Three people, 3 days, trapped in a ghost town 100 years in the past.
Brilliant but burned out CIA operative Richard Hart has a midlife crisis. He wants out of the intelligence game for good. But he can’t resist his last and only opportunity to meet the legendary V.M. Moodbain, a grand CIA Chessmaster, who will do anything to keep him engaged.
When Moodbain does not show up for their rendezvous at the appointed time, Hart realizes he has been set up as a pawn in a dangerous cat and mouse game. He finds himself trapped in a desert ghost town in a military experiment gone wrong, 100 years in the past. And there is no way out.
Hunted by ghost riders and desperadoes, Hart must quickly identify what is real, or he will be confined forever to a living nightmare with the spirits of the past.
My 4-Star Review
What is a western paranormal thriller? Well, in this case, it’s a paranormal thriller that takes place in a ghost town that happens to be out west. No, there aren’t cowboy and Indian specters running around, so let’s get that out of the way right off. However, I’m not entirely sure Western the best genre identifier to use, to be honest. Paranormal, yes. Thriller, certainly, but one might want to add speculative into the mix somewhere because much of what happens in this mind-bender of a book is off the map.
Way off the map, and not just because it takes place in a desert.
It’s not a criticism, mind you; not at all, but readers do need to be prepared when they open this book. Prepared to be left in the dark, wandering around, not having a clue what’s going on throughout most of the story. Again, it’s not a bad thing, and I’ll tell you why. If you’re a patient reader who loves a good mystery; if you enjoy thinking you’ve got things sorted only to discover you’re as far off the beaten path as the story is and if you don’t mind learning right along with the characters what in the name of Harry Potter is going on, then this will be a spectacular read.
Personally, I was reminded of the movie ‘Identity’ with John Cusak. There were similar elements, in that, the main character thought he knew what was going on. He was wrong, of course. Like him, as I read, I realized things weren’t quite as I perceived. The past wasn’t the past I imagined. Neither was the present and, to make things even more confusing, neither the past nor the present stayed the way we are initially introduced to them. Characters weave in and out of view like any good apparition should. Delusions turn into reality while reality becomes the delusion. I found myself doubling back more than once, wondering where I was and how I’d gotten there, just like our MC Richard.
I love Edgar Allen Poe. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the wobbling warping in and out plot of this story so much. It’s definitely a challenging read, one that really requires a road map so you don’t end up as lost as the characters, fighting to find your way out of the pages, but on the other hand….maybe that’s the entire point. Maybe, authors AJ and John Thibault constructed this labyrinth with the express purpose of leading the reader down the path of potential insanity. Perhaps, their brilliance lies in allowing (Or perhaps forcing, depending on your perspective!) readers to experience the paranormal right beside the MC.
I’m not entirely sure if the writing is genius in that way or if it’s just a providential turn of chance, but it either-which, it works. Spectacularly.