The Ghost Writer by Robert Harris
I will not lie - one of the best parts of reading this was having it narrated by Ewan McGregor in my head.
To further the truth-telling: had this not been written by Robert Harris, I would have skipped the book and gone straight to the movie, which I would only have seen (via Netflix) based on the cast. Does anyone else have a girl crush on Olivia Williams?
Here's why I would have skipped it: it's a work of political fiction. It's full of intrigue and, due to a classic Fish-Out-Of-Water device, a lot of explanation of The Way Things Work. Which is all fine and dandy if you - like the Ghost - have lived in a politics-free-bubble your entire life. I haven't. My father was in the Navy and I have seen The West Wing enough times that I can quote lines. So at times I found it tiresome.
Not tiresome at all: the basic plot. The Ghost (who is never named) steps in to take over for a previous Ghost Writer who has died in a mysterious and ominous fashion. The book is written almost as a confessional to the reader, peppered with "had I known at the time" or "little did I know..." which is nice for the purpose of foreshadowing and does help build the momentum for apex of the plot and it's ultimate resolution.
It was good. It was not very good. I am not going to tell everyone I know to read it. But it was solidly good and I didn't throw it down in exasperation even once. (If only you knew how often I do that...it explains the length of time between posts.) If you like political thrillers, pick this up. If you do not, move along to something more your cup of tea.
I can't let this go - it's not quite a spoiler, but it's more than I generally like to share: in the final chapter, the Ghost breaks the 4th wall. It's abrupt and direct and off-putting. I'm much more a fan of letting it go to the reader's imaginations...but this time Harris felt the need to tell me how to feel about it.
Oh well, I will continue to read him because overall he is a very good writer.
and here is the trailer, which I will be watching just as soon as netflix sends it to me: