Linda Barnes is best known for her award-winning Carlotta Carlyle novels. Now she returns with an intriguing premise for a crime novel in The Perfect Ghost.
Em Moore is the quieter, writing half of the ghost-writing “autobiography” team of T E Blakmore. Her partner, Teddy Blake, the face of the team with his charismatic personality and winning way during interviews of their subjects, has perished in a car accident.
Despite panic attacks and agoraphobia, Em pursues finishing their most recent contract with the actor, director and filmmaker Garrett Malcolm, and travels to his lavish compound on Cape Cod. The son of a family with theatrical ties, Malcolm is known for his attention to detail and his way with women. A widower with an only daughter, Malcolm wins over the impressionable Em.
It’s hard for Em to come out of her shell but she persists, using learned coping mechanisms, and soon winning Malcolm’s interest and finally his respect. She feverishly pursues their remaining interviews while composing the book, all the while distracted by the persistent questions of a local police detective who suspects Teddy’s accident was not quite so accidental.
Along the way she finds herself reluctantly introduced to a local gossip-monger and tries to decipher the clues he’s collected that point to a dark secret Malcolm is hiding.
Told in Em’s narrative to Teddy, we see the action through her eyes and the unfolding of a story that will leave readers with raised eyebrows, and in a final unseen twist, shocked at the ending.
Barnes just a great job folding readers into Em’s world, who will be caught up in her story. She uses devices like police reports, newspaper clippings and the transcripts of some of Teddy’s interviews to weave a compelling story that will leave readers totally unprepared for its surprising climax.