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Monday, June 8, 2009

Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Ghostwriter (FaithWords, May 28, 2009) by Travis Thrasher.

About the Author

It was during third grade after a teacher encouraged him in his writing and as he read through The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis that Travis decided he wanted to be a writer. The dream never left him, and allowed him to fulfill that dream of writing fulltime in 2007.

Travis Thrasher is the author of numerous works of fiction, including his most personal and perhaps his deepest work, Sky Blue, that was published in summer of 2007. This year he has to novels published, Out of the Devil’s Mouth, and a supernatural thriller, Isolation.

Travis is married to Sharon and they are the proud parents of Kylie, born in November, 2006, and Hailey, a Shih-Tzu that looks like an Ewok. They live in suburban Chicago.

Stop by and visit Travis at his Blog where you can sign up to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Also check out the radio interview with Travis on Monday June 8th at BlogTalkRadio/FaithWords

About the Book

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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ghostwriter, go HERE

My Review

I finally finished this one (not the book's fault; I'm just too busy) and feel a little numb now that the ride is over. Wow! Can Travis write. Sometimes he's poetic, other times creepy, and often suspenseful. He wore a lot of hats during this production: he wrote nail-biting scenes of suspense and then thoughtful, sensitive, even literary scenes that tugged at the heartstrings. He knew just the right mood to paint at the right time—that requires a great deal of talent. I felt for Dennis because of the loss of his wife, Lucy. I also felt his guilt because of his plagiarism. I felt the chill run down his back when Cillian left another chilling reminder that he wasn't going away.

The main plot reminded me of Stephen King's Misery, which I haven't read, but I did see an edited version on TV. Only in this case, Cillian isn't a "number-one fan." He's a fan out for revenge because Dennis stole his story—and get revenge he does.

While I can appreciate the talent that went into writing this book, the longer I read this novel, the more I remembered why I stay away from Stephen King. The disturbing content here is not far off the mark. I know that Travis loves Stephen King, so perhaps he takes my comments as compliments. The parts of the novel that were the darkest and most disturbing to me weren't about Dennis's problems or his visions or even about Cillian's revenge; they were about this character named Bob, who apparently delights in killing people. Often the violence is implied, but at least once it's in the reader's face when Bob apparently kills Cillian. (I say "apparently" because it's a little confusing whether Cillian is dead or not.) Pages 207-208 in which Cillian is apparently being carved like a pumpkin literally made my stomach feel sick. If that was Travis's intent, he definitely succeeded.

Overall, I was amazed by Travis's writing and storytellilng talent. But in the end the novel became something I wasn't expecting: a pretty dark and disturbing tale that went over the line in the violence department for me. I love suspense, but horror is simply not my thing. This doesn't mean the book is bad; it just means it's not what I normally choose to read. I still respect the craftmanship and skill required to make the book work. At the same time, I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this book had I known what was inside.

In my opinion, the novel should have been marketed as a secular book. I didn't see enough spiritual depth to warrant the tag of Christian fiction, and the appearance of mild language would push the envelope for many CBA readers. Either way, Travis is an exceptionally talented author. If you are looking for a sanitized version of Stephen King, then this might be exactly what you're looking for.

*There is mild language throughout, and some scenes contain uncomfortable descriptions of violence.

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