Tuesday, April 15, 2014

'The Perfect Ghost'

I have admired Linda Barnes' 'Carlotta Carlyle' mystery series for quite some time now, so I was a bit intrigued when I learned that she wrote a story that stands on its own.  No Carlotta.  No series.

Just 'The Perfect Ghost'.  And it's near perfection, in my opinion.

It's all 'twisty-and-turny', mysterious and decadent. It's about actors and directors, writers and researchers.  It has a narrator with a unique voice, a woman who finds the courage to get under her subject's skin and discover the truth.

Of course, the truth is startling.  Especially for an agoraphobic person who was too timid to realize (or didn't want to know) the truth in the first place. But that's when the story turns around.  Too bad it happened so close to the end.

Mousy and shy Em Moore is the writing half of a celebrity biography team.  Teddy, her charismatic partner, does the interviewing and 'schmoozing'. Once lovers, their partnership has settled into successful careers.  When Teddy dies in a car accident, Em is devastated and unsure as to how to proceed with her life.  But finding her inner courage, she decides to finish the interviews for their current book.  Her journey takes her to the home of famous film director/actor Garrett Malcolm, where she pursues the interviews...and tries to find out just why the police are investigating Teddy's car accident. As Em becomes more confident, she finds skeletons in Garrett's closet, secrets that Garrett and his associates are desperate to keep hidden.

The story flowed beautifully, and the false assumptions made me want to wrap Em in my arms to keep her safe.  But Barnes is clever; Em didn't need my sympathy.  She finds her bravery and pushes herself to the limit.

And the limit was quite....surprising.

Read 'The Perfect Ghost'.  Stay with it.  

The ending is delicious in its own little way.  Let's hope that this is the beginning of yet another wonderful mystery series.

Author Linda Barnes
'The Perfect Ghost', by Linda Barnes, and published by Minotaur Books (a division of St. Martin's Press) is available at your library and independent bookstore.  ISBN 9781250023636


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