Gap Year in Ghost Town
by Michael Pryor
The Marin family are outcasts of the ghost hunting world. They run a two-man operation in inner city Melbourne. Anton has the Ghost-sight, but his father does not. Rani Cross is supremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, with enhanced speed and strength thanks to her magical initiation into the Company of the Righteous. When it comes to ghost-hunting methodology, Anton and Rani don’t see eye to eye – Anton likes to ‘ease their passage’ to the next world, while Rani’s all about the slashing. But Melbourne is under threat; with a massive spike in violent ghost manifestations, Anton and Rani must work together to keep supernatural forces at bay. And what with all the blindingly terrifying brushes with death, Anton must decide if he really wants in on the whole ghost hunting biz anyway.
Ghosts are real and they manifest in all different types, a Moaner, a Weeper, a Lingerer, a Rager and it’s the obligation of the Marin family and companies around the world to deal with them. Anton Marin is the main character of this story and very much like any other seventeen-year-old in Australia he’s just graduated high school and is doing a gap year but his gap year is a little different. Before Anton moves to a career and a future going to a university next year he’s spending this year hunting ghosts and easing them to the other side so not really like every other Australian. His family is an old one in the Ghost community but the Marin family is also not a very respected one after they left the Company of Righteous over irrevocable differences. The Company believes ghosts need to be dispatched and chopped into little pieces no matter how peaceful or angry the Ghost is but Anton was taught by his family to guide them from this world into the next.
Now Anton is working hard every day at tracking down ghosts and helping them ease into whatever is next to fully commit to his gap year working on the family tradition. Everything is going as normal as it can go when your job includes ghosts until he meets Rani, a girl sent from the company to clean up an area they think is easy and simple for her first assignment. Rani is something he’s never encountered before since he’s only ever known the lifestyle taught from his father and aunt. She has super strength and other superior skills from some mystical induction to the company and carries a sword she uses to cut up ghosts and dispatch them. Rani asks to tag along and observe his way but they never expected they would discover a sinister, evil plot using Rouge ghosts and all other kinds to prowl the streets of Melbourne, track enemies down and murder people in cold blood.
The characters are the best part of this book and that’s saying a lot since the plot was really cool. Anton’s father owns a super cool and old bookstore and believes every blank wall and space needs more bookshelves and that is just all I need to fall in love with his character. He’s also a really great character because he’s been through a lot himself that you’ll have to read to find out about and he still manages to be exactly what his son and his friends need. Anton’s best friend Bec is also such a badass and I’m glad she had a bigger role in the book than I expected too because even if she is just a civilian she knows how to organise the hell out of an archive, she’s super funny, interesting and a great friend to Anton and Rani. However, I was also very happy with how the plot of the book played out too.
I loved that once the setting was established it was action, witty remark, action, cool show reference, action, adorable family/friend moment and on like that until the end. Honestly from the first page when Anton made a reference to one of my favourite shows I was in love with it and it just kept climbing from there. Michael Pryor just has a way of writing events so truthfully as well (in particular a past event that affects the Marin family) because he’ll just drop a sentence that shocks you but it’s so appreciated because his work is so beautifully honest. Also, that cover guys! The proof copy is really cool with all the background ghosts but I definitely have to get the finished copy when it comes out very soon because Rani and Anton look so badass, well Rani looks badass but Anton looks cool in that red and in the same scared way I would be too if I was surrounded by Rouge ghosts without any battle training. I don’t know how readable this review is because I’m still processing the book but I really enjoyed another wonderful read from Michael Pryor and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves mystery, fantasy and paranormal fiction written with a really cool bunch of characters.
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– Kirra // Goodreads