Review: Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin


Synopsis from Good Reads:

Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer.

That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted.

Before his admission to a care home for dementia

Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip.

Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed other young women. Including her sister Rachel.

Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel.

Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar.

Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk.

For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . .

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Paper Ghosts will be available May 15, 2018. 

It pains me to say this, but I found Paper Ghosts to be a big waste of time.

After absolutely loving Julia Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans, I was really looking forward to her next book. I expected a great mystery and a good deal of suspense. I didn’t really get either of those things in this book. The only moments of suspense were kind of equivalent to someone jumping out and yelling “boo!” at you, where you are slightly startled for a moment and then over it with no lasting impact. I felt like the conclusion was not anything we were led to believe and instead of enjoying the journey to get there, I find myself asking, “What was the point?”

I really did not care for the main character. For some reason, her real name is never mentioned until the end of the book. I’m not sure what kind of impact this was supposed to have on me, but it had none. (Something similar to this happened in Black-Eyed Susans and it did have an impact there, but just didn’t do anything for me here.) We are constantly told of her mysterious trainer who has prepared her for the dark things she has to do and what a detailed planner she is. However, almost right away she starts losing the upper hand to Carl. She does not follow her own rules and continually loses track of Carl. I kept thinking that this had to be part of her plan. She could not possibly be that inept. I kept waiting for everything to come together and her master plan to be revealed. But it never did. What she finds out she only finds out because Carl led her to it.

Overall, I was incredibly disappointed in Paper Ghosts. The main character was not only unlikable, but her total ineptitude after constantly talking about how well trained she was was baffling. The only thing I really liked about the book was Carl. He was a much smarter and more compelling character. I’m sure there will be people that will enjoy this, but it just wasn’t for me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

20 thoughts on “Review: Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

  1. I haven’t heard anything good about this one. I have to say I’m glad I passed. Hope your next is Much better!

  2. Man, it is so disappointing when a book doesn’t work out for you. I don’t think it sounds like something that I would enjoy that much, either. I hope that you love the next book you read. 🙂

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