Monday, July 13, 2009

Winter Ghost

Winter Ghost by Don Meyer
(Booklocker / 1-601-45820-7 / 978-1-601-45820-9 / May 2009 / 332 pages / $16.95)

Reviewed by Dr. Al Past for PODBRAM

Start with a frozen naked woman "looking" in the window of a vacation home, hands on the glass. Call it an accidental death. Add in reports of an unknown woman visiting the home on subsequent weekends. Season with two more couples dying after visiting the home, a sheriff (Tom Monason), new to the small nearby town, several deputies, and a bar owner, and you have, in addition to a ghost story, the makings of a murder mystery.

Winter Ghost attempts such a recipe, and a promising one it is. I have some experience with the mystery genre, yet I cannot think of another example to compare it to. As the story is carried out, however, it never seized my interest. Beyond a few personal quirks, the characters were thinly developed, the setting was generic (beyond snow, a small town, and a bar), and the ultimately simple story line was strewn with stylistic infelicities.

That's a shame, because Mr. Meyer's other book reviewed on this site, The Protected Will Never Know, the memoir of a soldier during the Vietnam conflict, was excellent. Narrated through the eyes of an unprepared, naive young soldier, the style fit perfectly: the reader is able to see between the lines to share the frustrations and terrors of a pointless war. As a memoir it was not entirely fiction, and that was its strong point. Pure fiction must create the reality the reader needs to be fully at home in a story, and Winter Ghost did not adequately do this for me. For the general reader, The Protected Will Never Know gets my vote as the more definitely recommended of the two.

See Also: Don Meyer's Website

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