”The moment I heard how McAra died, I should have walked away. I can see that now…”--The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris, Copyright ©2007 by Robert Harris, published by Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, Inc.
The role of a ghostwriter is to make his client look good, not to uncover the truth. But what happens when the client is a major political figure, and the truth could change the course of history?
Adam Lang, the controversial former prime minister of Britain, is writing his memoirs. But his first ghostwriter dies under shocking circumstances, and his replacement—whose experience lies in portraying aging rock stars and film idols—knows little about Lang’s inner circle. Flown to join Lang in a secure house on the remote shores of Martha’s Vineyard in the depths of winter, cut off from everyone and everything he knows, he comes to realize he should never have taken the job.
It’s not just his predecessor’s mysterious death that haunts him, but Adam Lang himself. Deep in Lang’s past are buried and shocking secrets…secrets with the power to alter world politics…secrets with the power to kill.
Okay, you probably want a little more than that…
This book was originally released under the title The Ghost and when it was adapted into a movie, the movie’s title was changed to The Ghost Writer, probably to keep viewers from complaining that there were no actual ghosts in the movie. So the book was re-released with the movie and retitled. Personally, I think it was a shame to retitle it, but I certainly understand the reason.
It came to me slowly as I read, but eventually, I realized that you never learn the protagonist’s name. He refers to himself as a ghost and when he meets Adam Lang for the first time, Lang says “Who are you?” he replies, “I’m your ghost.” He remains unnamed throughout the whole story. An awesome story device—I loved it!
The Ghost is hired to replace Mike McAra, a former staff member of Adam Lang’s turned biographer. It’s suspected he committed suicide by jumping off the ferry that was taking him to Martha’s Vineyard where Adam and his entourage were staying. The Ghost gets to work, reviewing McAra’s manuscript and interviewing Lang. Lang is under suspicion of authorizing the abduction of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, who then ended up in the CIA’s merciless hands. When charges are filed, the Ghost is put into the unique position of being able to observe an important, polarizing event in Lang’s life, rather than trying to recreate it from his client’s memories.
The more the Ghost digs into the manuscript and into the charges against Lang, the more he begins to wonder if he’s gotten in way over his head. McAra knew something, found out something that makes the Ghost suspect he didn’t commit suicide. A secret that very highly-placed individuals in both the US and British government want to keep secret. It would only be a matter of time before the Ghost uncovers the truth, and then, how long will he last?
This is a terrific, well-written story with a fabulous little twist at the end and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys political intrigue. The DVD of the movie will be released on August 3, 2010 and I may just go out and purchase it.
I give this story FOUR and a HALF STARS.