Paper Ghosts

Paper Ghosts

Blurb

Paper Ghosts is a compelling read about a young girl’s struggle to be brave in the wake of her older sisters being missing and presumed dead.

The unnamed protagonist believes her sister was killed by Carl Feldman a fine art photographer and suspected serial killer living out his days in a halfway house. Does he really have early onset dementia and no memory of the supposed killings he was once accused of or is he pretending? Was he wrongly accused of those murders or is she putting her life in danger by driving around remote Texas with a serial killer?


Our Review

Paper Ghosts is a compelling read about a young girl’s struggle to be brave in the wake of her older sisters being missing and presumed dead.

The unnamed protagonist believes her sister was killed by Carl Feldman a fine art photographer and suspected serial killer living out his days in a halfway house. Does he really have early onset dementia and no memory of the supposed killings he was once accused of or is he pretending? Was he wrongly accused of those murders or is she putting her life in danger by driving around remote Texas with a serial killer?

This was the first book I had read by Julia Heaberlin and if Paper Ghosts is any indication of the standard of her books then I can declare myself a fan.

The layout of the book contributes to the story as it is interspersed with eerie photos mentioned within the book and pages from a notebook of fears written by the protagonist in an attempt to conquer her numerous fears.

The prologue is designed to pull the reader in right from the start and had the effect of making me connect with the unnamed protagonist from an early stage.

“When she was twelve, my sister fell into a grave…my sister climbed out of that grave by herself without a scratch on her.

I look back and think that’s the day, the moment, she was cursed. When she was nineteen, she disappeared, like a lasso dropped from the clouds and snatched her up.

I know it was the day I became afraid of things.”

In the present unnamed girl Is sat in a halfway house playing chess with the man she suspects of killing her sister. Carl claims not to remember her each time she visits and questions her about who she is. She tells him she is his daughter and she wants to take him on a road trip of his suspected kill sites in the hope it will jog his memory and she can discover if she has the blood of a killer in her veins.

She was 12 when her sister disappeared on her way to a babysitting job.

Carl was found by a police officer wandering around and that is how he ended up at this halfway house run by a woman named Mrs T who suspects the girl is lying but is annoyingly willing to let her drive off with a serial killer.

“The famous documentary and fine-art photographer Carl Louis Feldman, suspected of stalking young women and stealing them for years, said he couldn’t remember his own name. It took fingerprints and a sample of DNA to do that. A local hospital guessed a diagnosis of early onset dementia and sent him back out into the world.”

Carl has a list of conditions he wants the girl to fulfil if he is going to come with her including some ominous requests like a shovel that would have any normal person running for the hills. The girl is clearly not normal though and that is one of the things I love about her character. She is outwardly tough and highly skilled but inside she is the same young and vulnerable girl she was when her sister first disappeared.  

The girl plans to follow her own map of places associated with women she believes Carl has killed. Her hope is that she will be able to discover once and for all what happened to her sister. She also uses a series of photos of the victims in an attempt to get him to remember something.

“These girls – these cold cases – are my insistent, beating hope, the only way I know to jog Carl’s conscience. I have to follow their stories, because in Rachel’s case, there is no story to tell, no dot. No one remembers a girl on a silver mountain bike that morning. No one saw anything. She was simply gone.”

Along the way she forms an uneasy alliance with Carl and discovers to her horror that there are parts of him she could almost like.

“Bad people are to be found everywhere, but even among the worst there may be something good.”

Paper Ghosts is definitely a character led novel and the characters in it are outstanding and part of what makes it such a compulsive read. I can’t remember the last time I got so deeply drawn into a psychological thriller. It made me mad every time I had to put it down for other lesser things like work or eating and drinking.

The sense of anticipation built up throughout Paper Ghosts is immense and this book haunted me long after I finished it. I have been recommending it to everyone I speak to. Fantastic book, in fact it was so good that after finishing it I ordered more of the authors books.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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