Ghost of a Marriage
by Richard Dansky
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Pub Date 28 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2021
Crossroad Press, Macabre Ink
There’s something in Gary’s house that doesn’t want him there.
Ever since his marriage fell apart, he’s been seeing things, things that everyone keeps on telling him aren’t there.
But Gary’s not just seeing things, and soon it’s more than his peace of mind that’s at stake—it’s his life.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
Oh man! This book took me by surprise. I am also not sure if this is more of a novella or a book since I read it on my phone and the pages are shorter character so way more pages.
Let me start by saying that I was hooked from the first chapter. The plot was interesting and the main character Gary was somewhat relatable (I’ve never been married) but what I really enjoyed the most was the pace - it did not make me suffer through many sub-plots or scenarios that were unnecessary- there were 3-4 places that were in the story and that was enough. At not point did I even think about putting it down because I was bored or in a slow part.
I liked the description of the main characters a lot and the way they dealt with their emotions and the stress, you could feel the tension just from reading and that was wonderful. I loved that it was only one sided and you didn’t really see Jen side of her story - which made it a lot better for the story and the ending. I loved the cat depictions cause it showed exactly how cats are as well as a relationship of someone that ends up with a cat that wasn’t theirs…
There were a few things I did not enjoy which was one of the main characters friendship (Patrick) and also some unnecessary descriptions that actually didn’t even fit in with the story - like I didn’t get a full description of what the house looked like inside but I do get a full description of the breakroom that is not relevant to the story at all, and there was a scene that I thought was “repeating itself” (Once I hit finished reading, it wouldn’t let me open the book again to find it) but I am not sure if it was done on purpose to confuse the reader OR just an oversight thru editing; however this was not so terrible that I couldn’t finish the book. Just enough to not make it five stars.
PS - I love the ending and that at the end it was poltergeist created by both of them and not just him - and not some actual weird ghost stuff. Just energy gone wrong.
I would give it 4.5 stars if possible but it wouldn’t let me.
Thank you to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book!
First off this is not what I expected it to be. Honestly having actual ghosts instead of the character having a mental disorder is a nice fresh of breath air. Here's my breakdown:
Characters: I thought the characters were good. I think Gary's actions and attitude to the situation is valid. He didn't want the marriage to end, but he at least respected Jen. There was so much breakdown of communication between the two and honestly Gary deserved to have a civil conversation with Jen.
Atmosphere: The house was a nice setting for the story. I wish we spent a little more time in the house, but it made sense and was honestly logical.
Writing: I have no complaints about the writing it was fine.
Plot: I'm glad that the author stuck with the actual ghosts plot point. The mental disorder trope has been way overdone at this point.
Intrigue: I was intrigued to see where the ghosts were going to go. I think how Gary got rid of the ghosts was something he needed to do for himself to heal.
Logic: I felt this was pretty logical. The divorce proceddings. The life of a game developer. The feelings that Gary was feeling.
Enjoyment: I enjoyed it for what it was. Ended up giving this 4 stars. I do recommend it for a good ghost story that doesn't have to lean on mental disorders to tell a story.
I love a good ghost story and this is just that. It wasn't at all what I expected but it was different and new and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gary and his wife are separating. She tells him that she wants to end things and does so three months before her apartment will be ready. Horrible. So, they are stuck living together until she is able to move out. She also asks him to not tell anyone that she is moving out. This causes friction for him with his friend, Patrick, from work who knows something is wrong but Gary refuses to let him know what. James and Ellie, his neighbors and friends, also know something is up and try to help him. Thankfully, he has Francesca, his cat to keep him company. The hauntings start slow with a ghost candle in the master bath and progress to a full out haunting. The characters are written wonderfully. The character of Gary is completely believable as well as the friendships and acquaintances he has. I really enjoyed this book. Thank you to the publisher for letting me read this book.
This was a great, unique take. However I didn't care for the ending. I would recommend this to everyone. Not your usual ghost story.
This book is a prime example of a slow and not especially exciting tory being saved and elevated by above average writing. And how can a story about ghosts be slow and not that exciting you might ask? Fair question. The answer is in the ingredients.
Take a sad unraveled marriage on its last legs – or not even, just the last couple of weeks while the wife who is leaving her husband is waiting for her apartment lease to begin. Take a sad sack of a man who is desperately clinging to a completely unrealistic idea of them still working it out and getting back together – that’s Gary, our protagonist. Take a haunting done by ghosts of Gary and his wife’s younger selves. And proceeded slowly.
That’s basically it. Gary’s wife is so thoroughly unpleasant, you’d think he’d be doing cartwheels at her leaving…his moping is completely unreasonable. She leaves him their house that he loves and Frannie, his beloved feline companion. Life ought to be gravy, but Gary’s too hung up on his soon to be ex-wife to recognize it.
Gary’s a writer who hasn’t written in ages. He has a demanding job in a video game company that eats up most of his time. He eats tons of crappy takeout. He has strikingly devoted friends…seriously, his friends in this book, especially James and Ellie are inordinately (conspicuously) solicitous. And all this time Gary gives nothing back to his friends, not even the truth about his divorce for the longest time, because of his stupid ideas of reconciliation.
And the ghosts in this story are as weirdly mopey and hung up on lurv as Gary, albeit they are much more assertive and aggressive.
In the end, the entire production amounts to something like an unconventional marriage therapy, or, more accurately, divorce therapy. And it does take its time getting there and yet…
And yet…it was surprisingly engaging. The author has a knack for writing the quotidian and even Gary in all his sad sack ways is quite compelling as a lead. So, I enjoyed it. Though readers looking for scares ghost fiction usually promises might want to adjust their expectations for more of a slow relationship drama. Thanks Netgalley.
Memories are a mirror to the past. A happy past the present Gary yearned for. He needed to be contented and focused in the now and Ghost Gary presented the part of Gary that was in denial. Both parts of Gary needed to accept reality, though after being destroyed Ghost Gary had no reality to content but Gary definitely had a future.
Life’s truly, what we make it. If we send out bad energy, the universe sends it back. The only negative aspect was the overuse of vulgarity, a couple of errors with editing but a great read, appealing, and relatable
This story took over my life while I was reading it!!!. I was absorbed into this story about Jen and Gary and their failing marriage completely, that's how well written it was!!!. What can I say?. The plot tells a story and other things that happen along the way are absolutely mind blowing. Obviously there's ghosts in this story, the title sort of gives that away but you will not expect who they are and what they do!!!.
It's a gem of a book that you will really enjoy plus, it makes you think a little!!!
Many thanks to Netballey for the free ARC book for an honest review.
#crossroadpress, #Netgalley, #richarddansky.
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