Monday, 6 September 2010

The Ghost

Title: The Ghost

Author: Robert Harris

Number of pages: 400

Started: 2 September 2010

Finished: 6 September 2010

Opening words:

'The moment I heard how McAra died I should have walked away. I can see that now. I should have said, '-Rick, I'm sorry, this isn't for me, I don't like the sound of it,' finished my drink and left. But he was such a good storyteller, Rick - I often thought he should have been the writer and I the agent - that once he'd started talking there was never any question I wouldn't listen, and by the time he had finished, I was done for.'

Plot summary:

The narrator of Robert Harris's gripping new novel is a professional ghostwriter - cynical, mercenary, and with a nice line in deadpan humour. Accustomed to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities, he jumps at the chance to ghost the memoirs of Britain's former prime minister, especially as it means flying to the American resort of Martha's Vineyard in the middle of winter and finishing the book in the seclusion of a luxurious house.

But it doesn't take him long to realise he has made a terrible mistake. His predecessor on the project died in circumstances that were distinctly suspicious, and the ex-prime minister turns out to be a man with secrets in his past that are returning to haunt him - secrets with the power to kill.

What I thought:

This is the first Robert Harris book I have read. It was a coincidence that I read it the same week as Tony Blair’s memoirs were published, but it was a well timed read as it is hard not to see that the ex-Prime Minister in the book is a somewhat thinly veiled version of Blair.

The book was very readable and the words slipped off the page and kept me wanting to read it through to the end. I thought the ending/ resolution was perhaps a touch “clunky”, and all a bit too neatly wrapped up, but it was a good read.

Harris is generally know for his historical novels e.g. set in Ancient Rome, which is not my normal read, but I would be tempted to give one of them a go having read this book. The Ghost had a good plot and is the type of book that you can read by the pool or on a commute.

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