The Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray & J.S. Herbison
Published by Tor.com
Publication Date : July 10th, 2017
Available as eBook & paperback – 73 Pages
Source : NetGalley (Thank you!)
The Ghost Line starts off reading a lot like every other space horror book. We have the crew, hired by a single person representing a large company who wants to recover
‘information’ and ‘salvage’ an old abandoned luxury space liner. They arrive and the ship is, at first glance, eerily well kept. The crew itself is even a little bit on the expected side. A married couple planning on maybe starting a family after this, a pilot who would rather be drinking, and of course the creepy and aloof patron of the whole affair.
Once all that is out of the way and you get into the meat of the story, The Ghost Line starts to add little twists and spins and eventually changes the expected path of the story. It’s not entirely new and original but the way the story is pieced and carefully sewn together is super enjoyable, and perfectly packaged in it’s 73 pages.
The two main characters, Saga and Michel, only took this one last salvage job to get the last bit of money to help their soon to be family. Saga is also busy paying for the therapy she hopes will help her mother who is suffering from an unnamed neurosis. Wei, the woman who hired them is a creepy woman who keeps to herself and the pilot she picked Gregor is a almost cookie cutter Russian drunk. I liked everyone except for Gregor, even with the practiced and familar roles everyone was in he was the one that felt ‘extra’. He felt tacked on for a story device which was a disappointment.
I really loved the premise of the ship they are sent to recover. It’s a luxury liner, one formerly meant to shuttle people to and from certain places and it’s made up like the Titanic. Very fancy, very upscale and all of it in perfect condition when the team arrives. Of course things go wrong, and the story becomes an almost Fairy like Horror. I won’t say anything more than that but it did not go where I thought it would and for that I am exceptionally pleased with it.
For horror novella this one is the perfect length and though it doesn’t knock your socks off I think it’s worth reading. It’s definitely on my list of ‘comfy horror’ books I’ll return to when I want to scratch that itch.
Cover Thoughts : The cover art on this is done by John Harris who has also done beautiful covers for some Orson Scott Card, Ben Bova, Jack MacDevitt. He seems to focus on pastels and paintings. I really like this cover for this story, again this is a cover that the more you think about the ending on the book it fits perfectly. It’s beautifully done and really gives a great image to the story.