We hesitate to add to the buzz around Ghostman (there’s quite a lot of it), but it was our weekend read, and we could have done a lot worse than this thoroughly competent crime novel. Our reluctance comes from the extreme youth of author Roger Hobbs. The lad is not even two years out of Reed College. Reed College! Are readers familiar with Reed? Reed practically invented hippies! Now it’s turning out babyfaced writers with, apparently, huge advances and top agents. That can’t be good for him. His brain is still forming, according to the latest studies on laddish behaviour.
The ghostman in the title is a thief whose special skill is disappearing. Oh, and he’s also quite smart, but not obnoxiously so. If there’s a flaw in the character it is his almost but not quite too cute affection for classic literature in the original Latin and Greek. That may come back to haunt Hobbs.
We just cannot imagine where a 23 year old liberal arts major picked up his own special criminal writing skills unless – and this is perfectly possible – Reed allowed him to shape his own curriculum consisting of nothing but reading crime novels for four years.
We can’t help liking the way he bills himself: Roger Hobbs, Criminal Author.