The Ghost of Danny McGee

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Pub Date 15 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2022


"Quietly insightful speculative fiction that will appeal to fans of Westworld and Black Mirror."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted, sinister, and wildly inventive, Quinlan Grim delivers a chilling campfire story that will keep you up past lights out.”
—Mary McCoy, author of Camp So-and-So

Camp Phoenix is a controversial and expensive summer camp program that transfers adults’ consciousness into a clone of their childhood selves. On the surface, it’s an ordinary summer camp. Twelve-year-old Logan has come to have a relaxing, carefree summer. She wants to ride horses, make new friends, and she loves listening to ghost stories. Sam is a twenty-year-old counselor, taking on the responsibility of the kids’ care by day, and riding the rollercoaster of a summer romance after hours.  

As Logan faces the ups and downs of puberty, Sam watches over her and struggles with the bizarre truth: the campers in her care are not kids at all, but wealthy adults immersed in the ultimate escape from reality.  

What Logan doesn’t know—or at least, can’t remember—is that she and her friends will all have to return to their grownup bodies once the summer is over. Logan will again be a successful, middle-aged woman, and the popular boy she has a crush on? He will return to his life as a celebrity suspect at the center of a high-profile murder case.

"Quietly insightful speculative fiction that will appeal to fans of Westworld and Black Mirror."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted, sinister, and wildly inventive, Quinlan Grim delivers a chilling campfire...

Advance Praise

"Grim’s novel is mostly a quiet, slow-moving reflection on second chances, the ethics of cloning, the privileges of the rich, and what it means to be human. The story’s perspective alternates between that of Sam and Logan, exploring the experiences of the campers and the counselors, by turns. There’s a tinge of unreliability to their narration that gives the tale a compelling, evocative, and uneasy feel. The author also cleverly weaves in the ever changing story of a ghost who supposedly haunts the camp—the eponymous Danny McGee—adding an extra layer to the story in which everybody’s repeatedly told to “Stay on the trails.'

"Quietly insightful speculative fiction that will appeal to fans of Westworld and Black Mirror."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted, sinister, and wildly inventive, Quinlan Grim delivers a chilling campfire story that will keep you up past lights out.”
—Mary McCoy, author of Camp So-and-So

"Grim’s novel is mostly a quiet, slow-moving reflection on second chances, the ethics of cloning, the privileges of the rich, and what it means to be human. The story’s perspective alternates between...

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ISBN 9781955085106
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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book. The premise is fascinating and the story held my attention. The writer is a talented storyteller. I would have liked to have heard more about the characters backstory before the events of the story.

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The Ghost of Danny McGee is a fantastic YA-type thriller. I loved it. The plot is really unique and the story well-written. While I never really "liked" any of the characters, they were all well thought out. The story is about a camp where rich people pay to go back in time and be young again. While they are young, their current bodies are placed in a sort of state of suspension. The staff knows the kids are not really kids, which is interesting when a suspected murderer shows up on the camper's list. How do they react to that? What about the pop star who is a kid again? The camp is completely realistic with the crafts, staff personalities, etc. I really enjoyed the book and there were a few complete surprises along the way. It did not take the route I thought it would. and the end fell a bit flat for me or maybe it is just because I wanted more. All in all, this is a great story and I can't wait to read more by this super-talented author.

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Well written with an intersting and engaging story and well developed characters that all really added something to the plot. This was an incredible read.

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Imagine getting to be a kid again for 10 weeks at a summer camp.

In a remote location completely isolated from reality rests Camp Phoenix, a summer camp where rich adults can become children again. Run by Phoenix Genetics, no one knows exactly how it happens but there's definitely some controversy around the process.

Throughout the story we experience the summer camp from the perspectives of Sam and Logan. Sam is a 20ish year old counselor at Camp Phoenix who's just returned from living in Paris and is now up for a promotion at camp and Logan, a wife and mother looking to reignite the connection she had with her husband and save her marriage by reliving the childhood summer camp experience together.

Among the other guests on the lists? Famous singer, Poppy Warbler and filmmaker Hugo Baker, a possible murderer.

Underlying all of the usual summer camp activities such as swimming, crafts, and campfires is the story of Danny McGee. Originally a bedtime story that Sam made up to entertain her campers, slowly becomes an ominous presents in the lives of all the campers.

I never wanted this book to end. It felt like I was at Camp Phoenix. This would be a great summer read and I definitely plan on rereading it when it comes out.

If you like summer camp stories, ghost stories, West World, or Black Mirror then this book is for you.

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Set in a not too distant future where you can implant your consciousness into a genetically modified version of your childhood self, this book is an intriguing at times chilling look into the innocence of childhood and growing up.

This book reminded me a lot, somehow, of "The Girl who could fly" by Victoria Forester, but balanced with an adult view point. Both narrative voices are really well-developed and interesting, feeling very very real. I think I will pick this up again in a while, and enjoying knowing the ending as I read again.

The technology of the book's premise is never explained with much detail, but I don't think it needed to be. It raised a lot of questions for me, but more in the sense that I want to read more from this world, not that anything was really missing.

This book is suited to young adult and adult readers, and the child's perspective does not make the book more juvenile. I look forward to reading more from Quinlan Grim.

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I absolutely loved this! It was so well written and engaging whereas the plot was unique. I can't wait to recommend this to friends.

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The premise is immediately compelling, chock full of potential, and there's a lot to love about this book. The author makes a clever choice not to too closely interrogate the science bit of the sci-fi, focusing instead on the narrative potential of said science, the 'what-if' of it all. This, I am reliably informed, is what all the best sci-fi does: use science as a tool to investigate humanity. On that score: 10/10.

For me, there are slightly too many characters to follow - I lost track of who was who between the teen/adult characters - and the ending was a bit rushed and a bit of an anticlimax. I wish we could see more of the fallout from the characters returning to their lives, which is teased in the blurb but doesn't really deliver in the novel itself.

I also perhaps wish that there was less mystery/ghost story, and more exploration of the central tenet of the book: What do our childhoods mean for our adult selves? Would we go back, if we could? Should we? Perhaps I want this to be more lit fic than thriller - there are shades of Never Let Me Go, which feels like an unfair comparison.

I want to stay in this world, though, and I can't give higher praise than that.

My thanks to California Coldblood Books and NetGalley for the ARC.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a free copy in exchange of an honest review. The Ghost of Danny McGee is actually a pretty good read with an interesting premise. The concept of it does gives off Blackmirror vibes. Basically there’s this summer camp where rich people can spend millions to spend time there in their 12 year old bodies with their adult consciousness intact though they don’t remember their adult vibes. Honestly this book does touch upon reality and science and also about childhood. About how our childhood does shape up our adult lives and how our adult self is different than when we were young. All in all, it’s a very interesting read and the story is fast-paced. I couldn’t stop reading because it reels you right in. I do understand how some people do feel put off at the beginning but you have to push through.

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Das Buch jetzt ist mal special. Sowohl vom Inhalt als auch generell, das gibt es nämlich hier in Deutschland noch überhaupt nirgends zu sehen, geschweige denn vorzubestellen. Ich kannte auch weder den Autor, noch den Verlag, aber ich fand das Cover skurril-witzig, und die Beschreibung extrem cool. Also, danke Netgalley USA für das Rezensionsexemplar!
Camp Phoenix ist ein extrem teures und kontroverses Sommer Camp. Solche Camps haben wir hier in Europa eher selten, in den USA allerdings hat wohl jeder Jugendliche schon mal zumindest einen Sommer in einem Ferienlager verbracht, und zwar einen ganzen Sommer. Sprich, diese Camps dauern etwa 10-12 Wochen, und nach aussen hin ist Camp Phoenix auch ein ganz normales Sommerlager. Weit ab vom Schuss, inmitten der Natur, an einem See gelegen, und die 12jährige Logan liebt es, am Lagerfeuer zu sitzen, zu reiten, neue Freundschaften zu schliessen, und Geistergeschichten zu hören.
Sam ist 20, und eine der Betreuerinnen. Einerseits hat sie einen gutbezahlten Sommerjob, der Zeit lässt, um mit den anderen Betreuern abends Party zu machen, andererseits ist das auch ein recht verantwortungsvoller Job, denn einen Haufen Kids und Teens zu hüten, kann schon anstrengen.
Aber Camp Phoenix ist kein normales Summer Camp. Die Camper sind nicht normal: hier handelt es sich nicht um echte Kinder, sondern um Klons von extrem reichen Erwachsenen, die für einen Sommer mal wieder unbeschwert Kindheit und Jugend geniessen wollen. Die „echten Klienten“ liegen für die ganze Zeit in einer Klinik im künstlichen Koma, und per Bewusstseinstransfer erwachen die kleinen Klons zum Leben. Die Betreuer wissen das, die kleinen Camper natürlich nicht. Und so beobachten Sam und die anderen ihre Meute bei ihrem Sommer, ihren Nöten, ihren Freuden, ihren pubertären Kämpfen, und wissen doch zeitgleich, dass alles Fake ist. So real es sich auch anfühlen mag.
Die Geschichte ist abwechselnd aus Sams und Logans Sicht erzählt. Und bei Logan witzigerweise aus Sicht der 12jährigen Logan und der über 50jährigen Frau.
Das war mal eine echt faszinierende Idee. Wer will nicht mal gerne wieder einen Sommer seiner Jugend verbringen? Ich kann das verstehen, wenn man da mal zuschlagen will. Aber natürlich kann man die Vergangenheit nicht ändern – oder doch? Aber eigentlich ist ja alles nur fake und geklont?
Der Autor hat das Experiment in so ziemlich allen Facetten beschrieben, und ich habe das Buch verschlungen. War super spannend geschrieben, und mich hat dieses Experiment total fasziniert. Ich fand die Beschreibung des Camps und der Charaktere auch authentisch. Ich hab in Sams Alter auch mal in Ferienlagern gejobbt, und ja, so ähnlich hab ich das in Erinnerung 😉. Nur das unsere Kids echt waren 😉. Die waren aber genauso anstrengend 😉.
Also, ich bin echt in diese Geschichte eingetaucht.
Der titelgebende Geist von Danny McGee ist übrigens die Geistergeschichte der Camper. Sam hat die Geschichte erfunden, sie des abends am Lagerfeuer erzählt, und irgendwann hat sich die Story verselbständigt und die Kids gehen auf Geisterjagd. Danny McGee ist sozusagen eine Story in der Story.
Ich hoffe, das Buch macht seinen Weg nach Deutschland und wird hier auch übersetzt. Ich fands auf jeden Fall klasse!

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The Ghost of Danny McGee
by Quinlan Grim
My thanks to California Coldblood Books and NetGalley for the ARC. A very good book. The Ghost of Danny McGee is a fantastic YA-type thriller. Rich adults become to camp as children. I did enjoy the concept.

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3.5 stars rounded up.

To start off I would just like to say that I think this would make a really interesting tv show. While I enjoyed reading it for the most part I think what this book was lacking was character insight and motivation due to it only being dual pov and a tv show could really elevate this story and let us know more about the other characters. Because I will say that I found myself gravitating more towards some of the side characters. I wanted to know more about Rosie and Taps and Milly especially but also how Elias and Nick got into the camp and definitely more about Hugo and his story.

One nitpicky thing that I did not enjoy was that the first maybe one third of the story made it out to be some love triangle between Sam and the two brothers but then like that wasnt a big deal at all I don’t know. I kind of wish Sam and Elias were just kept a completey good friends and then like he reacted more to her being with Nick.

Also personal preference I guess but I got some sapphic vibes from Rosie, and also lowkey was wishing for Logan to realise she (also) liked girls and thats why it wasnt working out with Max and why she didnt want to do stuff with Hugo. Not something I obviously expected from the story but like what my gay brain wanted.

There seemed to be underlying conversations waiting to happen surrounding homophobia and racism in the story but like nothing much came of them. One big thing was a discussion on sexual assault but again it was dismissed which like fell in line with some characters but I don’t know I didn’t like how Sam pushed for it to be discussed and then just stopped.

Overall I did like the story, I thought it was really interesting and well written. The ending was complete but I also wish there was more. There definitely needed to be more from the other characters, especially the councillors because it felt like they just disappeared halfway through the book. Rosie was so outspoken at the start and then we got nothing from her, I do think she could have been a good driving force when Sam was bringing up the sexual assault.

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In The Ghost of Danny McGee, there is a summer camp that costs lots of money to attend where adults can transfer their consciousness into the body of a child. When you do this, you do not hold onto any of your adult memories while you’re in the child body. The idea is that you can go back to being a carefree kid at summer camp, escaping the drag of adult life. The camp is staffed by young college students whose entire role is to provide an authentic summer camp experience.

There are ethical issues with the camp: are the kids “real” people? Is this a thinly veiled attempt at cloning? What happens at the end of the summer when you must leave the child body and return to yourself? What happens if the kids start remembering pieces of their “real” life while at camp?

The story follows two perspectives. One is Sam, a camp counselor who has been scouted to move into a more leadership role. The other is Logan, a camper who is attending this summer with her (soon to be ex) husband…they are hoping to save their marriage by “meeting” as children & falling for each other. There is a whole cast of other fascinating characters - namely, another camper named Hugo, who in the adult world is a famous actor about to undergo a trial where he has been accused of a violent murder.

The concept was very Black Mirror meets Never Let Me Go meets campfire ghost story. I found it extremely unique, and loved that the author chose to make it very character driven rather than going in too deep on the science aspect. It is a quietly thoughtful book. I do wish the horror/suspense element was played up a bit more. I also think there were a lot of areas in the plot that could have used more exploration, yet were sorta just brought up without going into depth.

Overall, I loved this book and cannot wait to purchase a physical copy when it comes out.

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I loved the concept for this book when adults are able to download their consciousness into a body representing themselves as a child and go back and re-experience that quintessential American experience of a lakeside summer camp
As a Brit this experience is not so integral to our childhoods but nether the less having watched any number of movies with this setting I didn’t find it hard to imagine .The book is very visual and cinematic and this helps ,I also couldn’t help but imagine the smells of sun block musty kids and lake water
There are some sections that are surprisingly horrifying in a Steven kingesque way.These we’re sometimes difficult to read
I have to admit to finding the ending rather disappointing ,I had jumped far further in my imagining and desired a more complex ending
The prose is well written and easy to read ,I could imagine this book being enjoyed on the nations sun loungers during summer holidays 2023
I read an early copy on NetGalley Uk the book is published in November 2022 and I am sure will sell very well

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In all honesty, this book made me want to turn back in time to be a kid again and experience summer camps again or make use of my age and actually become a camp counselor.

There was something extraordinary about the atmosphere created in the book, it seems so realistic and even though there are descriptions of the areas where the action takes place, they're general enough, so that some of them can be reimagined to fit the pre-existent ideas of camps that some people have.

I really enjoyed the book and the characters, even though some of them were certainly flawed and at some point in the novel I had absolutely no idea what was about to happen. Definitely engaging!

There were some times, however, where the book felt messy and the narration shifts didn't help resolve all of that but altogether, it wasn't that much of an issue.

I already told my friends to look out for the book, once it's available to buy.

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If you could relive a childhood summer would you?
That’s exactly what Camp Phenix does for. Your consciousness is transferred into your childhood clone. Just don’t forget about the camp ghost.

Okay, this was a fun book.
You live out the weeks of summer camp from two perspectives, one camper and one councillor.
Knowing who some of the adult characters were before transferring consciousness has you wondering how the summer will turn out.

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