The wait was long; the wait was painful; but today the mystery was solved!  In Ghost in the Machine, Patrick Carman concludes his highly suspenseful, fast-paced, and tech-savvy thriller duo that started in last year’s Skeleton Creekghostmachine

When we left high school best friends Ryan and Sarah at the nail-biting end of Skeleton Creek, they were trapped in the defunct,  surface-mining gold dredge outside their tiny, isolated home town.  Forbidden to have contact with each other, yet bent on solving the sinister mysteries surrounding the dredge’s death-laden past, Ryan and Sarah snuck into the dredge late at night to find a secret room when they were cornered by the ominous ghost of Old Joe Bush. The reader is immediately sucked into the creepy death trap with Sarah and Ryan by watching them try to escape in another of Sarah’s grainy webcasts. 

Ghost in the Machine is Ryan’s journal covering the next 10 harrowing days as he and Sarah try to uncover the truth about the dredge, the murders, and the secret Crossbones society that Ryan’s dad is a member of.  Through dogged determination Ryan and Sarah stay barely one step ahead of the ghost and the other conspirators trying to keep the town’s dark secrets buried, but on more than one occasion the danger gets too close and they have to use all their wits and luck to stay alive.

Carman builds a supernatural mystery woven with science, human foibles and the strength of trust and friendship.  The narrative comes to vivid life in both Ryan’s journal and in Sarah’s webcasts, online chats, and Blair Witch Project-style filming.  The fear is palpable and the elements of danger and paranoia pull the reader in and won’t let you go. 

I really enjoyed the conclusion to this mystery and the fantastic way the book and the online components supported and enhanced the telling of this captivating story.  My only quibble is in the layout of the book – the critical moment when the truth is revealed is on the page that faces the page with the link to the key video – so the mystery was revealed before I had a chance to watch it – if only I would have had to turn the page!  But a small complaint for an overall awesome story.

  • Posted by Cori

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