“An absolute master of modern horror. And a damn fine writer at that” - Guillermo del Toro
Alex Grand is a successful crime novelist until his latest book is condemned for appropriating the experience of victims of abuse. In a bid to rescue his reputation he ghostwrites a memoir of abuse on behalf of a survivor, Carl Batchelor. Carl’s account proves to be less than entirely reliable; someone is alive who shouldn’t be. As Alex investigates the background of Carl’s accusations his grasp of the truth of the book and of his own involvement begins to crumble. When he has to testify in a court case brought about by Carl’s memoir, this may be one step too far for his insecure mind…
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Bestselling British mystery author Alex Grand, the protagonist of this disappointing suspense novel from World Fantasy Award winner Campbell, has his career threatened after ToM, a trans individual, pickets a book-signing of Grand's. ToM complains that since Grand hasn't changed his gender, he shouldn't have written a book in which a woman transitions to male because she's been abused. After Grand confronts his critics on social media, the controversy leads his publisher to propose that his next book be a collaboration with someone who needs a ghostwriter to help tell that person's story. Carl Bachelor offers Grand a chance to relate a factual account of childhood abuse by both Carl's father and a priest, which led the person assigned female at birth, Carla, to become Carl. Grand agrees, only to find that his coauthor's memories may be less than reliable, resulting in more controversy for Grand. The nature of Carl's "truth" remains uncertain, but otherwise there's no mystery as such. Unremarkable prose is matched by thinly drawn characters in a novel that may strike readers as suggesting sexual trauma is the only, or major, reason for changing gender. Campbell has done better.