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Early in 2013, you’ll have the chance to start with a new Northwest author who should be great fun to follow. Roger Hobbs’ Ghostman follows a guy who is, in the parlance of the novel, a “ghost” – no one really knows who he is, what his name is or, to some degree, if he really exists. He no longer even has fingerprints.
He’s a highly trained and very serious fixer: he’s been on various jobs (bank heists, highly-choreographed thefts, and different sorts of illegal activities are alluded to) but for the last few years he’s been used to clean up messes left by the work of others. In that, he’s not too different from Brett Battle’s Jonathan Quinn, except that the Ghost works strictly in the criminal world, not in the world of espionage… spooks and ghosts – well, anyway, it isn’t as confusing as I am making it. The publisher likens him to Mr Wolf in Pulp Fiction, but that isn’t quite right either. This guy is far more active, always on the move, not necessarily looking for a fight but quick to take care of anyone who is. Like Reacher, and just as logical.
In Ghostman, “Jack” (the Ghost) is rousted from his nest in Seattle by Marcus, a high-powered ‘jugman’ who sets up jobs. A casino robbery in Atlantic City turned bloody, one of the thieves was left dead, the other is missing as is the money. Jack owes Marcus from a job that went bad years ago and Jack has no choice but to fly across the country to fix it: find the other thief and the money and erase any trace that could lead back to Marcus.
This debut is fast, bloody, ingenious, full of the clatter of gunfire and the solitary silence of scheming and sweating. Jack is working against a time limit, pinned between Marcus, a man he knowns he cannot cross, and another, shadowy and scary guy from Jersey who wants Jack to double-cross Marcus. Then there is that woman from the FBI and his own memories of the job in Malaysia that went bad. He must go through a couple of dozen pre-paid cell phones, a half-dozen cars and guns, not to mention suits.
He’s a young guy who lives in Portland, so we hope and expect to see him for every book and we hope and expect him to have a long a productive career writing thrillers. He’s certainly beginning it with a bang!— JB
February 2013 Indie Next List
“Jack, both brilliant and cunning, has made it to the top of the gangster ranks. Extremely wealthy, equipped with the most modern technological tools and constantly changing addresses and even his physical appearance, Jack is like a living ghost. Only a happy few know how to contact him. An old partner in crime to whom he is indebted calls on Jack to clean up the mess from a seemingly well-organized heist gone bad. Not trusting his former partner, hunted by an extremely dangerous mobster, and chased by the FBI, Jack needs all of his tricks to keep his ghost-like existence intact. Smart and captivating from beginning to end, a stellar debut!”
— Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH
FINALIST FOR THE EDGAR AWARD BEST FIRST NOVEL
In a daring operation, two crooks-for-hire rob an Atlantic City casino. But their heist goes horribly wrong, and only one of them makes it out alive. Now he's on the run with half a million dollars vacuum-packed into a bundle the size of a briefcase. Little does he know it's rigged with explosives.
Almost immediately, an expert fixer named Jack is in cross-country pursuit. With less than foty-eight hours to recover the money, clean up the mess, and for god's sake try not to botch the job like he did last time....
About the Author
Roger Hobbs was the youngest-ever winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and is a recipient of the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and the Maltese Falcon Prize. Born in 1988, Hobbs graduated from Reed College in Portland. Mr. Hobbs died in 2016. www.rogerhobbs.com
A Booklist Best Mystery of the Year
Winner of the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award
“A pulse-pumping heist thriller.” —Rolling Stone
“Smoking-fast. . . . The debut of a gifted crime writer.” —The New York Times
“Fast, hard and knowing: this is an amazing debut full of intrigue, tradecraft and suspense. Read it immediately!” —Lee Child
“A tense and tightly coiled debut thriller.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A stunningly accomplished debut. . . . [Hobbs] has the talent to fuel bestsellers and summer blockbusters for years to come.” —The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Richly imagined and darkly fascinating.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A super-slick thriller.”—New York Daily News
“Stylishly gritty and fast-paced.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A first-time novelist who’s . . . already writing with the poise of an old pro. . . . Hobbs is an assured stylist who favors clean, precise prose, [and] handles violence with a lyric touch.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Ghostman is terrific: lightning-quick, absolutely compelling, and smart as all get-out.”—The Seattle Times
“Crackling with action.” —Bloomberg News
“Wonderfully hard-boiled.” —Parade
“A gripping adrenaline rush, a dirty bomb of a crime thriller with a deceptive plot that confounds and stimulates characters and readers alike.” —Portland Monthly
“What [Lee] Child’s debut novel, Killing Floor, did for thrillers, Hobbs does for crime novels.” —Arizona Republic
“Hobbs is up there with the best. I don't think I've read a better botched heist than the one that begins Ghostman. It's a masterpiece of hyper-kinetic blocking and deep, vivid detail.”—John O’Connell, The Guardian (London)
“A propulsive thriller that combines incredible detail and unstoppable narrative drive. . . . Hobbs possesses a [Lee] Child-like ability for first unleashing and then shrewdly directing a tornado of a plot, but he also evokes Elmore Leonard in the subtle interplay of his characters. A triumph on every level.” —Booklist (starred review)
“This watertight debut [is] at once slick and gritty. . . Straight out of the gate, Hobbs has mastered the essentials of a contemporary thriller: a noir-like tone, no-nonsense prose and a hero with just enough personality to ensure he doesn’t come off as an amoral death machine [as well as] heart-stopping scenes that illustrate how small mistakes can turn catastrophic.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)