Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

At this point I am beginning to think Heaberlin may have the potential to be a really successful serial killer. Just kidding ( or maybe not, lol).

In both Paper Ghosts and Black-Eyed Susans she shows a frighteningly precise insight into the minds of killers capable of the most heinous of crimes.

I can identify with the main character and her reckless plan, as bizarre as that may sound. Not knowing the fate of your sister, child or loved one is sometimes worse than knowing all the possibly gruesome details of their death.

It all comes down to the desperation and the need for closure. Society teaches us to sit back and let the authorities do their job, however the reality is that they don't have magic wands and can only follow the leads and evidence they are aware of, and it all has to be within the confines of the law. When the dots can't be connected a high number of criminal cases go unsolved or remain without enough evidence to charge a particular suspect.

Grace has connected her own dots and the pattern that emerges is a scenario in which Carl is a serial killer, and the man who took her sister from her. She decides to revisit the scenes of old crimes to jog memories in the foggy confused mind of this man she believes to be a cruel killer.

She is playing a dangerous game with a man, who appears to be suffering from dementia, and yet at the same time he seems to be plotting the demise of his next victim. One moment he is clear enough to be a threat to her life and that of other unsuspecting victims, and the next he is saving dogs, cats and also Grace.

I loved this read. For one it definitely speaks to the random coincidences we sometimes convince ourselves are real connections, thereby creating false scenarios and accusations. Unfortunately for Grace these possible scenarios are based on circumstantial evidence, as opposed to direct evidence.

Heaberlin knows exactly how to create a feeling of suspense and fear. The kind of fear that creeps up on you from behind. You never know whether Carl is going to kill, maim or disfigure his prey, or be a friendly animal loving old man saving Grace from herself and her inner demons.

Even if it sounds like a cliché, if done correctly this would make a great film. It is a compelling and sinister character-driven read. The whole plot is based solely on the interactions between the two of them and the places they visit together. Haeberlin is a master of the mind-screw, building tension and twisted plots. Paper Ghosts is definitely taking a spot on my favourite books of 2018 list.

Buy Paper Ghosts at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Follow @juliathrillers @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUkBooks
Read Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

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