you've got a writer worth reading every time.

In a world of overwritten, self-conscious twaddle we are told is "literature," modern masters like Harwood shine all the more brightly. He provides everything I read fiction for and I hope he will continue to write novels for many years to come.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Alicia K. Russell on 02-16-14

Spellbinding... left something to be be desired.

There was so much about this novel that I absolutely loved. I spent most of the novel awestruck at the well entangled composition. Like many other reviews, the last chapter left me feeling incomplete. I read and reread it and finally drew my own conclusions. The ending didn't by any means ruin the rest of this spellbinding novel. I would still highly recommend it.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By barjil on 07-07-14

Disappointing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I was so looking forward to this book, having loved 'The Asylum'. But I found 'The Ghost Writer' almost impossible to finish with its extraordinary mixture of gothic fantasy and supposedly real life. I plodded on till the end because I felt that the whole thing must eventually come together and I suppose in a way it did, but I was left feeling it had been a total waste of time. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

What will your next listen be?

'The Killer Next Door'!

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Simon Vance is an excellent reader but I think that even his skill couldn't save the book; maybe it worked better on the page

Do you think The Ghost Writer needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

NO! See above.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By david on 06-25-15

No spoilers

I did see the end coming but only just, it was a good story and kept me guessing and puzzling.

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