Published by FaithWords on May 1, 2009
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Speculative
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When a writer’s haunting novels suddenly intersect with real life, he faces terror unlike anything he ever imagined.
For years Dennis Shore has thrilled readers with his spooky bestselling novels. Now a widower, Dennis is finally alone in his house, his daughter attending college out of state. When he’s stricken by a paralyzing case of writer’s block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate. Against better judgment, he claims someone else’s writing as his own, accepting undeserved accolades for the stolen work. He thinks he’s gotten away with it…until he’s greeted by a young man named Cillian Reed—the true author of the stolen manuscript.
What begins as a minor case of harassment quickly spirals out of control. As Cillian’s threats escalate, Dennis finds himself on the brink of losing his career, his sanity, and even his life. The horror he’s spent years writing about has arrived on his doorstep, and Dennis has nowhere to run.
It’s 2am. The blinking cursor contrasts sharply with the blank white screen, mocking the fact that I haven’t written anything. Time for a break, I thought. Maybe if I read for a bit, I can clear my head and figure out how to finish that scene. So I grabbed the book resting atop my to-read pile. And pulled down Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher.
So I pick up the book and open it, slowly remembering what I already knew about the book’s premise. Horror novelist Dennis Shore has a looming deadline and a horrible case of writer’s block. I look up at the blinking cursor still mocking me. Haven’t even read the book yet and I feel this strange urge to check under my bed. After disposing of the remnants of the previous day’s dinner…I’m still not sure how it ended up under the bed…I settled in for the haunting story that is Ghostwriter.
Still reeling over the loss of his wife, Dennis finds himself pushing a deadline with no book in hand. In a panic, he takes out a manuscript sent to him years ago by a kid – Cillian Reed – adds a few touches to it, and submits the plagiarized work as his own. He thinks he’s gotten away with it, until it literally comes back to haunt him.
At first, Dennis shrugs it off. He had to protect his career, didn’t he? But Cillian won’t stop stalking him. And he seems to know more than anyone alive ever could. A ghost? But Dennis only writes about the supernatural, he doesn’t actually believe in it. But Cillian doesn’t seem to care that Dennis doesn’t believe. He’s going to make sure the man that stole from him never writes again.
Thrasher has written a harrowing and redemptive story that explores the concept of a horror novelist who doesn’t believe in the supernatural yet finds himself confronting it in a terrifying and visceral way. Thrasher throws a lot of himself into the book, and one wonders if at least some of Dennis’s thoughts regarding writing and life aren’t taken directly from Travis himself.
Supernatural thriller is the genre Travis is known best for and writes best in, though he’s certainly shown his artistic abilities in an array of genres. Ghostwriter is another great story with a great redemptive message.
Mini Q&A with Travis
Josh: How freaky is it to be a novelist writing about a novelist whose stories are coming true? Have you ever experienced anything like that in your own writing?
Travis: This has happened quite a few times. One big example is Sky Blue. I was writing about a couple who was trying to start a family but they couldn’t. My wife and I found ourselves in the same boat a few years later (as I was still writing the novel). I love blurring the line between reality and fantasy. I put a lot of myself in my stories, but at the same time they’re completely made up. (Or are they??)
Josh: Where did you get the idea for Ghostwriter?
One night as I was battling with writer’s block, I decided to look in my closet, and there it was–on yellow paper. This novel just sitting there. Oops, maybe I’ve already said too much.