To Kill a Ghost by J. Warren Weaver begins with a prologue that introduces readers to Viktor Brown, an immigrant who still suffers from the loss of Marga, his significant other. He is shot at his home as he goes about his ordinary day, dying from the fatal gunshot wound on the back of his head and one that startles the entire neighborhood. Erik, his grandson, stops his studies in med school to help the grieving family cope with the loss. But there is a lot that makes him feel that nothing is what it seems — including the identity of his grandfather. When the case seems to go cold, he takes matters into his own hands, and as Erik digs for the truth through a series of violence, he discovers skills he never thought he had, skills built into him by his grandfather. As a trail of bodies follow his path, Erik suddenly finds himself in the center of a world of crime — kidnapping, drugs, and organized crime. Can he unravel the mystery about his grandfather before it is too late?
J. Warren Weaver crafts a thriller that is brimming with intrigue and that features larger-than-life characters. The opening offers a deceptively simple case of murder, and the reader’s mind is filled with questions as they think about what could happen next as a neighborhood and a family deal with shock and loss. The mysterious character of Viktor is not immediately introduced and following Erik’s path to unravelling the truth about Viktor’s murder becomes an exciting ride for readers, one that is filled with unexpected twists and turns. This is a story that is layered with action, featuring complex characters, an intricately-woven plot, and robust conflict. The prose is beautiful and the dialogues dazzling. In turn slyly poignant and delightfully haunting, this tale that overflows with intelligent dialogues and engrossing prose has everything one looks for in a page-turning thriller. Don’t open To Kill a Ghost if you have an important appointment; you won’t make it. It is imaginative and original.
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo