Thursday, April 11, 2013

Linda Barnes' Writing Drew Me In So Much I Forgot About Solving the Murder!

The Perfect Ghost
"Jonathan," I said, "listen to me. You can't cancel this book."
The words spoken; the battle joined.
"He pushed back his chair, stood, and took three steps to the
window, where he fussed with the angle of the blinds. He had
a good view; a tiny closet of an office, but a glorious panorama
of rooftops."
"I'll finish the book," I said, "I know: Teddy's not here--but I
can do it. You can put it out as a Blakemore, or you can use my
name alone--whichever works for you."
"He kept his focus on the sky, as though waiting for a fireworks
display, "I don't know that we can go along with that..."
"Don't get yourself in a snit about repaying the advance right
away. Take your time. We all know that--"
"Time is what I need. Time to finish the book...
"I can manage the rest of the interviews," I said, and the minute
I said it, Teddy, I knew I could do it. "There aren't that many.
I have all Teddy's tapes. He was almost done when..." I swallowed.
"I have entire chapters of a finished manuscript. The early years
are complete."
"I have a contract..."

By Linda Barnes

This is my first time reading Linda Barnes. With this one book, I would definitely want to read all of her books if I had the time! There are some writers that, well, are different. Barnes is one of them. Her words come to readers poetically, so delightful to read, you want to continue just for the joy the words bring! So, this reader was totally caught off guard by the ending! Waaay Cool!

The title was part of my confusion--I thought first it was truly a ghost as a character! And Barnes allowed you to consider this, since the female character, Em Moore, continually talks to her former partner, Teddy. He was recently killed in an accident and Em is afraid. She is not only shy but is agoraphobic, rarely leaving her home. Teddy, as her partner, was the front man, the one who interviewed, the one who faced the public on every situation.

Together, they were a team that wrote under the name T. E. Blakemore, a merge of their two names... It worked perfectly; Em was the writer of all books, while Teddy handled everything else. But now, Em was alone and the team had been right in the middle of a book!

"I stood, almost stumbling in my eagerness,
and in a flash felt like an awkward teen, a starstruck
fan about to gush some unforgivable platitude. Oooh,
can I have your autograph? He put out his hand and,
as I took it, he gave me the once-over.
"I felt like some cliche ingenue in a made-for-TV-
movie: remove glasses, loosen hair from tight bun,
swell the corny orchestration in the background.
God, what did I think I was doing? Malcolm nodded
Kelver out of the room, sank into the chair, and
summoned a smile that crinkled his eyes...
"You've never done this before, have you?"
"I almost choked on a sip of water. "I know how."
Even to my ears, I sounded defensive. "Mr. Malcolm,
I want to ask you if--"
Ghosting  the autobiography of "renowned and reclusive film director Garrett Malcolm..."

The problem was that nobody knew Em Moore! And Teddy was not now able to ever bring her publicly into the partnership. Not even the publisher knew her!

Readers watch as Em mentally prepares herself to go out, to take over the project, to discuss everything with the publisher, and then go to meet the great Malcolm himself...

All the while, talking to Teddy, as if he were still with her, just this time going over what he normally would be doing rather than what she was working on...

And then she discovered that the publisher had talked to Garrett and had suggested they "slow down" the process in order to possibly break the contract...

I admired Em all the more as she took control, handled everything and, when she met with Malcolm, finally broke through with him as they talked about his upcoming work to produce and play in Hamlet. When they started quoting Shakespeare back and forth to each other, he quickly changed his mind about this young writer. Little by little he realized how much she already knew about his life and even confessed about what he and Jonathan had discussed!

But she didn't intend to fall into bed with him, move into the main house, and believe they were in love. She realized that when the beautiful women who would be in the play starting coming in that she would be overshadowed quickly...

So she took the time offered...

While Em was now on solid ground working on the book, the investigation into Teddy's death had moved from accidental to murder...

Em discovered that there was a missing tape and that Teddy had become involved with a local gossip blogger who seemed to know much more about the "behind the scenes" activities than she had ever wanted to know or planned to use in the book. Still what had Teddy been thinking? And when she discovered that the tape was with the star of an earlier hit thriller series, who she discovered drunk one day in a lonely beach house, Em found herself in the middle of much more than writing the book she had outlined in her head!

When Teddy's wife comes, offering to trade some materials she'd found in his office, Em not only did not negotiate, but grabbed the bag and ran! Of course she realized that it was to his wife's advantage for the book to be finished and get Teddy's share of the proceeds. Still, Em wasn't sure that what she had brought was all that there was--would she try something like blackmail to get even more money?

While the police are investigating, Em winds up doing the same thing--but for purposes of the completion of the book. Individuals previously interviewed were contacted in her efforts to determine what, if anything, had been still in Teddy's hands when he died...

Like I said earlier, the climatic ending totally shocked me! I hope it does you, too! Because that will confirm that this author has us so involved in Em's personal story, that we miss what really is going on! A whodunit that in a very real way emulated other similar stories...but you have to figure that out for yourself! Let me know if you do! No matter what, read this author! Her writing will provide you pleasurable hours... Solving the mystery, well, let's just say I wasn't even worried about it, I was enjoying the book itself so much! Don't miss this one!


Before writing her first stand-alone novel, The Perfect Ghost, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “a captivating story of love, rivalry, and revenge,” Linda Barnes wrote 16 mystery novels, 12 featuring her 6’1” redheaded private eye Carlotta Carlyle, and four featuring actor/detective Michael Spraggue, an amateur sleuth. In addition to best-selling mysteries, she has also written award-winning plays and short stories.
linda's photoLinda Barnes's celebrated Carlotta Carlyle first appeared in 1985 in the award-winning short story "Lucky Penny." Since then, Barnes has written twelve Carlotta Carlyle novels: A Trouble of Fools (1987), The Snake Tattoo (1989), the Boston Globe bestsellers Coyote (1991), Steel Guitar (1993), Snapshot (1994), Hardware(1995) and Cold Case (1997), which also appeared on The Boston Globebestseller list. Flashpoint came out in 1999. The Big Dig was published in 2002, followed by Deep Pockets in 2004 and Heart of the World, in 2006 and Lie Down With the Devil (2008).
Among her many honors, Barnes won the Anthony Award for Best Short Story ("Lucky Penny," 1986) and the American Mystery Award for Best Private Eye Novel (A Trouble of Fools 1987). She has been nominated for both the Shamus and the Edgar. The Snake Tattoo was named one of the outstanding books of 1990 byThe London Times and Lie Down With the Devil was named one of the Best Mysteries of 2008 by Publisher’s Weekly.
She lives near Boston with her husband.

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