Release Date: April 9, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery
Synopsis: Mousy and shy to the point of agoraphobic, Em Moore is the writing half of a celebrity biography team. Her charismatic partner, Teddy, does the interviewing and the public schmoozing. But Em’s dependence on Teddy runs deeper than just the job—Teddy is her bridge to the world and the main source of love in her life. So when Teddy dies in a car accident, Em is devastated, alone in a world she doesn’t understand. The only way she can honor his memory and cope with his loss is to finish the interviews for their current book—an “autobiography” of renowned and reclusive film director Garrett Malcolm.
Ensconced in a small cottage near Malcolm’s Cape Cod home, Em slowly builds the courage to interview Malcolm the way Teddy would have. She finds Malcolm at once friendlier, more intimidating, and much sexier than she had imagined. But Em soon starts hearing whispers of skeletons in the Malcolm family closet. And then the police begin looking into the accident that killed Teddy, and Em’s control on her life—tenuous at best—is threatened.
The Perfect Ghost is my first experience reading anything by Linda Barnes, so I have no idea what her normal mystery stories involve. However, whether you’re familiar with her writing or not, I wouldn’t recommend going into this book looking for a blatant mystery novel. Until about mid-way through the novel, I was not even conscious of the mystery element at all.
Regardless, I enjoyed the novel and found it to be a rather quick read. When I initially picked it up, I swear I blinked and had already read thirty pages. That said, the writing style was strange at first – which is in the format of Em’s inner dialogue, being told as though she is talking to her former friend and co-worker Teddy, the dead man that is a catalyst for Em’s predicament and the overarching mystery. However, it was an easy transition and, by the end of the first chapter, it seemed natural.
For her part, Em Moore, the main character, is supposedly severely shy and timid, but other than her self-descriptions informing us of that timidity, it’s not something that we see from her interactions. From the first chapter, she asserts herself to get what she wants – belying the “timid” persona we’re expected to buy into. Of course, as everything begins to fall into place, much of her strange personality begins to make sense for the story.
In all, The Perfect Ghost is a great read with a surprising twist, and if you’re looking for a good book to take along on a beach trip this summer, I recommend giving this one a shot.