By Bob Gage
Pikeminnow Publishing, $11.95, 96 pages

As an industry veteran, Bob Gage’s self-aware and often times entertaining look at the ugly underbelly of collection agencies introduces us to the faceless ghoul: that washed-up, angry guy who calls your home at least once a day, every day, to hound you for money. The ghoul in Gage’s view isn’t your ordinary bill collector—he (or she) is a highly predictable, highly volatile machine—programmed to do one thing, and one thing only: threaten/harass/scare you into handing over cash. Gage provides insight into ways to “beat” the ghoul, including explanations of rules and laws around what a bill collector can and can’t legally get away with doing or saying.

Ghoul—bill collector run akom; syn. the bill collector, the essence of collections, where souls are lost.

While Ghoul is revealing in some ways, it lacks substance as a true non-fiction book: this is not a collection agency tell-all. Rather, Gage pokes fun at the industry, and uses inline commentary to make the book a quick, light-hearted read, with a few great nuggets of important information scattered throughout. Gage doesn’t take his chosen profession too seriously, and the reader shouldn’t take the title of the book too seriously, either.

Reviewed by Alexandra Walford