“Ghostman is a slam bang, gritty, down and dirty, law breaking journey into the underworld . . .”
“Trying to catch a ghostman is like trying to catch smoke.”
In the spirit of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne—“The Chameleon”—Roger Hobbs gives us Jack, “the Ghostman.” What Jason Bourne is to military and CIA Black Ops, the Ghostman is to crime. Known to some as Jack, the main character is an expert, hardened criminal who pulls off heists and disappears as if he were never there.
The story starts in Atlantic City with a heist gone bad, shifting to Seattle, where the Ghostman (Jack)—who very few even know is alive—is contacted by a former associate to whom he owes a large debt. In order to even up the score, he needs to clean up a botched robbery, then find the missing $1.2 million and return it to Seattle.
The action commences with Jack’s arrival in Atlantic City. The story quickly steamrolls into a page turner, with nonstop conflicts and a three-way battle of criminal minds. Along the way the author intertwines a heart-pounding backstory that manages to fill in critical gaps and helps to bring the entire tale together.
Ghostman lacks only one primary element of a successful crime thriller: a relatable protagonist. It is extremely difficult for most to empathize with a cold-blooded thief and killer. It is even more difficult to make a connection with a man who is not really likeable to begin with and has very little personality or humanizing characteristics to grab onto.
Yet author Hobbs brilliantly turns a flaw into a strength. The essence of the Ghostman’s existence and his ultimate end game—aside from pulling off unimaginable heists without getting caught—is never presenting himself as a complete human being. He is antisocial, possessive of a borderline personality, and has no persona or identifiable characteristics to sink your teeth into. He is purposefully written as someone who wants and needs to be forgettable in order to survive.
Mr. Hobbs does a masterful job of preying on people’s instinctual, sometimes morbid curiosity about the unknown, in this case the mind and world of a criminal sociopath. The lack of human relatability forms the guts of this book.
Roger Hobbs also delves into the world of crime, thievery, heists, arms, and drugs with particular skill and ease. His descriptions of scenes and action are matter of fact and extremely vivid. His expert use of criminal terminology and deconstruction of criminal methodology is often staggeringly imaginative. The reader will walk away thinking Mr. Hobbs must be a criminal himself in order to have this much knowledge about how expert criminals operate—specifically one whose presence is wispy and indeterminate, fleeting yet deadly.
Ghostman is a slam bang, gritty, down and dirty, law breaking journey into the underworld in which honor among thieves is a serious joke. Never knowing what will come next makes Ghostman a true nailbiter.