Friday, November 05, 2010

REVIEW: "The Ghost of a Flea" by John Brinling

Roger, momentarily transfixed, could only
stare at the blood thirsty demon’s strong naked body, short neck,
and sadistic face. Half-human, half-animal, its scaly skin
glistened a green, dusky gold. One murderous eye was in profile,
and its eager tongue whisked out of its mouth toward a bloody cup
held in its clawed left hand. The grotesque creature stood against
a starry background traversed by a flaming meteor. 
"What is it?"
Gideon waited an infuriatingly long time
before answering. "The Ghost of a Flea."

Strange things are happening in Roger's life. His wife is saying bizarre things she later denies, his coworkers are sending him on wild goose chases, he's missing things that mysteriously appear right where he's just looked. Nothing is making sense anymore, and Roger questions his sanity. His close friend introduces him to a mysterious and entrancing woman who confuses and intrigues Roger. When that close friends meets an unexpected end, Roger's life goes into overdrive. Soon, the little, nagging things turn into big, baffling things until, suddenly, Roger is running for his life with a mysterious, alluring woman by his side. Who is behind it all? Who else is involved? What are they all after? Most importantly, who can he trust? Someone is chasing Roger and will stop at nothing to get what Roger has. Problem is, Roger doesn't know what they're after, or even who "they" are. Every new development throws him further into confusion, until Roger is desperate just to stay alive. 

I was immediately drawn into the strange happenings in Roger's life. I tried to figure out what was going on right along with him. Each new development drew me further into the mystery, and the plot winds and twists in a confusing thrill ride. I was never sure what to expect next, and I was almost always surprised. Although the book took me on a few more turns than I thought necessary, I followed along on every topsy-turvy twist, anxious to find out where it would all end. 

The characters in the story were well-described and easy to picture.  Roger is the only character who is what he seems, and every other character is under suspicion (correctly or incorrectly) at some point in the story. There are many levels to each character, and the story peels away each layer like an unending onion. Roger doesn't know who to trust, and neither does the reader, which makes for a series of guesses and false starts as you attempt figure out what's going on even as Roger does the same. 

On the downside, I do think this book could stand another quick edit, as there were several small errors (you're for your, there for their, etc), and occasionally some missing or misplaced quotation marks. Taken separately, each error was minor, and book was not at all riddled with them. Taken together, there were enough that I did a double take here and there. Towards the ending of the book, I felt there was an excess of exclamation marks in places that sometimes surprised me. ! Although I noticed these things, and may have been momentarily thrown a bit, they didn't detract from the complete story.

Overall, this is a fun read that maintains your interest. Just like a roller coaster, it has high points of excitement, followed by momentary lulls as it begins the climb again. Just like a roller coaster, it may have one or two climbs too many for some; nevertheless, a thrilling ride. 

4 /5 stars


Maria said...

Pretty soon some of these authors are going to hire you as editor!!!

Sounds like a very good book--unique and interesting.

GraceKrispy said...

Ha! That's what my husband said, too. He was even figuring out a price for editing until I told him to stop. :D If I ever wanted to become an editor, I think I'd have to work with books I didn't enjoy, or maybe non-fiction. Otherwise, I'd be so into the story, I may miss some of the mistakes.

Maria said...

Having edited, the answer is sort of inbetween--you make two passes at it! Some editors make 4, but those are most useful AFTER initial changes have been made and a proof or copyedit is done!!!