Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: The Ghost of a Flea by John Brinling

The Ghost Of A Flea

ISBN-10: 0011076658
ISBN-13: 2940011076657
Pages: 630 (paperback), 316 (e-book)
Copyright: 2010

About the Author:
(Taken from AuthorsDen.com)

"I lived and worked in Europe for seven years. I met my wife In Italy where we both worked for the same company, and were married in 1975. The contract we were working on ended that year and we took two years off to live in England, in a 300 year old farmhouse in Wiltshire. It was in that farmhouse that I wrote “The Ghost Of A Flea,” as well as another book titled “Quarantine,” which is a science fiction thriller."

"“The Ghost” has a strong autobiographical component. I was a programmer/analyst. The office ambiance in the novel is similar to life in my New York office, although the intrigues were of an entirely different nature. I had a good friend who lived in Sparta. I lived for a time near the George Washington Bridge. The building manager was an Irishman, who became a good friend, and an integral character in the book."
To view the complete bio for John Brinling on the AuthorsDen website, simply click here.

(Taken from AuthorsDen.com)

The novel is a mystery/suspense/action/ thriller that tests the endurance and love of a man and a woman, and threatens the security of a great city. It is a tale of greed, passion and death centered on a painting of haunting beauty and mystifying significance.  “The Ghost Of A Flea,” painted by William Blake 200 years ago.

Time: 1975.
Location:  New York City.

The murder of Roger’s musician friend, Gideon Whiting, turns Roger’s world up-side-down.  His wife, Natalie, lies to him.  His best friend, Ted, lies to him.  His boss and U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Holt, lies to him. And Lieutenant Tarrington, a homicide detective, is convinced Roger killed Gideon—but is Tarrington who he claims to be, or is he lying, too?

Peggy Curtis, the blond bombshell who dropped into Roger’s life one snowy night after he left Gideon’s apartment, might be the only person who can unravel the Gordian knot facing Roger, yet she has serious credibility problems, and is the last person he would want to rely on with his life and freedom on the line.

The drug cartel masterminding much of the chaos seeks an address book it thinks Roger took from Gideon.  As their ruthless pursuit intensifies, the police learn of the book and join the chase.  The problem is, Roger doesn’t have what they want and he must get it before they decide he is expendable.

My Review:

When I saw the first chapter was set in 1975, I thought it was going to be one of those novels that illustrates an important clue that happened in the past and then jump forward to present day for the remainder of the novel.  Not so.  When I realized the entire novel was going to be set in 1975, I was surprised, but pleasantly so.  To have a novel published in 2010, but be entirely set in 1975 is a form of bravery in my opinion.  The same bravery that was evident of authors who published novels in the early 20th century, but wrote about the future.

It was refreshing to read a novel without modern day electronic capabilities.  To write in such a way, makes me believe the author actually thought about the details of the book: how a character would get out of a certain predicament, how a scene would play out without the use of cell phones, etc.  The author was actually able to focus on and perfect the plot of the story rather than take the easy way out.  It was wonderful.

The two main characters, Roger and Peggy, were a nice contradiction to each other.  Roger was a little wimpy and naive, whereas Peggy was cunning and strong-willed.  It took Roger a little longer than I liked to stop being so naive.  I was grateful when he finally started acting with some authority and backbone.

There was a part of Peggy that reminded me of myself ... flitting from relationship to relationship until finally meeting that one nice guy that changes the way I see men.  Despite Peggy's independence, there was an underlying vulnerability to her that I recognized and understood.  I did wonder about her honesty for most of the book and was hoping that she wouldn't betray Roger in the end.

Overall, this novel was rather enjoyable.  It was a classically written mystery without the overshadowing of modern conveniences.  It kept you turning the page wanting to know more.  It is definitely one that I will remember and enjoy reading again.

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