Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Ghost In The Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce

David Barwise is a college student on summer vacation in England in 1976.  He decides rather than going home and spending the summer with his parents, he will go to the small coastal town of Skegness and find a job. Money and independence are prime motivators, but there is also the fact that he has found a picture of his birth father in the town.  The topic of his father was always forbidden so he hopes to find out something about him. 

David manages to get hired as an employee at one of the resorts.  This isn't a resort with glitz and glamour; instead it is the kind of resort Americans used to find in the Catskills; a place where a family could go for a week with activities planned like Most Glamorous Grandmother, bingo and treasure hunts for the kids.  The kind of place with corny shows with second-rate magicians, dancers who aren't quite first-rate and singers who specialize in older songs.

David works hard and seems to be well-liked by the staff.  He enjoys the place at least at first before the strange events start to take place.  Wherever he goes, he occasionally sees two figures that strike a chill in his heart.  The figures are a man and small son, with the man wearing a blue suit.  They look at David with eyes of clear glass and disappear as he blinks.  Is he really seeing something or is he imagining it?

Adding to his stress are the situations he finds himself drawn into.  There are National Front devotees among the employees and they try to draw David into their political agenda of hate for refugees and anyone not 'real English'.  He gets drawn into the middle of an abusive marriage as he is attracted to the wife, Terri, and as the husband, Colin, takes an interest in him, perhaps because he suspects there is something going on between David and Terri.  When Terri disappears and the police arrive, the stress mounts until David realizes he must solve the mysteries that surround him.

Graham Joyce has quietly been making a name for himself for the past few years.  An English writer, his work is gaining fame and popularity elsewhere with authors such as Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Jonathan Lethem counted among his fans. He walks a line between the genres of fantasy and mystery, drawing the reader along on his path. This book is recommended for fantasy and horror readers.

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