Ghostheart Paperback – Jan 17 2005
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I think he is terrific, an author well worth watching and recommending.―Sarah Broadhurst
About the Author
R.J. Ellory is the critically acclaimed author of thirteen novels including the bestselling A Quiet Belief in Angels, which was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and won the Nouvel Observateur Crime Fiction Prize.
Ellory's novels have been translated into twenty-six languages, and he has won the USA Excellence Award for Best Mystery, the Strand Magazine Best Thriller 2009, the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year for A Simple Act of Violence, the St Maur Prize, the Avignon Readers' Prize, the Livre de Poche Award and the Quebec Laureat. He has been shortlisted for a further thirteen awards in numerous countries, including four Daggers from the UK Crime Writers' Association.
Despite the American setting of his novels, Ellory is British and currently lives in England with his wife and son.
To find out more visit www.rjellory.com
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Not so in the case of Ghostheart. The accolades and synopsis are well desverved and accurate. This is a really great storyline which has a few catch-you-out moments just to keep you guessing who is really who that little bit longer.
As with other Ellory books that I've read, the fleshed out characters become so real that you get involved in their "lives" and just want to keep reading their story till you've got right to the last page.
This is my third RJ Ellory novel and I am left wanting to read the remaining books in his catalogue. His stories are just so interesting, well paced and filled with such believable characters that you can become lost in the fantasy american lives he's describing.
A great story and a damn good read.
Annie O'Neill is a single person who owns a used bookstore in New York City. Her father died when she was young and her mother when she was 17. Her life is pretty uneventful until an elderly man, Robert Franklin Forrester, appears at the store with a chapter from a manuscript for her along with letters from her father to her mother that her mother had never received.
The main book is set in the present with another storyline running alongside spanning the years from Auschwitz to America in the sixties. The past and the present are both equally gripping.
A book full of vengence and betrayal - if you haven't read it yet, believe me it's worth reading!
GHOSTHEART was initially published in 2004 and is being released in hardcover in the United States for the first time. I would guess that it was written a good three or four years before that, given that the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers is not even afforded a mention during the narrative. eBooks are also the stuff of science fiction, more or less. As a result, the story seems older than it really is, which, in the instant case, is a good thing.
The opening passages introduce an attractive and literate but lonely 30-year-old woman named Annie O’Neill, who lives in New York and owns a bookstore called The Reader’s Rest on the Upper West Side. Originally owned by Annie’s long-absent father, The Reader’s Rest is the type of bookstore that anyone who enjoys reading would love to have around the corner from them, a jumble of unorganized used hardcovers and paperbacks that demand browsing and an open-mindedness that eschews genre-shopping. Annie has a couple of older male friends who are a bit odd but loyal and harmless.
Lest one thinks that they have stumbled into Howards End, things pick up when an elderly, enigmatic gentleman named Robert Franklin Forrester enters the store and introduces himself as a friend of Annie’s father. He offers Annie pieces of her past, doled out weekly in the form of letters from her father to her more recently deceased mother, as well as a manuscript. The latter, chapter by chapter, is an account of a man who took three different names over the course of his lifetime and went from a concentration camp survivor during World War II to a New York crime lord in the 1950s and ’60s. This book within a book is not for the faint-hearted, especially in its opening chapter, which is unrelentingly cringe-inducing in its descriptions of inhumanity. Still, it provides a counterpoint to the steady, monotonous hum of Annie’s existence, which threatens to quietly drown her in its own ennui.
However, that frozen lake is broken with the appearance of another customer, a man named David Quinn, who upends Annie’s passive social life and shows her things she has never seen before. Forrester, meanwhile, makes his weekly appearances, with more chapters of the manuscript and occasional letters, all the while seemingly putting Annie off when she raises the subject of her father. There is much to be revealed, and, as Annie soon learns, there are some things better left unlearned. Or is there such a thing? The book, in its way, provides the answer.
GHOSTHEART is definitely climax-driven. Ellory sets off a chain reaction at the end of the book that is still merrily exploding as the reader reaches the last page. While not representative of Ellory’s other work, it is beautifully written. I’m not entirely in agreement with its classification as a thriller --- certainly it is a domestic drama, with a twist or five --- but, like The Reader’s Rest, it is probably best not to quibble over genres. This is not a book I would reflexively give to someone as an introduction to Ellory, but those, like myself, who insist on reading everything he writes ultimately will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub