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Ghostwriter: A Novel [Paperback]

Travis Thrasher
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 28 2009
For years Dennis Shore has thrilled readers with his spooky bestselling novels. Now a widower, Dennis is finally alone in his house, his daughter attending college out of state. When he's stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate. Against better judgment, he claims someone else's writing as his own, accepting undeserved accolades for the stolen work. He thinks he's gotten away with it . . . until he's greeted by a young man named Cillian Reed--the true author of the stolen manuscript.
What begins as a minor case of harassment quickly spirals out of control. As Cillian's threats escalate, Dennis finds himself on the brink of losing his career, his sanity, and even his life. The horror he's spent years writing about has arrived on his doorstep, and Dennis has nowhere to run.

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"Isolation proved that Thrasher has what it takes to scare the wits out of his audience while challenging them at the same time. Ghostwriter takes Thrasher's writing to a whole new level of terror and heart. . . . Ghostwriter is the kind of gem that comes along far too seldom; displaying the kind of writing that deserves to be devoured by the masses." (Jake Chism,

"Thrasher just keeps getting better." (Publishers Weekly)

"Thrasher . . . demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre. Like Stephen King, Thrasher pits flawed but likable characters against evil forces that at first seem escapable but gradually take on a terrifying ubiquity." (Publishers Weekly on Isolation)

"Honest . . . driven by authentic, engaging characters." (Publishers Weekly on The Promise Remains)

"Sky Blue entertains, it makes you think, and it makes you feel." (

"Powerful and impacting. Thrasher has done it again." ( on Sky Blue)

"Give Thrasher credit: his debut novel, The Promise Remains, was one of the nicest surprises in CBA fiction last year, and this second offering is a notch above the first." (Publishers Weekly on The Watermark)

About the Author

Born in Knoxville, TN, Travis Thrasher knew in third grade he wanted to be a writer and wrote his first novel in ninth grade. Tyndale House Publishers signed his first novel, The Promise Remains, which released in 2000. This is Travis's eleventh published novel. He and his wife, Sharon, live with their daughter in Chicago, IL.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Reason for Reading: Ever since reading Ted Dekker, I'm wide open to the Christian Fiction/Horror/Thriller genre and this sounded right up my alley.

Dennis Shore has enjoyed a successful career as a horror writer but now, a widower, with his daughter off to college he is suffering a terrible case of writer's block and can't start his next book. In the meantime, his latest book has just hit the shelves and is as popular as ever. This is when he starts receiving e-mails from a crazed fan accusing him of plagiarizing that book from him. The emails turn into text messages and phone calls. Then parcels start arriving and other more threatening events happen as he meets his accuser, who just happens to really be the true author of Shore's latest bestseller. Dennis's imaginary world of horror is turning into a real life horror story.

This wasn't bad, not great, but okay. The Christian fiction angle of it is really not a big deal within the story and is stuck into the climax and denouement of the book's plot. This, I guess, is a way to appeal to both mainstream and Christian audiences but it feels forced, stuck on at the end. I'm a Christian reader of the book but I found myself shaking my head at the corny conversion. That aside, the horror story was quite well-written. An interesting and creepy story that is hard to make sense of at first. The reader is as confused as the main character wondering whether he is being stalked by a madman, visited by the supernatural, loosing his mind or a combination of all three. There are some fairly gruesome bits not for the faint of heart. The writing style does leave a lot to the imagination but enough details are given that you know exactly what happened and of course, being CF, there is no cursing.
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Ghostwriter is the kind of novel that really gets into the head of the main character, Dennis Shore, a celebrity author grieving his wife's death and suffering from writer's block. Thrasher does a fine job of making us understand the plight of a father, husband, and celebrity who has just lost his wife - it's poignant, powerful, and it hits you at your spiritual core. The blurring of reality and illusion/delusion made for a scary read, which reminded me of his previous novel Isolation, which I thought was outstanding. Thrasher's got a real knack for doing "creepy" in a visually cinematic way. This one's a definite page-turner: a psychological horror with enough chills and twists that kept me guessing till the very end. There were a couple of grammatical errors here and there, and the plot is a little uneven in the middle, but if you like psychological horror, Ghostwriter is worth the read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do You Believe in Ghosts? June 8 2009
By Frank Redman - Published on
Dennis Shore is a successful horror novelist but has suffered one of life's greatest tragedies in the past year, the death of his wife. "When stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate." He plagiarizes an unstable fan's manuscript, setting off a chain of events and the pursuit of violent revenge that threatens his sanity and the lives of his daughter and friends.

This was a difficult review for me to write. I'm a fan of the horror genre, but loathe the excessive profanity, sexual content, and gratuitous gore that so many writers in the genre depend on to make an impact with the reader. I had not previously read a Travis Thrasher novel, so I was excited to see what he had to offer.

It would be an injustice to the readers of this review, to myself, and ultimately to the author if I merely stated "This book is great--read it," and was negligent in revealing some disappointment. The fan in me loved this story. The critic in me found some minor negatives.

I was concerned a few pages in whether I would truly enjoy it. The story took a while to develop and incidents occurred that seemed disjointed from the plot. The dialog felt forced. There are some editing errors, for example, the wrong pronoun used (p.17 "Did you threaten you?" The first "you" should be "she."). To the author's defense, it is tricky starting a novel, establishing the plot and characters, and simultaneously hooking the reader. If you stop reading this book because of these flaws, you'll miss out on what simply can be defined as an extraordinarily good story. I'm incredibly grateful I stuck with it.

Yet there was still one more thing that frustrated me--I couldn't wait to see what happened next! This... was a good feeling. For thrill-seekers, GHOSTWRITER is very much like the beginning of a monster rollercoaster. After climbing that first big hill (having time to look around, check your watch, shift around in your seat...), the rest flies at you in an eye-watering rush and your focus is dominated by what's coming in the next stage of the ride. Kudos, Mr. Thrasher.

When you read a scary story and you're not really sure what's going on, but just when you think you've nailed it, something unexpected happens and your perception is shattered, that is the outline of a great horror story. That's a great story, period. That is what GHOSTWRITER is.

It's easy to develop compassion for Dennis Shore and identify with his grief, lack of faith, and his struggles with what's real and what's not. While it's a remarkably frightening story, it is also an emotional love story. The reader feels Shore's nightmarish fears and also his gut-wrenching sorrow.

Shore bounces in and out of lucidity so the reader cannot always discern what is real and what is the product of his poor mental health. This element can be difficult to pull off while mitigating reader confusion, but Thrasher makes good use of the technique, effectively keeping the reader guessing.

While this may sound like just a scary love story, do not be deceived. It is a full-on horror novel. Unspeakable supernatural evil tries to destroy the very essence of Shore's life with an unhealthy serving of shocking violence.

GHOSTWRITER is an emotionally intricate masterwork of how evil can destroy us and love can redeem us. Thrasher has proved to me to be an exceptional storyteller.

Do you believe in ghosts?

[Rating: 1-5 Stars]
Plot: 5
Character: 5
Dialog: 4
Setting: 4
Theme: 5
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing...a little gory for me Feb. 12 2010
By MEGAN - Published on
I like Travis Thrasher. I got one of his books from the library a while back (Admission) and after finishing it, pulled all the titles we had at the bookstore into my hold pile. This is the second book I've read by him. It was entertaining, but not my favorite. I like suspense and mystery, but horror is really not my thing. Thrasher spins a good tale; he is definitely a skillful writer. Ghostwriter was scary, but a little too dark and gory for my personal taste.
Bestselling author Dennis Shore loses his wife and finds he cannot write anymore. He winds up selling a stolen manuscript, later that choice haunts him, literally. Cillian Reed, the author of the manuscript confronts Dennis and begins to stalk him. Throughout Dennis is searching for hope. I did not find a strong message of Christ, but rather images of heaven and his dead wife giving him that hope.
I have not given up on Thrasher, as even in this novel, he proved he is a talented writer. I think I will stay away from any classified as horror for now. I'm not completely convinced that there is such a thing as "Christian horror," if you can suggest a book that would prove me wrong...Please do.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ghost story July 15 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read many novels by Travis Thrasher and really enjoy his unique style of writing. I find with most of his books that I am confused for most of them and only in the final pages to things become clear. Ghostwriter is no different. The story line jumps around in time and at times I had difficulty tracking when a particular scene was occurring. The protagonist is well written with flaws and real emotions. I found myself swept up in the story. The ending is climatic and well written. If you enjoy tension and suspense, check out Ghostwriter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghostwriter March 26 2012
By Stephanie - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Best-selling author Dennis Shore is in serious trouble. He is devastated by the loss of his wife and finds himself uninspired. Deadlines for his next book loom and he has nothing to turn in; not even a title. He finds himself overwhelmed and desperate. As he searches through his closet one day trying to find any shred of inspiration, he comes across a complete manuscript he had forgotten about. The problem is, the manuscript was written by a fan and sent to Dennis for review. There's nothing wrong with "borrowing" the kid's words, right? It's not like Cillian Reed would ever get published anyway, and no one will find out what Dennis has done. His next big seller is done, on time, and everyone is happy.

Or not. What happens next is the stuff nightmares are made of. Cillian goes from being a fan to an angry fan to a stalker. He not only makes Dennis Shore's life miserable, but threatens the life of Dennis' daughter.

Ghostwriter is wonderfully written. The reader is taken on the journey alongside Dennis--unsure of what is really happening and what is imagined, if in fact things are imagined. Twists abound in this book and I was satisfied (albeit creeped out!) at the end.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost vs. Writer July 26 2010
By Cheryl Stout - Published on
I enjoyed Thrasher's book "Ghostwriter" much more than I thought I was going to. I enjoy horror novels and I enjoy faith-based novels just not usually at the same time. That said, saying "Ghostwriter" is faith-based or Christian fiction is almost a stretch. It is a very creepy book, disturbing - and it takes a lot for me to say that. This book caused chills and I actually locked my doors - during the daytime - while reading it (no exaggeration). There is some pretty graphic violence, talk of a rape but no details there, a very vicious serial killer. So even though, in the ending chapters of the book, eternal salvation is barely touched on and the promise of heaven, I would be hard-pressed to shelve this with the faith-based fiction in the library. I do believe the faith sequences were handled very well but were just very sparse.

I did like the book, though. Thrasher is an excellent writer and I will be looking for more of his past written books to read plus I'll watch for his name in the future (I have read Isolation and did enjoy it, too.
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