Ghostlines

Nick Gadd

Ghostlines
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Ghostlines

Nick Gadd

Ghostlines centres on Philip Trudeau, a once-respected investigative journalist who has stepped on the wrong toes. With his personal life and health deteriorating around him, Philip is consigned to a suburban newspaper where he writes ‘filler’ local news articles to be slotted in among the real estate and restaurant advertisements. Sent to cover what appears to be a tragic yet routine death at a level crossing, Philip is drawn into a multilayered mystery that involves art theft, political intrigue, and business corruption. This novel seamlessly weaves aspects of Australian art history into an engrossing narrative that is part thriller, part psychological realism, and part ghost story.

Review

Disgraced journalist Philip Trudeau makes ends meet by reporting for a suburban newspaper. While covering the seemingly routine death of a young boy at the Yarraville level crossing, Trudeau is immersed in a world of art fraud and political corruption, and is once again forced to confront the people who destroyed his marriage and career years earlier.

After Gadd unsuccessfully attempted to have his debut novel published for a number of years, the Ghostlines manuscript saw renewed interest after winning the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award last year. The author’s anxieties about the novel are channelled through Trudeau, resulting in a complex and captivating protagonist who would’ve otherwise easily fallen flat.

Gadd’s novel is stylistically reminiscent of yesteryear’s film-noir: a brooding and introspective narrator, a damsel in distress, and the obscured forces of power and influence doing their best to ensure Phillip lets sleeping dogs lie. Gadd’s evocations of Melbourne’s western suburbs are interesting, but it’s his incorporation of supernatural themes later in the novel that makes Ghostlines memorable.

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