My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Ghost, a thriller, is the first novel I’ve read by author H. Berkeley Rourke. It will not be the last because I find myself very in-sync with his writing style, plot, and characters. Imagine a rapist is loose on a college campus where the administration refuses to do anything but squash all reports? They’re afraid of the school’s reputation and will do anything to keep it under wraps… until the latest victim dies after attempting to report the truth to campus security. All bets are off then, and Rourke takes you on a wild ride of deception, corruption, and salvation. We’ve then got a serial killer on our hands, fellow readers.
From perusing the notes at the beginning and end of the book, I learned this was partially based on some realities, of course, with appropriate author liberties. To think that any administration would keep something like this quiet is abominable. I want to believe that level of dirtiness doesn’t exist, but unfortunately it does. Rourke takes the basic elements of a failed system to show how victims can easily be further harmed after a rape, if proper action and treatment isn’t received. By putting readers at the center of the crimes, we’re almost experiencing the pain ourselves. I wanted to throttle the campus security officers, then the administration, and finally, a few other players who did the least they could. A great writer makes you feel that way; it’s never just the plot alone.
Rourke is direct and blunt in his style. There are no flowery passages that weave you through the life of a victim or the rapist. Through mostly third-person (we do get some passages from the rapist in poetry / first-person narrative), we follow every ‘logical’ step to get from the initial attack to the capture of the villain. I make a point of saying this because the author ramped up the suspense by doing this. I kept flipping pages because the action was so clear, I felt some of the racing heart moments when the cops were getting close to solving the case or discovering the corruption. I loved that approach. Some other stories focus for chapters on the secondary impacts of the crimes (which are also great reads), but it was here where I felt wholly involved and invested in the chase-down-the-bad-guy-and-kill-him mode.
The protagonist, a female cop whose family comes from Mexico, adds a strong arc from both her personal stance on the crimes and the focus / goals of her job. She’s likable, forceful, and crosses the line where necessary to get her job done — always to protect the victim and catch the criminal. It makes you wonder whether always playing by the rules when trying to capture the bad guy is worth it… true, we have to worry about the law and punishment being fair, but still… when the creep is as bad as this one, do whatever’s necessary to stop him! Rourke delivered this story with passion, and while some may want more of the emotional side in what has happened to the victims, this isn’t that type of story. This is the procedure and passion of nailing the rapist to the proverbial wall! Really, really enjoyed its conclusion too.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.