By Roger Hobbs
Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95, 321 pages
In the criminal underworld, a ghostman is someone whose singular talent is not just getting away from the scene of a crime but completely vanishing from it. Jack, the narrator of this tightly-written suspense novel is that person; a world-class armed robber and professional impostor who simply disappears into the background.
“There are maybe thirty people on earth who know I exist.”
It’s an isolated and complex life, interrupted by periods of violence and fear, where no one can be trusted. After a casino heist in Atlantic City goes terribly wrong, Jack is called in to find the stolen million dollar payload before it is programmed to explode. Jack has to move quickly and invisibly to stay out of the hands of two rival crime lords and the FBI. He also reflects on a previous robbery in Kuala Lumpur where a fatal mistake was made that nearly ended his career. The writing, dialogue, action and character development in this first novel by a recent Reed College graduate is first-rate. It’s not often that a thriller grabs hold of the reader from the first sentence and never lets up. Ghostman does. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen