Good Read

THINK OF YOUR favorite ghosts from literature. Dicken's A Christmas Carol fairly leaps to my mind, not because it's the best, but rather my favorite. On reflection, I may prefer the ghost of Hamlet's father from Shakespeare's play.  
Interestingly, the ghosts of Hamlet's father and Scrooge's partner are walking earth for much the same reason: Unresolved issues - a murder, a mean-spirited life. I'm willing to bet that's a fairly common motivation among ghosts. It's one that has been exploited in recent television serials. Jennifer Love Hewitt helped spirits deal with their unresolved issues and cross to “the other side” weekly in Ghost Whisperer (2009 – 2010). More recently, the BBC production of Being Human features a ghost, Annie, that has helped others find that “doorway to the light” after first fixing the mess that it left behind in life.

Forgive the distraction but did you notice what I did there, in that last sentence of the previous paragraph? I referred to the Annie as “that” and “it.” Seems rather impersonal, don't you think? Does a ghost deserve mention using more “human-oriented” pronouns? We better leave that discussion for another posting.

Andrews St. Aubin, the protagonist in a Place of Skulls by Caleb Pirtle, is followed by a ghost with unresolved issues. However, we're never quite sure whose issues they are: St. Aubin's or the ghost's. St. Aubins, a mystery unto himself, is sent without a clue to solve mysteries. He must find a murderer somewhere amid the population of Arizona with no more than the identity of the victim. Additionally, he must locate a religious artifact that the victim was carrying even though no one has a clue as to what it might have been. Amazingly, Pirtle crafts a tale which makes solution of these problems believable.

Along the way, you will fall into other plots involving drugs, drug lords, desperate peasants acting as drug mules, and even more desperate American officials breaking the law to defeat the law-breakers.

As with all of Pirtle's writing, the prose fairly sings. The metaphors give substance to the people, places, and events. The dialog leaves you with the feeling that you were a party to the conversations. The exposition graces the pages without ever obscuring the plot. All in all, a good story, well told.
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As you follow Andrews St Aubin through the danger infested streets of cities and the even deadlier sands of the desert, you will wonder what its issues are and how they involve St Aubin. Be patient. The answer may come or it may not, at the end.

Now, you have a piece of unfinished business that needs your attention. Click here so you can begin reading Place of Skulls


04/23/2012 07:51

Thanks, Jack, for the kind comments about Place of Skulls. We all have unresolved issues. As writers, we give them to someone else, create that person as a character in a novel, and let him carry around the burden for us.

04/23/2012 16:09

A clever post, Jack, and a deserving book to get it. Just finished it and would recommend it highly.

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