Book Review: Paper Ghosts – Julia Heaberlin ****

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Back in 2015 Heaberlin had one of the hits of the year with the darkly sinister Black Eyed Susans. If you enjoyed her deeply immersive story you won’t be disappointed by Paper Ghosts. In fact my only real gripe with this book is with the cover. The UK publishers have chosen to go with another take on the Black Eyed Susans artwork. I can appreciate why as it is a draw for the casual reader when they see it on a bookstore table or a supermarket shelf and it reminds them of that great book they read on the beach etc. However the original image for the US release is just so perfect and so evocative of the book that it is a crime not to use on the cover. I’ve chosen to go with the US cover and you can see the UK version on the book link below.

Carl Louis Feldman is an old man. He was once a well known photographer and had a book of his most famous pictures published. When he was tried for murder and acquitted his career gradually slid away from him. He has now been diagnosed with dementia and is living in a state care facility. His daughter has been visiting him and has convinced the care home manager that a short trip with her father would be good for him.

Except that she is not his daughter and if she gets her way Carl will never be going home. Grace was twelve when her older sister Rachel disappeared and she has spent the last decade trying to find out what happened to her sister. Convinced that Carl is the man responsible Grace sets out on a ghoulish road trip to prove her suspicions. Of course, if what she suspects is correct, Grace is putting herself in incredible danger.

Paper Ghosts is a beautifully written book. It feels like you are on the road trip with them as they traverse Texas staying in motels and quirky little off the radar towns. Heaberlin’s writing is so evocative that you can almost taste the smokey BBQ tang in the air and feel the deep sense of foreboding. As the book tumbles towards its shocking conclusion you’ll forget all your other obligations as you need to find out the truth.

Supplied by Penguin UK and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication Date: April 19 2018. 332 pages.

#PaperGhosts #NetGalley

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