Review: Ghoster by Jason Arnopp

Rating: ★★★☆☆+

Synopsis

Jason Arnopp – author of acclaimed cult hit The Last Days of Jack Sparks – returns with a razor-sharp thriller for a social-media obsessed world. Prepare to never look at your phone the same way again . . .

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.

Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Ghoster in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

Ghoster shows just how social media and technology are shaping our lives, whether we allow them to or not. A cautionary tale about believing everything you see online about an individual and becoming over-connected to them, Arnopp doesn’t pull any punches and cuts right to the chase. Ghoster is the much-needed thriller for a society that is obsessed with smartphones and instant gratification.

I’d seen a ton of great reviews for Arnopp’s last novel, The Last Days of Jack Sparks, and jumped on the hype train earlier this month. It was a fantastic and horrific story, full of laughs and genuine terror, giving me even more of a reason to boost this one up my TBR. Unlike Jack Sparks, though, I couldn’t really stand our girl, Kate Collins. While I am sure her actions indicative of the society we live in (naive, gullible, every decision is at the “drop of a hat”), I couldn’t help but shake my head at EVERY SINGLE decision she made. Too many warning signs up front, and the fact that she found this guy via Tinder (and apologies to anyone who found ACTUAL love on Tinder; you are the minority) just gives me even more reason for pause.

Having said that, I know the author had to write the character like that in order for this story to make sense and flow the way it did. Otherwise, this book would’ve been 20 pages long. BUT, all of the twists and turns, mixed with the paranormal suspense, makes this a very enjoyable story to read. Every time a Kate unveils a clue, a new rub is formed and floods of information about Scott and his real self begin to emerge. At 496 pages, this may look like a slog to get through, but the author has crafted it in such a way as the pages fly by and you never feel bogged down by the sheer weight of paper.

Maybe instead of being flooded by robot calls on the daily, today’s society needs a good kick to the noggin and their cell phones to be shut off for a couple of days out of the week. I always think about ditching the smartphone for an extended period of time and going back to the ole Nokia flip, but with how connected we are all are via our smartphones these days, it is damn near impossible to do. Social media, apps, email, texts… the list goes on. I can’t imagine a day where I could just leave that all behind (granted I could leave social media right now if it wasn’t for the book blog) but my family and friends would panic if I didn’t respond to a text within a short period of time. Ho sad is that? Before cell phones, if someone didn’t answer their home phone, it meant they weren’t home; it didn’t mean they were dead or kidnapped. It is an epidemic that is far from over.

Overall, while I didn’t enjoy Ghoster as much as TLDoJS, and even with the issues with Kate’s character, I really enjoyed the story that Arnopp graced us with. There are plenty of forks in the road and paths to choose, details to uncover and questions to be answered. I hope you’ll give it a chance as I am glad I did.

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