by George Mann

Pyr, $16.00, 340 pages

New York is under siege:  people are disappearing in the clutches of mechanical raptors, residents are overwhelmed with fear, and there are rumblings of war. The Ghost, a masked vigilante secretly working with the police, protects the city from the odd and increasingly dangerous animals. Frustrated with his inability to stop the attacks, he begins working with a British spy to track down the mastermind behind the raptors and stop the attacks and the brewing war.

Ghosts of War, the second novel in the series by George Mann, starts with a concept that could have been an interesting twist on the traditional superhero tale but quickly becomes tedious and stale. The main character, like most caped crusaders, lives a double life and struggles with his pretentious cover-life. His secret life is known by only a few, primarily his servant and the police constable he works with on the sly. The villains are equally clichéd and lack complexity in their motives for orchestrating the attacks and political turmoil. The setting of the book is interesting and certainly the monsters created are intriguing, but for the most part the novel just seems like something everyone has already read.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern