Ghostman eBook Ò Paperback

Ghostman The Trouble with ThrillersWhen you wander through your local bookstore or a drugstore or Wal Mart you’ll probably pass by a rack of paperback books with lurid covers that are usually labeled as thrillers Pick up one of these books and what are you likely to find? A superhero cop spy or private investigator — one who combines the strength of an Olympic gold medalist with an I of 165 and the ability to outfight the biggest baddest bad guy ever to come down the pike Apparently a former British naval intelligence officer named Ian Fleming started this unfortunate tradition half a century ago Now it seems we can’t shake itHere then comes young Roger Hobbs with a new twist on the thriller Hobbs’ protagonist — his hero it would seem — is not a superhero cop spy or private investigator He is in fact an unrepentant lifelong armed robber and murderer who combines the strength of an Olympic gold medalist with an I of 165 and the ability to outfight the biggest baddest bad guy ever to come down the pike Oh but this guy never murders anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary And in the course of Roger Hobbs’ debut novel Ghostman he only kills maybe six or eight guys He doesn’t like to murder women we’re told Unless it’s absolutely necessaryThe title character is the guy on a team of bankrobbers who makes things disappear including himself He seamlessly shifts from one disguise to another adopting a wide variety of names but never revealing his own By applying makeup coloring his hair changing his voice and his gait he manages to put on 20 years in an hour — and we’re expected to believe that he remains undetected even by someone sitting within two feet of him The few people who really know him call him Ghostman He’s rootless as well as ruthless and he could turn up anywhere in the world there’s a huge bank job waitingBlood guts and impossibilities aside there are a couple of things about Hobbs’ writing that are laudable His prose flows smoothly uninterrupted by lyrical turns of phrase to hint that he’s really a “serious” writer And he’s clearly done a masterful job of research into the procedural niceties and the argot of bank robbery as well as the workings of Atlantic City casinos and other topics closely related to his story And by the way when I say Hobbs is young I mean young having graduated in 2011 from Reed College he appears to be in his early twentiesWhat’s missing from Ghostman and other novels of the same ilk is soul Though Hobbs appends an “autobiography” of his killer hero to illustrate his motivation for doing what he does there’s not so much as a shred of evidence that the man — or for that matter Roger Hobbs — ever considers the needs the feelings or the value of other people As I said no soulWhy do these nihilistic books get written so often let alone published? And why do we read them? Mea culpa mea maxima culpa Is there some bloodthirsty streak in our national character that impels us to make heroes out of people who seem to kill for a living? The Ghost Man by Roger HobbsWell let's clear two interesting facts one this is a debut author second he finished this book when he was still at college in his early twentiesWhen a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly awry the man who orchestrated it is obliged to call in a favour from someone who's sometimes called Jack While it's doubtful anyone knows his actual name or anything at all about his true identity or even if he's still alive he's in his mid 30's and lives completely off the grid a criminal's criminal who does entirely as he pleases and is almost impossible to get in touch withWithin hours a private jet is flying this exceptionally experienced fixer and cleaner upper from Seattle to New Jersey and right into a spectacular mess one heister dead in the parking lot another winged but on the run the shooter a complete mystery the 12 million in freshly printed bills god knows where and the FBI already waiting for Jack at the airport To contend with all this will reuire every gram of his skill ingenuity and self protective instincts They don't call him Ghostman for nothingA great impressive debut thriller from young Roger Hobbs as you are taken through two stories one that is the present and one that is a flashback both as gripping as each other and important to the storyWinner of the CWA Thriller of the Year 2013A gripping intelligent tense fast paced action packed thriller with a new star in the Ghost Man to rival Lee Childs Joe Pike Will Robie and othersI enjoyed the writing the plot and the tension as the book comes to a conclusion with both stories and now looking forward to his second book “I was doing a nickel bit in the hoosegowunder glass because of a loose jawed stoolie who'd snitched to the bulls” That line wasn't penned by Roger Hobbs Actually it probably doesn't even make sense but I've always operated under the notion that if I can't be a hardboiled criminal at least I can try to coopt their lingo So if for that reason alone reading Ghostman was a worthwhile endeavor especially since the Sam Spade terminology is probably getting a bit dated The titular role of “ghostman” is among the difficult to define Probably because “there isn't a proper name for what we they do” Professional imposters in the business of disappearing is the best I can do for now But despite their solitary nature a ghostman doesn't do a job alone far from it “This was a job with strict plans timing and endgame—a jugmarker’s heist from beginning to end” A jugmarker of course can “write heists the way Mozart wrote music” The jugmarker from miles away can bring all the right people together If a safe's involved you'll need a boxman —preferably one who's “half computer programmer half demolition expert” maybe a linguist and a solid wheelman for sure A pair of buttonmen who though they rarely look tough “hurt people for a living” are a must as well But there's kind of a catch “jugmarkers are notorious for taking revenge on people who rat on them Some don't even kill snitches right away They kill a guy’s whole family first just to get his attention” And though our guy Jack is no snitch he's dealing with one twisted markerthe kind who will force feed a guy a jar of nutmeg and leave him “to bite off his own tongue and drown in the blood” Though I can't speak to the verisimilitude of the criminal lexicon it does make for fun reading This ghostman's a pro—heck he even accounts for exigent circumstances and the plain view doctrine Oh and if you actually want to know what the book is about then I suggest you check out Kemper andor James' reviews Ghostman is a very good debut novel told from the first person POV of the Ghostman whose real name no one really knows though some refer to him as Jack He's a master criminal who lives way way off the grid and specializes in disappearing He only emerges when a job especially interests him Five years earlier Jack was part of a crew that attempted to pull off a huge heist in Kuala Lumpur that was organized by another master criminal named Marcus The caper blew up in spectacular fashion and the score was lost Jack managed to escape and disappear though other members of the team were not so luckyJack blames himself for the fact that the job went south and to the point so does Marcus Now five years down the road Marcus wants payback Marcus has organized a hit on a casino in Atlantic City He sends two men to hit an ard car that is delivering 12 million dollars to the casino But one of the robbers is killed during the holdup and the other escapes with the loot Marcus tracks down the Ghostman and instructs him to recover the money If he does so Marcus will finally consider them evenNaturally the cops and some other bad guys are also searching for the money and all sorts of crosses and double crosses ensue To add insult to injury the 12 mil is shrink wrapped into a bundle that will explode and render the money useless in only a few hours Needless to say the Ghostman has his hands full and we watch intently as he attempts to cope with all the obstacles placed in his way At the same time he gradually reveals the back story of the job in Kuala Lumpur that got him into this mess in the first placeThere's an enormous amount of detail in this book and some of it like the way the money is packaged is pretty intriguing; one wonders how Hobbs managed to learn all this minutia After a while though the detail begins to overwhelm the story itself and starts to be a distraction Also his screw up in Malaysia notwithstanding Jack the Ghostman seems finally to be just a little bit too damned good and you get or at least this reader did to the point where you just can't take him seriously any longerThat said this is still a very entertaining book and Roger Hobbs is clearly a writer to look for It will be interesting to see how he follows Ghostman I decided to read this after seeing this Goodreads interview with the author I do not regret the decision I read the entire novel over a weekendThe story is fairly straightforward told from the first person point of view of Ghostman while he is working a job to settle an old debt Simultaneously there are flashbacks to the bank heist that put him in that debt in the first place The mystery of Ghostman including his real name which the reader never learns is the truly compelling aspect of the story so than the mystery of the missing money although neither are exciting than the heist flashbackI also loved Ghostman's habit of translating classic literature which at first seemed like a random hobby thrown in to flesh out the character a bit but made so much sense as I learned about why he aspired and trained to be an invisible imposterMy biggest complaint is that both the main story and the flashbacks were so interesting that the switches between story lines became moments of frustration This likely contributed to my reading the book so uicklyI desperately hope there is a seuel to this book as I loved reading about jugmarkers wheelmen boxmen grifters buttonmen ghostmen and their glorified lives of crime I'd also like to delve deeper into the mysterious Ghostman and maybe just maybe meet his elusive mentor Angela I wish I read Ghostman on a plane I have a set of plane reading rules1 Nothing too intense2 Nothing that makes me think too much3 Something that would make a good movie is idealSince I hate planes and wasn't going anywhere however I read Ghostman over a long weekend I only picked up the book because of the online hype filtered through the NY Times and Barnes and Noble sites Now my expectations were high and while I didn't love the novel I read the sucker in two days and I only checked to see how much was left once or twice I'm not going to pee my pants in praise though probably because I'm not a mystery person In fact the high praise bestowed on Ghostman from fans of that genre makes me wonder if the majority of mystery books on the shelves are way shitty I don't know Maybe the comparison doesn't fit Ghostman functions as a well constructed crime novel and I think the film has potential but I wasn't moved or excited and I'm not emailing my friends to check out the book Good Not great Better than okay Pretty good thriller The concept is a good one Every now and then a book or movie for that matter that's a relatively new idea and here we have a Ghostman A Ghostman vanishes people and thingsincluding him or herself apparently Ghostman is generic as he was trained by a woman and she is also called a Ghostman during the book's story Anyway our Ghostman can only be contacted by you if he or she has made that possibleCan you track a Ghostman down? Then he's probably not much of a GhostmanThe story unfolds on 2 time lines one in the past and one in the present The past story of course bears on the events that are happening in the presentA pretty good book Some factual and nomenclature errors I was aware of so I assume there are others I didn't spot on subjects I'm not familiar with but then do the readers really need exact details on things like how to do a foolproof bank robbery? Anyway nothing bad and a good involving storyI suspect we'll see of the Ghostmanif he wants us to of courseRecommended enjoy Jack is a Ghostman a criminal hired by other criminals to fool people and clean up messes A fixera cleaner a man who gets things done He lives completely off the grid No one knows his real name He lives for the action and the thrill He is a master of disguises and nuances In Atlantic City a heist is about to go down Two criminals are going to steal 1200000 in freshly minted bills from an ard car delivery to a casino The robbery goes off smoothly when all hell breaks loose another gunman opens fire on the robbers killing one and wounding the other The money disappearsMarcus a jugmarker the criminal mastermind who hired the robbers wants the money because he was going to use it against Wolf another criminal from Atlantic City Apparently the money is in a package with an explosive die pack There is only a limited time to find the money before its useless He gets in touch with Jack and convinces him to fix the situation get the money back Jack owes him because he screwed up Marcus' Malaysian robbery 5 years beforeWhen Jack arrives in Atlantic City he is confronted by the FBI must play detective and figure out the planning of the crime from a criminal's perspective Meanwhile the Wolf is also on the scene and wants Jack to find the money so he can use it against Marcus As Jack takes steps to find the money Wolf takes violent steps to force him to work for himMeanwhile the FBI is also following Jack around Hobbs effortlessly switches back and forth between chapters dedicated to the clean up in Atlantic City and the screwup in Malaysia He shows high end heists from all perspectivesJack is a complex character violent smart a killer with few scruples Although Wolf may think he is working for Marcus in fact Jack is a thrill seeker at heart who lives for the hunt and the excitementCan he find the money before the FBI captures him or Wolf kills himIts a smooth ride very stylistic with a knowing and sly protagonistIt hits all the right buttons I make things disappear It’s what I do This time I'm tidying up the loose ends after a casino heist gone bad The loose ends being a million cash But I only have 48 hours and there’s a guy out there who wants my head in a bagHe'll have to find me first They don’t call me the Ghostman for nothing This was fun if a bit over the top The Ghostman is 'a man with no name' which is apparently a sought after talent in the criminal underworld He can change identities take care of issues all part of the job description Everyone has a specific job talent in his world There are drivers jobbers others Rather neat it gives us some fun characters including plenty of bad guys to go around There's even one person who is good a rarityThis is told from the first person heavy on detail For the most part that's fun There were a few that didn't sit well with me a time or two the story skipped without explaining a particularly tricky part but that was rare Normally it was very well thought out if occasionally convenient All good though I really liked the way the story switched between the present job one from 5 years before that made him take this oneWell narrated a good length for the story Definitely recommended but you'll either like it or hate it I think It gets an extra 12 star for being the author's first

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