Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Review: GHOSTING by David Poyer

Ghosting, a November 2010 release from St. Martin's Press, is the most gripping novel I've read in a long time.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading it--I simply couldn't put it down.

Dr. Jack Scales, a prominent neurosurgeon, convinces his reluctant family to sail to Bermuda aboard his brand new yacht, Slow Dance, for an overdue family holiday.  Unfortunately, Jack's confidence as a sailor isn't matched by his skills at seamanship.  In addition, his wife, Arlen, harbors great resentment ... and a secret; his twenty year-old son, Ric, battles the Voices he hears and a schizoaffective disorder; and his teenage daughter, Haley, who is a champion swimmer, misses her boyfriend and her swimming.

The family copes with emotional struggles, life-threatening storms, lightning strikes, and their rescue of a castaway who ultimately brings unspeakable violence to Slow Dance.  As the members of the Scales family fight among themselves--and against Mother Nature and the band of men brought aboard by the castaway--they find the internal strength and fortitude to do whatever it takes to survive.

Although I've never been aboard a yacht and was unfamiliar with some of the terms and language used, my lack of knowledge and sailing experience did not in any way detract from my enormous enjoyment of this book.  Poyer paints vivid word pictures with his narrative, sucking the reader right into the Slow Dance and the awesome majesty of the open Atlantic Ocean.  His characterization is superb:  each member of the Scales family is both heroic and flawed; the castaway and his band of unspeakably vile cohorts are realistic and well-motivated; other secondary characters are used perfectly to enhance the story and play counterpoint to each member of the Scales family.

One technique Poyer used throughout the book that I found supremely effective was to have Jack Scales view the other characters through his filter as a medical professional.  Jack noticed body language and interpreted it within a medical framework to help himself, and the reader, understand the true nature of the other characters:  his mentally ill son, his troubled wife, his emotionally volatile teenage; and the sociopathic castaway.

I enthusiastically recommend that you add Ghosting to your To Be Read List.  I will definitely be picking up some of this other books, which number over a dozen.

Ghosting, St. Martin's Press
Release Date:  November 9, 2010
Hardcover, $24.99
ISBN 978-0-312-61302-0
Publicist:  rachel.ekstrom@stmartins.com

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, but as a writer, the title had me thinking much differently.