- Copertina rigida: 336 pagine
- Editore: Doubleday (14 febbraio 2013)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0857521616
- ISBN-13: 978-0857521613
- Peso di spedizione: 522 g
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon:
Ghostman (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 14 feb 2013
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"This is a quite astonishing debut from a 24-year-old who drafted it while he was a student in Oregon. Incredibly mature, impeccably researched and written with supreme panache, it starts with a casino heist that goes spectacularly wrong ... There are strands of James Sallis in the internal conversations, but on top of these comes a freshness and a swagger that is impossible to ignore. It moves like a black mamba and is every bit as deadly. Fierce, taut and with an intensity that burns the lungs, I doubt whether there will be a debut thriller to match it this year, or even next." (Geoffrey Wansell DAILY MAIL)
"Hobbs, who is 24, recounts Ghostman's adventures with startling and sparkling assurance, as evident in flash back scenes set in Kuala Lumpur as in all the mayhem and mind games in New Jersey. A star is born? Quite possibly." (John Dugdale SUNDAY TIMES)
"Full of authentic detail, seedy locations and a high corpse count, it keeps you hooked until the very last page." (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
"This thrilling tale of the bloody aftermath of a casino heist gone wrong reads as if it were written by an expert in safe-cracking and bank robbing... Brilliantly clever, gripping and action-packed, it's narrated by the mysterious Ghostman, who's hired to put right botched jobs. Utterly original and bound to become a big-budget movie." (SUNDAY MIRROR)
"Fast, hard and knowing: this is an amazing debut full of intrigue, tradecraft and suspense. Read it immediately!" (LEE CHILD)
Descrizione del libro
People see what you tell them to see . . .
Oceans Eleven meets Drive meets Lee Child in this extraordinary pulse-pounding debut from the most exciting new thriller writer of the yearVisualizza tutta la Descrizione prodotto
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Atlantic City. The perfect heist, perfectly planned- treasury bills on their way to a casino. But.....the best laid schemes of mice and men....
When things go horribly wrong, Marcus, the orchestrator (jugmarker) of the heist gets in touch with 'Jack' (aren't all the best anti-heroes named Jack?!) in hopes of salvaging part of his plan. Jack owes Marcus for something that happened on another job. Since that job Jack has disappeared - like a ghost.
"My name isn't really Jack. My name isn't John, George, Robert, Michael or Steven, either. It isn't any of the names that appear on my drivers licenses and it isn't on my passports or credit cards. My real name isn't anywhere, except maybe on a college diploma and a couple of school records in my safety-deposit box. Jack Delton was just an alias, and it was long since retired. I'd used it for a job five years ago and never again since......Only two people in the world knew that name."
Jack is caught between warring criminals, his own proclivity for living on the edge and the past. We slowly learn what happened in the botched robbery five years ago and how Jack came to be the Ghostman.
Hobbs had me hooked from page one. The opening scenes are action filled, addictive and set the pace for the rest of the book. The story never falters or stalls and had me enthralled until I (reluctantly) turned the last page. The plot twists and turns in unexpected directions, taking the reader on a thrill packed ride.
Hobbs has obviously done a great deal of research into the criminal underworld of robberies, casinos, security and more. (Who knew you could kill someone with nutmeg?) The details included are fascinating and really add depth to the story. This is not a glossed over paint by the numbers plot. In fact, I stopped at one point to go online and read about the author. I really could not believe this was a debut novel.
"Roger Hobbs graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon in 2011, where he majored in English. His first book, GHOSTMAN, was written during the summer between his junior and senior years at Reed. He spent the school year rewriting it and editing. The manuscript was sent off on the day he graduated. A few weeks later it caused an uproar at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, and has since sold in more than fifteen countries around the world."
Who is going to love this book? Well, in my opinion, everyone. But if you're a fan of Reacher and the 'Oceans' heist movies, then this is one for you. I absolutely loved it - Five stars all the way.
Roger Hobbs: "My protagonist may be on the other side of the law from Lee's (Childs) heroic Jack Reacher, but he's just as smart, rough and principled. If I can get anyone to stay up all night reading, then I've done my job." Job done, Roger - in spades. More please.
Ultimately, though, after looking below the surface, the story just doesn't cut it.
The main problem is the failure to develop any of the characters. We learn that the Ghostman is uniquely talented in the fine art of disappearing, though we never really understand why or how he does this. Sure, he somehow has a seemingly endless supply of fake passports and driver's licenses (from where we never learn), but beyond that the obvious questions are left unasked, let alone answered. What does he do with his cash? How do you go about spending $100K in hundred dollar bills without attracting the attention of the IRS? He tells us at one point that he has a bank account in "the South Pacific" that he never visits, but he never tells us how the cash gets into it.
And does he have any emotional attachment to anyone? Does he have a sex life? The subject isn't even mentioned.
Then there's the story itself. To start with, it's intertwined with a tale of a heist in Malaysia that failed because of the narrator's error, but when we finally learn the details it simply makes no sense whatever. And he introduces a female FBI agent, leading us to expect the development of some sort of relationship, but that ultimately goes nowhere, and its resolution just doesn't work.
For me the book jumped the shark in a scene lifted from "The Deer Hunter" that was the culmination of a series of progressively more incredulous narrow escapes.
And, of course, an issue with stories such as these is that the reader has no way of knowing whether the writer is making up all the details or really has some insight into the criminal world. I don't know anything about robbing armored cars. I know enough about gunshot wounds to understand that pretty much every piece of medical information he presents is pure fairy tale, and that raises a lot of questions about the quality of his research.
Then there are the little things. One of the few insights we learn about Ghostman is that he was a brilliant student, has been reading Latin since he was a boy, and, as an avocation, he translates ancient classics. You'd think such a guy would have managed the nuances of the word "like," which he misuses and abuses almost every other sentence.
Still, it was a page turner. If you want a book to pass the time on a long flight you could do worse.
Here, then, comes young Roger Hobbs with a new twist on the thriller. Hobbs' protagonist -- his hero, it would seem -- is not a superhero cop, spy, or private investigator. He is, in fact, an unrepentant, lifelong armed robber and murderer who combines the strength of an Olympic gold medalist with an IQ of 165 and the ability to outfight the biggest, baddest bad guy ever to come down the pike. Oh, but this guy never murders anyone unless it's absolutely necessary! And, in the course of Roger Hobbs' debut novel, Ghostman, he only kills maybe six or eight guys. (He doesn't like to murder women, we're told. Unless it's absolutely necessary.)
The title character is the guy on a team of bankrobbers who makes things disappear, including himself. He seamlessly shifts from one disguise to another, adopting a wide variety of names but never revealing his own. By applying makeup, coloring his hair, changing his voice and his gait, he manages to put on 20 years in an hour -- and we're expected to believe that he remains undetected even by someone sitting within two feet of him. The few people who really know him call him Ghostman. He's rootless as well as ruthless, and he could turn up anywhere in the world there's a huge bank job waiting.
Blood, guts, and impossibilities aside, there are a couple of things about Hobbs' writing that are laudable. His prose flows smoothly, uninterrupted by lyrical turns of phrase to hint that he's really a "serious" writer. And he's clearly done a masterful job of research into the procedural niceties and the argot of bank robbery as well as the workings of Atlantic City casinos and other topics closely related to his story. And, by the way, when I say Hobbs is young, I mean young: having graduated in 2011 from Reed College, he appears to be in his early twenties.
What's missing from Ghostman and other novels of the same ilk is soul. Though Hobbs appends an "autobiography" of his killer-hero to illustrate his motivation for doing what he does, there's not so much as a shred of evidence that the man -- or, for that matter, Roger Hobbs -- ever considers the needs, the feelings, or the value of other people. As I said, no soul.
Why do these nihilistic books get written so often, let alone published? And why do we read them? (Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!) Is there some bloodthirsty streak in our national character that impels us to make heroes out of people who seem to kill for a living?
So, the drawbacks. The "hero's" character is flat and undeveloped; there is little to no character interaction; the rest of the characters are stick figures or comic book preposterosities, for me, the "narrative drive" some find in it drops dead every time we get a flashback to the backstory that the writer says provides the "hero's" motivation (and every time I had to exercise major will power to crank up my suspension of disbelief); all the heists planned and executed by these supposed heist meisters are really, really, really stupid....
And, worse, book seemed a not very clever pastiche: of Richard Stark, of many flailing but big selling thriller writers, and most of all, the TV show Burn Notice. The narrator is forever giving us the inside scoop (which never feel either "inside" or "scoopish") about things "real criminals" know and do.
And yet worse: the writer doesn't seem to know anything. He makes a fuss over Chevy Suburbans, but doesn't know how much they weigh. The panoply of drugs being taken by the two crooks who start off the action seems to be cobbled together from a google search. The hero, despite his only apparent skill being physical violence, doesn't know how to make an Uzzi shoot in bursts. The writer talks about a marsh for three or four pages, then refers to it as bog. The writer thinks you can hear a CPU "beginning to work". He thinks .357 slugs are "fat as a quarter." And he thinks an arch villain called "The Wolf" is something other than ridiculous.
So how does the book get to be 300 pages? Endless Burn Noticy pseudo-info about the workings of the crook-cop axis of mediocrity. Here is perhaps the most benign example: "The police have ways of figuring that [stuff] out." Yeah, right, sure. Coupled with endless misplaced specificity. For example, for no particular reason, he gives us what he thinks is the inside dope on how cops get through locked doors, and then on silencers, rightly termed he informs us, suppressors. But he fails to distinguish between sound suppressors and flash suppressors, so I felt condemned to permanent state of ignorance.
At one point our hero says, "I'm the ghostman. Where's the Wolf?" Why, oh, why didn't the other guy answer: "Out back, gnawing on a dead woodchuck."