4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
Every now and again, I find myself gravitating towards a book that I am not entirely certain I will be able to connect with. Something that is just a wee bit outside my typical reading-comfort level. Something I feel I would be taking a risk on. I enjoy stretching my thought-muscles and trying something new on for size, and this last novel certainly did just that.
I am quickly becoming a fan of Leapfrog Press as they impress me yet again - this time with their 2009 release The Ghost Trap. A good deal of patience was required to read K. Stephens story about a man torn between the trap wars of his small town lobstering community and the struggle to provide care for his head-injured fiance.
Now, I am sure most of you are scratching your heads right now, wondering why - based on that brief description - I would consider this book a "risk". You must remember who you are dealing with here. I tend to read books that fall left of center... sometimes VERY left of center... so a straight up literary novel such as this, with it's evident book club appeal, would normally tend to fall outside of my reading preferences. However, in this case, it won me over and proved me wrong!
Stephens has a slow, methodical purpose to her storytelling. She chooses to make the reader wait as she reveals things at the absolute last possible moment. At times, it feels like we are walking around in the fog, much like her very own characters are, discovering things only at the very same moment they do.
For someone who is used to being instantly gratified every step of the way, this took a little time to adjust to. But I quickly learned to enjoy the way Stephens withheld, and then teased out, information. It forced me, as a reader, to think ahead ... to problem solve for myself, and I was surprised to find that, in the end, I had correctly guessed how the story would end.
The Ghost Trap is good for the body - it works on both your head and your heart. It's a sad and gripping tale that is draped in heartache and headaches, fears and frustrations, revenge and retribution, acceptance and, in the end, accountability. It's about holding grudges, making mistakes, and moving on. And it's the result of an author who writes what she knows - placing it all into a setting she understands.
A book that broke the mold for me, and has me thankful that I didn't pass it by.
Great book club potential!