Scribe Publications 2008, ISBN 978-1-921372-04-9, 283 pages.

Philip Trudeau was once a journalist with a future, working for Australia’s premier financial newspaper. That was before. Now he’s down almost as low as you can get, holding down a desk on a local suburban rag. The death of a local boy on his bicycle on a level crossing late at night looks an open and shut case. All Philip needs to do is get the story, get some local comments, and then his job is done. The next morning he visits the boy’s mother, his school, and writes his story. Job finished, or so he thinks.

His editor is pleased, until a rival paper picks up on angles he never thought of. And just what was Michael doing dodging around the barriers at that time of night? Where had he come from? And where was he going in such a hurry? Philip’s training as an investigative journalist rises to the top and strange elements of a complex story begin to emerge. Philip is contacted by an 80 year old antiquarian with an obsession who wants a ghost writer to write his memoirs. As we would expect the various threads of the novel converge the longer Philip’s investigation continues. And then someone from Philip’s past reaches out to stop his probing.

GHOSTLINES is Australian writer Nick Gadd’s first novel. For an Australian novelist it has an unusual blend of crime fiction and the paranormal. I’ve actually had GHOSTLINES on my shelves for some months, and I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get it down. It is well worth looking for.

My rating: 4.5

GHOSTLINES won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2007 for an unpublished novel, and the Ned Kelly award for best first fiction for 2009. Nick Gadd has his own blog site: The writer in disguise.