“Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors.”
‘Get on with things. That was how Wendy had met her death. She’d been hiding something and no one had noticed. Everyone had been too busy getting on with things. Sophie knew this pattern like a favourite tune. Move on, get on. Make a ghost.’
Winter in Sydney. The city is brimming with foreign students. Sophie Sandilands takes a job teaching at an English language school. When one of her students leaps to her death it becomes clear that lurking within the psyche of this community is a deep sense of despair and alienation. When it is revealed that the dead woman on the pavement has stolen another’s identity, Sophie is drawn into the mystery.
Unable to resist the investigative instincts that run in her blood, Sophie finds herself unravelling a sinister operation that is trawling the foreign student market for its victims. But as Sophie works on tracking down the criminals it becomes evident that someone has knowledge of her and the disappearances in her own past. Will Sophie solve the mystery before she too becomes a ghost?
Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors.
Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors – AGREE!
This was a fantastic read –dark, edgy, evocative, sparsely but succinctly worded, the edges softened with the sharing of rituals – personal, habitual, cultural.
The settings – so realistic; I don’t recall reading food and culture as such an essential ingredient for setting the scene in a work of crime fiction before now – what a wonderful device to transport the reader into the middle of this bustling narrative. I could visualise the back street traders, the back streets chaos filled, rubbish trailing out of kitchen waste dumpsters…people massing, the smells, the colours, the food, the people – in China and China Town in Sydney New South Wales- remarkably well written settings!
Cath Ferla’s writing speaks of many issues – alienation, prejudice, family expectations, guilt, exploitation and being “the other”, and importantly, draws out attention to the issues surrounding the making and distribution of pornography – pornography hurts all women and children; by the way it shape its consumers attitudes to women, to the way society sees the victims of the trade; pornography violates not only the participants but society in general. I am glad the author made this crime real, made this a personal crime – not something that “happens to the faceless few”, that can be discounted and “reasoned” away from our thoughts, generously Cath Ferla allows the antihero, Justin Lay, to somewhat redeem himself when he has an epiphany and realises that the women/girls in the material he is watching could be someone’s daughter, could be his daughter, are real people.
Food, culture, morality, exploitation, crime, a few red herrings, some very diabolical situations and a great female protagonist that you want to know more about- this book has it all! This book packs a heavy punch! A great 5 star debut!