Book review – Ghosts of Gannaway by Stuart R West

Book review – Ghosts of Gannaway by Stuart R West

‘The flood of falling rocks dwindled, became a rare pebble…’ Evil lives deep within the mines of Gannaway. Born of hate, it preys on the miners, feeds off their superstitions. It gathers strength from the dead and drives the living insane. And it has survived for decades.  Growing up in a dying mining area (coal in my case), from strikes as a kid to the stark overground skeletal structures and spoil heaps, I connected with a community very far removed from my own with this book. Unlike the last novel of Stuart’s I reviewed, this one is very much focused on a very specific place, drilling down through the characters and pinning them to the bedrock.  Dennis Lipstein is a scientist brought to Gannaway to assess the pollution left behind by the town mines. As you would expect in a close knit community with a history in which the actions of each family have consequences felt for generations after, his presence is not welcomed by all. He makes friends with Ahanu, one of the indigenous locals who reveals, in teasing snippets, the town’s dark past. Ghosts of Gannaway is a darker read than Stuart’s usual fare – there is still a little humour in the book but as he delves into the curse hanging over the town and the origins of it’s ghosts, it becomes a serious story of small town rivalry and survival in a hazardous environment. There are spooky moments aplenty and the various threads come together at the end. If I had to criticise it would be to say that being so involved in the characters lives, there’s an awful lot of dialogue over action and you have to be patient with it – not one to pick up if you’re looking for a quick fix. If you can settle in and give it time, take it all in, the book is available now over on Amazon. I also highly recommend Stuart’s Blog for more on his books and entertaining tales from his travels.