Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


What if you thought you knew the identity of the person who killed someone you loved?  How far would you go to learn the truth?  In this psychological thriller, the heroine is willing to go as far as it takes.

Grace is "the other sister."  Not so pretty, not so charismatic, not so brave.  But when her 19 year old sister disappears, she becomes "the survivor."  Grace is 12 when Rachel vanishes.  She spends the next ten years preparing herself to find Rachel’s abductor.  She’s pretty sure she knows who it is—Carl Feldman, a photographer who was tried for the murder of one woman, but was acquitted.  Now he suffers from dementia, but Grace doesn’t buy it.  Instead, she pretends to be his daughter and decides to take him on a field trip to all the places young girls such as Rachel have disappeared, hoping to shake something loose from his jumbled memories.  But during their travels through the small towns of Texas, the relationship begins to mirror Grace’s lies.  In another time or place, she could be his devoted daughter, and he could just be a gifted artist and photographer.

— Karen Bradley

Description


A Texas map marked with three red dots like drops of blood. A serial killer who claims to have dementia. A mysterious young woman who wants answers. What could go wrong?

“Fast and furious . . . You’ll never see what’s coming.”—The Washington Post


An obsessive young woman has been waiting half her life—since she was twelve years old—for this moment. She has planned. Researched. Trained. Imagined every scenario. Now she is almost certain the man who kidnapped and murdered her sister sits in the passenger seat beside her.
 
Carl Louis Feldman is a documentary photographer who may or may not have dementia—and may or may not be a serial killer. The young woman claims to be his long-lost daughter. He doesn’t believe her. He claims no memory of murdering girls across Texas, in a string of places where he shot eerie pictures. She doesn’t believe him.
 
Determined to find the truth, she lures him out of a halfway house and proposes a dangerous idea: a ten-day road trip, just the two of them, to examine cold cases linked to his haunting photographs.
 
Is he a liar or a broken old man? Is he a pathological con artist? Or is she? In Paper Ghosts, Julia Heaberlin once again swerves the serial killer genre in a new direction. You won’t see the final, terrifying twist spinning your way until the very last mile.

Praise for Paper Ghosts


“A rich hybrid work that’s at once a zany, dialogue-propelled two-hander, a murder mystery, a road novel, a pair of psychological case studies and a meditation on photography. It would make a fine indie movie, although screen adaptation would entail sacrificing Heaberlin’s evocative prose.”The Sunday Times (UK), Thriller of the Month

“Heaberlin anchors her books with troubled but endearingly badass women. Think Amy Schumer’s character in Trainwreck except with guns and the greater possibility of redemption. . . . Like [Patricia] Highsmith, Heaberlin displays a keen grasp of casual cruelty that defines human interaction, not to mention a flair for stories in which no one—least of all the protagonist—can be trusted.”D Magazine

“[An] artful and elegiac psychological thriller . . . Heaberlin brilliantly combines travelogue with a heartbreaking portrait of the damage done by childhood.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author


Julia Heaberlin is the author of the critically acclaimed Black-Eyed Susans, a USA Today and Times (U.K.) bestseller. Her psychological thrillers, including Playing Dead and Lie Still, have been sold in more than fifteen countries. Heaberlin is also an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Detroit News, and The Dallas Morning News. She grew up in Texas and lives with her family near Dallas/Fort Worth, where she is at work on her next novel.

Praise For…


“You’ll enjoy the journey and all its macabre side trips. You’ll love the travel commentary written in Heaberlin’s lean, muscular prose. . . . Signposts along the way warn of angst, secrets and deadly plot twists, but you’ll never see what’s coming. You’ll step out of this fictional vehicle feeling like you’ve been T-boned by an 18-wheeler.”The Washington Post

“A rich hybrid work that’s at once a zany, dialogue-propelled two-hander, a murder mystery, a road novel, a pair of psychological case studies and a meditation on photography. It would make a fine indie movie, although screen adaptation would entail sacrificing Heaberlin’s evocative prose.”The Sunday Times (UK), Thriller of the Month

“I kept thinking of [Patricia] Highsmith while reading Paper Ghosts. . . . Heaberlin anchors her books with troubled but endearingly badass women. . . . Like Highsmith, Heaberlin displays a keen grasp of casual cruelty that defines human interaction, not to mention a flair for stories in which no one—least of all the protagonist—can be trusted. . . . Texas has yet again bred a major American noir writer.”D Magazine

“[An] artful and elegiac psychological thriller . . . Heaberlin brilliantly combines travelogue with a heartbreaking portrait of the damage done by childhood. . . . [She] wields words like weapons, with each one chosen to heighten tension, underscore emotion, or foreshadow doom.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Entertainingly unnerving.”The Dallas Morning News

“Strong characterisation, haunting images, a wonderful sense of place, and some dark comedy make this travelogue-cum-psychological thriller well worth the read.”The Guardian

“The tension crackles on the page. . . . Heaberlin writes with passion and poetry about Texas, photography, and the comedy and tragedy of dementia. . . . It elevates the often tawdry genre of the serial killer novel to a work of art.”The Sunday Express (UK)

“The emotion is amazing. The scenes and characters are both so strong and so believable. . . . Get ready to be terrified!”Suspense Magazine

“Heaberlin’s spot-on depiction of mental anguish, her careful creation of characters who are mean and troubled yet compelling, and an unexpected twist at the end make this a winner.”Booklist

“Heaberlin’s works beautifully evoke the texture and landscape of the state of Texas while acknowledging the ambivalence and occasional menace that underlies the sublime beauty of the state, and her latest is no exception.”—CrimeReads 

“Top-notch suspense, a dangerous game of hide-and-go-seek, masterfully crafted.”Lone Star Literary

“The layers of the story both peel away and deepen as the search into the mind of a killer takes turns no one is expecting.”RT Book Reviews

“This outstanding thriller will blow you out of your lawn chair.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Breathless storytelling at its very best.”Elizabeth Haynes, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner
Product Details
ISBN: 9780804178020
ISBN-10: 080417802X
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 15th, 2018
Pages: 368
Language: English
 

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