Ghost Child by Caroline Overington

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Ghost Child by Caroline Overington

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A novel approach to a novel, this is different in a VERY good way
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-0099584759

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1980s Melbourne. A triple zero (=999) call has been received from a house on a notorious estate. A child is unresponsive. The story of how it happened is sketchy to say the least. And pretty soon, as it turns into a murder enquiry, people want answers. Need answers.

This is such a great concept for a book. It’s the done thing these days to have a book that switches between two points of view, maybe a victim and the accused, but I’ve never seen one quite like this where so many people get a chapter of their own to put in their two cents worth, from the detective involved to one of the journalists, his daughter, various foster parents, social workers and so on. The different perspectives, not to mention the different voices, really keep the story going and you get to piece together, bit by bit, what happened that day and why it matters now.

This story takes place over two times, back when the incident happened and now, in the present day. Lauren, one of the other children in the family, is now grown up. She’s moved to Sydney, started over, gone where people don’t know her past, that she was one of those kids in that family. So why, suddenly, are we meeting her? And why not one of her other two surviving siblings? Something must be about to happen to her. Something big.

I found this an intense read that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, put down. It’s verging on true crime, and indeed the author notes that it is loosely based on, or perhaps inspired by, a case she knew. This is quite a straightforward, no-nonsense book as it consists of people telling you about their memories of certain times, almost as if they’re being interviewed and trying to stick to the facts, not wander off with superfluous detail. If it sounds sterile, it’s not. Lots of emotion comes through. If people were on tape, you can imagine their voices would crack at certain points, the odd tear might escape.

I was expecting there to be a different link from the past to the present and so I was a little puzzled when I realised I was down to the last couple of chapters. But then I suppose, this fits in with the real-life nature of this book. Sometimes things are not overly dramatic. Sometimes there isn’t a Hollywood ending. Sometimes, life goes on.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Even though it wasn’t the most outlandish case the press would ever have seen, there was something about it that captured my attention. It sticks with you, y’know? Even after you’ve finished the last page and closed the cover. And that, alone, tells you what sort of books this is.

Highly recommended, I must send big thanks to the publishers for sending us a copy to enjoy.

I Came To Say Goodbye, an earlier work by this author, is excellent too.

Buy Ghost Child by Caroline Overington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost Child by Caroline Overington at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Ghost Child by Caroline Overington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost Child by Caroline Overington at Amazon.com.


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