I got a copy of Kirby Gann’s novel Ghosting a few week or so ago, and finally have had time to dip into the first three chapters this morning. Gann’s prose—and perhaps the framing of his characters—reminds me a bit of Russell Banks or Thomas McGuane—that combination of the rough and the refined, that rawness that actually comes from meticulous reworking. Sample of that prose (context not important):
The first cop to show nods at Dwayne Hardesty and stands beside him at the feet of four kids who lie spread-eagled face-down on the muddy portico steps leading to the graffiti-strewn boards that shield the seminary entrance. The wash of the cruiser’s spot frescoes their captive forms in hard outline, three underfed and thin and the fourth a fat block squeezed into a Kentucky basketball sweatshirt that strains to withstand his heavy nervous breathing, the grommets in their jeans and an occasional earring flashing agleam in the white light; four pairs of white sneakers, expensive and rain-wet, shine stark and severe and unworldly.
Ghosting is a thriller, and Gann propels the narrative forward with these cinematic images (and realistic dialogue), engaging the reader to keep turning the pages.
Here’s the jacket copy:
A dying drug kingpin enslaved to the memory of his dead wife; a young woman torn between her promising future and the hardscrabble world she grew up in; a mother willing to do anything to fuel her addiction to pills; and her youngest son, searching for an answer behind his brother’s disappearance—these are just some of the unforgettable characters that populate Ghosting, Kirby Gann’s lush and lyrical novel of family, community, and the ties that can both bond and betray.
Fleece Skaggs has disappeared along with Lawrence Gruel’s reefer harvest. Convinced that the best way to discover the fate of his older brother is to take his place as a drug runner for Greuel, James Cole plunges into a dark underworld of drugs, violence, and long hidden family secrets, where discovering what happened to his brother could cost him his life.
A genre-subverting literary thriller explored through the alternating viewpoints of different characters, Ghosting is both a simple quest for the solution to a mystery, and a complex consideration of human frailty and equivocation.