So when’s the last time that you picked up a good book? I don’t mean downloading one for your Kindle, but physically picking up a soft or hard cover novel and flipping through the pages. As much as I am intrigued by all the new technologies, I still like the simple pleasure of sitting down and curling up with a book. I like to feel the pages brush over my hand and get a sense of who the author is, by his or her choice of artistic touches and to display it on a book shelf so I can re-read it again, if I so choose to.
This time, I didn’t even have to scour the bookstores or even the library, as I was approached by a wonderful author named Bob MacKenzie. He asked me if I would review his book. He also included his cd, just for my listening pleasure. I was very honoured that he took the time to write me, and so I agreed. Honestly, I had never even heard of this man before and so the first thing I did was Google his name. Interesting… a political guru. Why would someone like that be contacting me? Reading further along, he had been deceased since 2011!! Thinking that perhaps by the title of the book “Ghost Shadows” I was somehow being contacted by his ghost, I realized there was no information about him being an author and with such a common name, this was most likely the wrong person. Okay so I was safe and continued to search until I found the right person. Ah yes, not only an acclaimed world-wide author, but a poet, spoken-word performance artist and much more. This was the Bob MacKenzie I would be communicating with and to my relief, he was very much alive and well!
I received a large package in the mail via Express Post and in my hands was the anticipated: Ghost Shadow: Unfinished Sins. Before even opening up the book, the cover in its simplistic form is still quite imaginative. You may just see a ‘possessed’ fiery red-headed girl with demonic and empty eyes, or even something more along the paranormal realms. If you look closer and really embrace the image, the contours of the model’s body speak volumes of intense feeling and the fragility of what was once a young child. It transcends far more deeper than that even, to create a basis for what unfolds inside in the book.
The story itself was interesting as it delved into the psyches of 3 very emotionally-stuck women (Payge Turner-private detective, the professor’s wife, and her daughter, Susan), a cold-hearted and narcissistic anthropology professor, as well as ruthless crime lords and their minions. Deceit, fright, honour, shame, survival and terror fill the pages of this 270 page book!
Taking place in Windsor, since I did attend The University of Windsor (although not in the mid-80′s), landmarks like Erie Hall, were well-known to me, so I felt a connection with the book. I also found the characters were not only well-written but each possessed a trait of the other. Topics such as racial predjudice, mental illness (specifically PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and various types of abuse were explored in a profound way. I will add that this book is not exactly for the faint of heart, as Bob does depict some rather disturbing scenes. Explosive anger and violence erupt throughout the book, and as innocence is shown to be ripped away, it can leave the reader haunted by their own memories. On the contrary, the strength and hope that lie within each of us, even after the worst circumstances, can prove to be triumphant in our continuous journey throughout life.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. Bob MacKenzie has a way with words that really pulls you into his world of story-telling. The story had a predictable nature but that was not necessarily a bad thing. It was the raw emotional content that truly raised the bar in completing a novel that in reality, some could say, really hits close to home.
Listen to the Youtube Interview and check out more of Bob's readings
To purchase Ghost Shadow: Unfinished Sins, it is available at Amazon