The Ghost, Josephine
With winter approaching in Maine, it’s difficult for Barry Cook to find work. It doesn’t help that a breaking-and-entering stigma has preceded him since a run-in with the law. Aside from that notoriety, many town folk remember Barry’s heroism when he rescued a couple of tourists years ago. The locals believe his claim to fame is a gift of clairvoyance. Barry disagrees. In fact, he doesn’t agree with much, ever since tragedy struck his family. Figuring that he’ll bring in fast cash, the disgruntled Barry uses his supposed gift in a competition to conjure the deceased daughter of a sketchy town character. What Barry doesn’t know is that his involvement in this bizarre contest will unexpectedly affect on his life.
Rising author Brad Rau spins deceptive twists in his debut paranormal novel. Rau’s first-person narrative is nothing less than a mind-boggling ride into the supernatural. Narrated by Barry Cook, Rau’s plot gives the appearance of a featured character struggling with life, but the source of conflict isn’t readily noticeable. Ghosts are certainly in the mix, but where they land in the plot is also unpredictable. To aide in the confusion, Rau has created a highly complex cast. Complete with their distinct quirks, Rau’s well-developed characters play critical roles in the unfolding of Barry’s character, his life, and the bulk of the story.
Unique to Rau’s novel is the way he consistently throws off readers from what is actually happening in the plot. Aside from his complex characters, Barry’s unpredictable temper tantrums and crass persona create a balanced combination of annoyance and uproariously funny situations. Undoubtedly the master of f-bombs, Barry’s repetitive foul verbiage is heavily sprinkled throughout conversations. That said, another highlight of Rau’s writing style is his engaging, yet elusive, dialogue scenes. Again throwing readers off a bit, Rau combines humorous scenes with significant narrative aspects that can easily be overlooked if one gets too caught up in the comedy.
A continual build-up with a flurry of unanticipated scenes and closing on a calmer note, The Ghost, Josephine is brilliantly written. Kudos to Rau for producing an exceptional debut read!