Ghostwalking is a prequel short story (42 pages) to a Solomon Stone thriller by E. G. Ellory. My interest in this story resulted from an email by the author to join his Advance Reader Team. I wanted to investigate the writing style before replying. Advance reading team commitments could overtake the monster known as the TBR shelf. Caution is in order. Published in April 2019, the story is available on Amazon for sale at USD 0.99 or as a free read with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. I find KU is a useful tool for investigating writing styles.
In Ghostwalking, the reader will not know the actual name of the narrator. “Odd Tom” is as close as the reader will come to a character name. Tom is a dull creature living a boring life. The only thing he has accomplished is wracking up debt. Returning home one evening, Tom sees a mysterious stranger clad in black walking alongside a road. For some reason not explained fully in the story, Tom offers the stranger a ride. The stranger knows all about Tom.
The stranger, name unknown until almost the end of the story, offers Tom a way out of debt. All Tom must do is show up for an audition and follow instructions to accomplish a task. No reason or purpose for the assignment is given. Questions are not allowed. Failure to show up for the audition will incur sanctions. It seems that there are people more odd than “Odd Tom.”
The writing style kept my attention but not for only good reasons. There are plot holes in more than one place. The first in this story is when Tom has knowledge previously not introduced. The stranger has given Tom a business card. The reader assumes a business card comes with standard information. Later we learn that Tom has gotten much more information from the card, such as the address of his “target,” the location of and map to the target, and a time when he should show up at a café near the goal.
The story’s presentation has enough mystery for a short story. It will be fun to see if this sense of a puzzle can be sustained at the level of a full novel. Due to plot holes, I gave this story three Amazon stars.