Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ghostwriter Anonymous (A Jake O'Hara Mystery Book 1)

Author:  Noreen Wald
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781943390687; 9781943390656
Henery Press
272 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $2.99 Amazon
March 1, 2016
Five Stars

With her books sporting other people's names, ghostwriter Jake O'Hara works behind the scenes.  But she never expected a seance at a New York Apartment to be part of her job.  Jake had signed on as a ghostwriter, secretly writing for a grande dame of mystery fiction whose talent died before she did.  The author's East Side residence was impressive.  But her entourage - from a Mrs. Danvers-like housekeeper to a lurking hypnotherapist - was creepy.  Still, it was all in a day's work, until a killer started going after the ghostwriters, and Jake suspected she was chillingly close to the culprit.  Attending a seance and asking the dead for spiritual help was one option.  Some brilliant sleuthing was another - before Jake's next deadline turns out to be her own funeral.


Jake O'Hara lives with her mother Maura in a Manhattan co-op, and is a ghostwriter.  Although she's never had the luck to make piles of money from it, she manages to barely keep her head above water.  One night, during one of her mother's Friday night get-togethers of lesser literary lights (such as her legally unpublished daughter) there is different guest, Johnathan Arthur, who has been invited by Maura.  He is there to discuss a business arrangement with Jake.  He wants to hire her as a ghostwriter for Kate Lloyd Connors, America's Queen of Mystery.  Jake agrees to meet Kate the next day for lunch, and returns to the gathering.

The next morning brings Jake to a meeting of Ghostwriters Anonymous, where fellow ghosties can vent about their problems to others who truly understand whatever it is they're going through.  On this day, however, Ginger, another member, tells Jake she's worried about Emmie, a no-show here and also at her home the night before.  Just as she is ready to leave the meeting, another member, Barbara, stops Jake and tells her that she's been scared stiff regarding the book she's writing, which is about the Mob.

When shortly thereafter Jake is informed that both Barbara and Emmie have been killed, she at first wonders if Barbara wasn't "rubbed out."  But when she learns that they were both killed in the same manner - with a blow to the back of the neck, the weapon being heavy tomes - she begins to think that maybe there's a ghostwriter serial killer on the loose.  And she's sure of it when it begins to appear that she may be the next intended victim...

I found the premise of this book different in that it concerned ghostwriters - one of those nameless people who write books but never see their own name in print. It intrigued me enough that I wanted to read the book, and I'm glad I did.  It begins as a simple missing persons case, then becomes a murder case that entwines several people together, each one leading to more questions than answers, and with plenty of red herrings.  Along the way Jake meets Ben Rubin, a homicide detective assigned to the case who wants to be more than friends and reconnects with Dennis Kim, a grade school friend who is now a powerful attorney with ties to both women and also wants to be more than friends.

There are plenty of suspects and several subplots that manage to connect the dots and pull the main plot together at the end.  Instead of confusing the reader, it manages to add to the suspense and enriches the book.  When we finally find out the identity of the murderer, is shows how twisted human nature can become when ego gets in the way.  A very good beginning to a new series.  Highly recommended. 

1 comment:

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