Ghostwriter Paperback – May 28 2009
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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, TheChristianManifesto.com)
"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." (Infuzemag.com)
"Powerful and impacting. Thrasher has done it again." (IntheLibraryReviews.net 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
This was a review copy. My opinions are fully my own.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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]
Geneva is a fairly tony suburb of Chicago--forty miles outside the city--and has a storied history, it's in the Fox Valley right on the Fox River (with neighboring small cities of St. Charles and Batavia), and it's a superb setting for a horror story. Travis, living in nearby Aurora, set his novel in Geneva, with pivotal scenes at the Geneva dam, the Fabyan Park, Third Street, and even Geneva Commons shopping area (who else but Thrasher could make me think of zombies while I'm shopping for a hammer at Home Depot on Randall Road!). If you live in the Fox Valley, this book is a must-read by definition.
But Travis Thrasher impressed me on a different level--a deeper level. The book is a psychological thriller/horror novel, and other reviewers have given plot details in the other Amazon.com reviews. I'm a very critical reader--I'll admit it, unlike some, if I dislike any book fifty pages in, it's hitting the back of the wastebasket. I've read so many novels that are roaming, hard-to-follow, poorly written and just plain boring.
In Thrasher's world, the main characters allow us into their minds, especially Dennis Shore, the lonely author and main character in Ghostwriter. Dennis has harrowing experiences brought on by his writer's block and his theft of another writer's unpublished manuscript. Sound trivial? If ghosts jumping into the river, dead memories from Dennis's past novels, creaking doors and oddly lit rooms, fistfights on Third Street, and dead animals on the doorstep make your skin crawl, get ready for a lightening ride in Ghostwriter. Who is real? Who is fiction in the pages of Dennis Shore's books? And who is a ghost? These questions will lurk in your mind as you surf the compact chapters in this 355 page novel. The answer...read it and find out.
Like Dennis Shore--and perhaps this is where I can relate to Ghostwriter on a personal level--I don't believe in ghosts or bogeymen, and black cats don't give me the heebie-jeebies. So, why would I be moved by this book? Two reasons: (1) Thrasher always makes the story plausible, always "real", never contrived, never "Nightmare on Elm Street". Ghostwriter is tangible. (2) The basic story is human--Dennis loses his wife to cancer, and then struggles to regain purpose and balance in his life. The supernatural story, told in a believable fashion, is draped gently over this basic human storyframe. A similar book, equally well-written, is Stephen King's Bag of Bones. Yes, I would place this book in a similar category.
If Peter Benchley's "Jaws" is the quintessential "summer beach read", then Ghostwriter is highly recommended as an enthralling, entertaining and spooky autumn page-ripper.
Still others think it's the best way to depict the battle between good and evil, reminding us that too often evil wins, and that "good" can be far more frightening than we ever imagined. Regardless, most everyone can agree that storytelling with a purpose is the best possible kind, and that's what Travis Thrasher offers in "Ghostwriter." This isn't a chilling story for the sake of thrills; Thrasher writes with a deeper purpose.
Dennis Shore lives every aspiring writer's dream: the life of a bestselling author with a rabid fan base and several movie adaptations in his pocket. His novels have sold millions, he's made a living from channeling his darker fears into compelling stories, and his ever fervent imagination is always ready to churn out another bestseller.
Until his wife is diagnosed with cancer and dies shortly after. Until the words dry up and go away. Suddenly, everything that made Dennis feel special - his wife - and made him noteworthy - his creativity - are gone. And yet, he still faces demands from his agent, publisher, and fans. Most importantly, there are his own demands: that he be a strong father for his daughter, and most importantly: that he BE Dennis Shore. Author. Wordsmith. Master storyteller. None of which are true anymore.
In a moment of desperation he comes across a completed manuscript sent to him by a fan asking for critique. It's good. Very good. So good, Dennis does the unthinkable - claims it as his own. Now, just as "his" newest novel hits the stands to great acclaim, the true author of the manuscript turns up. He's angry. Twisted. Driven by cruel desires and a need for revenge. Worse yet, Cillian Reed will take Dennis places far darker than any the author has ever imagined; places he may never return from.
Thrasher takes what could easily have been a cautionary tale and crafts a thriller that asks some insightful questions about the nature of storytelling, and the value of stories shaped from true, personal fears. Along the way, he uses Dennis Shore to ponder matters of faith and destiny, wondering about why some suffer so much when they don't seem to deserve it. As a writer, Thrasher's talent speaks for itself. He shows a deft touch with his narrative, using the slightest nudges to misdirect and create suspense, and at times he displays a subtle lyricism that's a pleasure to read. Readers can expect more good things from this author.
I've been reading other reviews and have seen that other readers have found this book too gory, very dark, and quite scary. To be honest, I didn't feel that way at all. I have read other Christian fiction books that are way more gorier than this one. In fact, compared to books I've read that have people being gored up on doors or having their skin peeled off, this book paled in that factor. I will admit the storyline is very creepy. Cillian's character is one that gets under your skin and makes you very uncomfortable due to his obsession with having Dennis tell the truth. However on the other hand Dennis is also a character that you could despise because of his actions. To me that is more the horror of the story, the fact that you get so desperate that you do anything to save someone you love, even if it means going against everything you believe in.
A funny note: when I first picked up the book and flipped through it, the first thing I saw was Dennis Shore's bibliography. I was immediately confused and thought the publisher had inserted the wrong page from another book inside this one. Luckily though, I turned that page and all was made right.
I really enjoyed reading this book as it is a page turner and kept me on the edge of my seat. If you're in the mood for a thriller and you're looking for a new author to try, you must read this book. I'm looking forward to reading Travis' back list and whatever new he's cooking up.
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