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The Perfect Ghost

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,537 ratings  ·  352 reviews
Mousy and shy to the point of agoraphobic, Em Moore is the writing half of a celebrity biography team. Her charismatic partner, Teddy, does the interviewing and the public schmoozing. But Em's dependence on Teddy runs deeper than just the job—Teddy is her bridge to the world and the main source of love in her life. So when Teddy dies in a car accident, Em is devastated, al ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published April 2nd 2013)
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Average rating 3.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,537 ratings  ·  352 reviews

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Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2013
The Perfect Ghost, by Linda Barnes, is the closest I've ever come to flouncing a book. I couldn't recommend it in good conscience.

The story centers on Em Moore, one half of a writing team hired to write an authorized biography of Hollywood actor and director Garrett Malcolm. Her partner Teddy Blake dies in a car crash before the book can be finished. He’s the interviewer, Em’s former lover, and to honour his memory, Em convinces her editor to let her complete the book by herself. This is not an
Lara Kleinschroth
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is from an ARC sent to me by Netgalley for review.

This is one of those perfectly written mysteries that slowly, slowly unfolds, dropping little nuggets of gold along the path, while keeping you turning pages at a break-neck speed, desperate for that big pot of gold at the end. It's the kind of book that can cause physical injury from the build-up of tension. Perfect pacing. It involves a biography-writing duo - one of them deceased - literary agents, actors and directors, Cape Cod and its c
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-shelf
The Perfect Ghost, written by Linda Barnes and due out in April is published by Minotaur books/ St. Martin's Press.

Em, an agoraphobic young woman is part of a ghostwriting team with Teddy. Teddy does the interviews and publicity, while Em does the actual writing. They were working on a biography of the great Garrett Malcolm, a Academy award winner turned director. But, before the book could be completed, Teddy dies in a car accident. The publisher sought to cancel the project, but somehow Em ma
The set up
Em Moore is one half of the ghost writing team of T.E. Blakemoore. She and her writing partner, Teddy Blake are working on the autobiography of a legendary actor and director, Garrett Malcolm. Teddy was just killed in a car accident and the emotionally and socially inept Em is left to finish the project.

The issues
Em is very close to being labeled an agoraphobic (fear of public places) and suffers from panic attacks. Teddy was the interviewer and she did the writing. Everyone (her publ
Allison Renner
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Em Moore is half of the ghostwriting team T. E. Blakemore - the writing half, since she's agoraphobic. Teddy was the other half, the interviewer, the face and charm of the pseudonym. He had been Em's professor, and then became her lover, partner, and caregiver. But he dies in a car wreck halfway through Blakemore's latest project, a book about famous actor/director Garrett Malcolm. The book must be completed, so Em has to travel from Boston to Cape Cod to finish Teddy's work. She's been transcri ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, first-reads
I'd never read anything by Linda Barnes, but thought this book sounded interesting. I received an advanced copy through the first reads giveaway and couldn't wait to get started.

Em is the narrator of the story and is extremely shy. Her character is fleshed out nicely through her actions and reactions. I could relate to Em because I was once extremely shy, though not to the agoraphobic point that Em is. I also prefer being at home and around people I'm comfortable with. Though Em's transition fro
Jerry B
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
We’re fans of Linda Barnes and have read her every book: including the now early, relatively obscure, and somewhat mediocre Michael Spraggue 4-book set; and the very popular and entertaining Carlotta Carlyle 12-book series (so far) about a feisty private eye and part-time Boston taxicab driver! We wondered what to expect from “Ghost”, billed as a standalone mystery thriller.

Unfortunately, we found little intrigue or thrills from this new story. The novel opens with a well known celebrity biograp
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This book moved slowly, but I enjoyed listening to it and following along as the heroine revealed the puzzle. I thought the quality of the writing was superb. I've been to Boston and Cape Cod and was captivated by the setting.

I liked this protagonist, Em, a mousy, withdrawn writer who tells the story as if she is speaking to her dead writing partner. I loved how the perception of characters in the book shifts as the narrator gathers information to complete a biography of a famous (imaginary) d
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I *almost* loved this book. It starts strong, with real tension. Our narrator/heroine, Em, is one desperately troubled girl. Her writing partner and mentor, Teddy, just died in a tragic car crash. He was more than her colleague, he was her closest friend and her most important link to the outside world. For Em suffers from a form of agoraphobia, and Teddy's death has made it worse. One of the early passages that hooked me involved how terrifying it was to merely ride an elevator.

I don't want to
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When celebrities want to write their “Autobiography”, but, cannot write it themselves they call upon ghost writers like Em Moore and her partner, Teddy Blake. Under the pseudonym, T. E. Blakemore, Em is the writer and prefers to spend her days indoors listening to taped interviews with their current subject. Teddy is the charismatic, outgoing, charming other half of the partnership who is responsible for arranging, taping and conducting the interviews. He has received many accolades for his “wri ...more
First Sentence: Teddy, you would have been proud of me.

Somewhat agoraphobic Em Moore was part of a writing team focused on the biographies of the famous. Now that her partner, Teddy, is dead from a single-person automobile crash, it is up to Em to finish the book on film director Garrett Malcolm. It takes all her resolve, but Em travels to Cape Cod and finds Malcolm is more than just a story; he’s a very appealing man, with secrets. Em tries to learn more about his late wife and about his conne
Patrice Hoffman
This being the first novel I've read by Linda Barnes makes me anxious to see what else I have missed by this author. The novel is told primarily from the main character Em Moore's point of view. She is faced with going forward with the biography she and her recently deceased partner Teddy Blake are writing. The only problem is that Em is extremely afraid of leaving her home. Linda Barnes ability to capture her fear in the beginning of the book had me hooked and interested in finding out more abo ...more
Barbara M
Em Moore is half of a writing team that includes Teddy Blake. She's young at 26, he's older and married. Em is just a bit socially and emotionally immature, probably from being raised in multiple foster homes. She's quite brilliant though and this whole story is Em "speaking" to Teddy who has just died in a fiery car accident in the dark of night on a twisty Cape Cod road.

The title of Perfect Ghost is hints (strongly) at the imagery of ghosts throughout the story. T. E. Blakemoore is the pseudon
Carole Barrowman
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Set farther on the blustery coast New England coast, Linda Barnes' psychological thriller, "The Perfect Ghost" (Minotaur, $24.99), blew me away. I knew I was in for a twisty tale of distorted family rivalries and deep-seeded revenge after I read the prologue. Excerpted from Hamlet's letter to Ophelia where the angst-driven Dane tells her that even if she "doubt truth to be a liar" his love is steadfast, the prologue hints truth may be hard to find among what lies are ahead.

The novel's narrator,
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Well-constructed mystery featuring one half of a celebrity ghost-writing team, Em, whose partner has died in a car accident. (Oddly, the book is written as a letter / narrative to him.) Em suffers from panic attacks and anxiety disorder, but makes the case to the publisher that she can finish the team's latest book with a celebrity director. As she interviews him and learns more about him, it's clearer that he harbors secrets and that her partner's death was actually murder.

The book is really we
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first novel by Linda Barnes I have read and I will tell you that I was drawn into purchasing it due to the Title and synopsis. I truly thought there would be ghosts in the tale and they were, just not the type I thought of.

Em Moore is a phobic but excellent author. She, and her partner, Teddy, who does the actually interviewing, write autobiography's of celebrities. Teddy has died. And not without a cloud over him.

This novel explores Em's journey into the 'world' and compulsion to fi
Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry to say that I just could not get into this book at all, I had to force myself to read even the first few chapters. It sounded like it would be something I would enjoy and I"m sure that if I were able to force my may through it I might have even rated it a two star instead of one. I however, am not going to force myself to read something that I am not enjoying. There are far too many books out there that I can enjoy. I thank the publisher and author for the chance to read it though. ...more
Marilyn Shea
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I was often impatient with this main character, Em, who was shy, socially awkward and worried about not being pretty. Her confidence is so significantly bolstered by the purchase of a new bra that she mentions the darned thing several times throughout the narrative. However, she does have confidence in herself as a writer and when her writing collaborator dies in a car crash, she continues their work on a biography of a famous actor by herself. She seems naive but earnest, and her unassuming nat ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I grabbed THE PERFECT GHOST off a library shelf thinking I was getting a ghost story. Not so. This is a mystery/psychological thriller that is darker than it appears at first glance. The characters are not very likable, but the mystery is intriguing enough. I didn't, however, care for the ending. While it surprised me, it didn't feel very satisfying. THE PERFECT GHOST is engrossing and compelling, but also depressing. It kept me reading, but I can't say I loved it. ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
- knowledge on Hamlet would assist in the reading of this book due to the plethora of theatrical references.
- highly descriptive and enticing language.
- a couple of plot twists ensured intrigue in the reader but maintained the subdued, melancholy tone.
- detailed characterisation of main characters brought them to life.
- would read again simply to extract more hints towards the ending.
Patricia Hoesel
A good book with a couple of real twists. Not just a usual Linda Barnes mystery.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marcy Sue
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Normally if a book does not attract my attention, I move on to another read. I was morally bound to review this book because, as a disclaimer, this book was given to me by the publisher in return for my honest review and I was going to write that review even if I had to spend a ridiculously long time reading the book itself. I hope that neither the publisher nor the author will be deterred from another try based on this book or my review. Here is why.

Although I don't have a personal familiarity
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
My review posted to MADreads

Though she'd already been writing for while, Linda Barnes broke out in the late 80s when she became part of the wave of women mystery writers that included Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton. Barnes' protagonist was Carlotta Carlyle, a fledgling private investigator in Boston who also worked as a cab driver to make ends meet. Carlotta was 6'4" tall, an ex-cop and a force to be reckoned with. The complete opposite of t
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I used to read the Carlotta Carlyle series and always enjoyed them so when I saw that Linda Barnes had come up with a novel, I grabbed it. Em Moore brings new meaning to "shy and retiring", always staying in her writing partner, Teddy's shadow and letting him enjoy the spotlight. But when Teddy is killed in a car accident, right in the middle of their latest biography, Em feels she has no choice but to step up and finish their joint project, even though it means leaving her safety zone of Boston ...more
Touted as a novel of suspense, "The perfect ghost" was a prime example of unrealized potential. A good premise, a great setting, an attractive cover, yet.... blah.

The protagonist was a flat, unlikeable, unemphatic character whom I really didn't care about. Since she narrated the entire book (with the exception of the interview sequences), that was a critical failing. Emily, the ghost writer of the title, was self-deprecating, and supposedly mentally ill... or was she? She turned out to be narcis
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I f you have read other Linda Barnes books this one is nothing like them but her writing is just a s good and compelling a read. Em Moore is half of a ghost writing team who narrates the story to her dead partner Teddy Blake. Teddy was killed in a car accident early in the story. They had a complex relationship starting with student, lover, caretaker as that Em was an acrophobia. But with Teddy's death she had to take over not only the writing but interviewing aspects of their current project to ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It literally kept me guessing until the very end. Every time I thought I had mystery unraveled, there was another twist, and I was forced to try to figure things out again. In many ways this novel is a classic mystery; there is a (maybe) murder and the possibility that the main character will get herself killed as she attempts to figure out what happened to her ghost writing partner. But unlike most murder mysteries, I also think Barnes did a terrific job describing the growth ...more
Janet Martin
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A shy young writer, a sprawling Cape Cod estate, a powerful wealthy widower single since the death of his glamorous wife, and fire are elements of a gothic that deserves to stand on the same shelves as "Jane Eyre" and "Rebecca." Following the accidental death of her lover, painfully shy Em convinces her editor that she is capable of finishing a ghosted celebrity "autobiography" on her own. Her second challenge is to impress her abilities on the subject of that bio, a flamboyant actor/director wh ...more
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Does Barnes successfully jump to literary mystery? 2 6 May 31, 2014 11:15AM  

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Linda Barnes is an American mystery writer, born and raised in Detroit, and graduated from Boston University"s School of Theater. She is best known for her series featuring Carlotta Carlyle, a 6'1" redheaded detective from Boston. Carlotta Carlyle is often compared to the hard-boiled female detectives created by Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. Her new novel, "The Perfect Ghost," which will be publi ...more

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