Book Review: GHOSTING by Kirby Gann

Reviewed by: Kester

Fleece Skaggs has disappeared. So have the drugs he was meant to sell for his boss, Lawrence Gruel. The dealer seems concerned and confused about his employee and his hash, but Fleece’s half-brother, James Cole can’t decide if Gruel is sincere. In the hope of finding out just what happened or is happening, James Cole offers to work for Gruel in his brother’s place. And we’re off and running.

The story is strong, but it is Kirby Gann’s carefully crafted cast of characters that sets his newest book so far ahead and apart. Ghosting is rural noir on par with Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Donald Ray Pollack’s The Devil All The Time. The pacing is perfect; a slow burn that threatens to end in an explosion. The tone is both moody and mysterious, and yet infused with the sort of humor one might find in an Elmore Leonard western.

This is the story of being in over your head; ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances. 2011 introduced us to Frank Bill’s raw and relentless Crimes In Southern Indiana. Kirby Gann’s Ghosting offers something similar for 2012.