Review of ‘Ghostlove’

By Ryan C. Bradley

Ghostlove by Dennis Mahoney
Ig Publishing
Image Credit: Edelweiss

William Rook is an occultist living in a haunted brownstone in upstate New York. There he has encountered many unusual and confusing occurrences: an ever-shifting bloodstain on his study floor; his cynical doppelgänger; a three-winged pigeon; and, most importantly, June, the ghost living in his bedroom. June is everything William has hoped to find—by turns playful and serious, petulant and flirtatious. However, she is also secretive and sad, trapped in a hopeless limbo, her past a mystery she will not reveal. William becomes determined to help her, engaging daily in a series of experiments, rituals, and spells. However, success means letting June move on, and the more William learns of her past and present, the less sure he is that he is ready to let her go.

Published by Ig Publishing, Ghostlove by Dennis Mahoney is a cross between Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Welcome to Night Vale.

William is a recently orphaned young adult who bought a brownstone to search for his mother’s spirit. June is the ghost of a twenty-one-year-old woman who can only communicate by tracing capital letters on William’s palm. They are likely not whom David Foster Wallace was thinking of when he wrote, “Every love story is a ghost story,” but their Ghostlove is a good one.

Ghostlove is a new twist on the paranormal. Rather than approach ghosts as something scary, Mahoney treats them with kindness. The same goes for bugs—his protagonist William befriends both spiders and the hundred-pound centipede queen who lives by the boiler. This shadows-are-sunny outlook allows Mahoney to draw a quirky supporting cast from the iconography of horror.

This lack of fear helps him to sidestep the werewolf problem—we are in a novel with a werewolf on the cover asks readers to endure a hundred pages of the characters not figuring out what left wolf-like marks and paw tracks next to a chewed up corpse—as well. There are no questions about whether the ghosts are real or not in Ghostlove. Mahoney shows unequivocally with June early on that they exist in this world, dispelling any questions of William’s sanity.

Mahoney also does excellent work with the writing itself. He has a way of summing up the bigger going on’s of the book into one sentence every few chapters. For example, when William is buying the brownstone, the current owner says, “You’re coming to a haunted house to feel less haunted.” It skewers William by so accurately identifying and challenging his motivations.

Ghostlove will grab readers and keep them wrapt close, thanks to Mahoney’s conversational style. Between the forward momentum of the story and the easily digestible prose, this one is hard to put down. ( ★★★★☆)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

Page count: 256pp

Age Range: 16 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-6324-6105-6

Publisher: Ig Publishing

List Price: $16.95


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