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The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,210 ratings  ·  226 reviews
David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family because it was at this resort that David's biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier--but something undeniable has called David there.

Something different is happening in this town. David is haunted by eerie visions of a
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Doubleday (first published June 20th 2013)
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Liz The UK title is different than the US title. Probably because Americans wouldn't recognize the term 'ladybird' (we call them lady bugs). I actually…moreThe UK title is different than the US title. Probably because Americans wouldn't recognize the term 'ladybird' (we call them lady bugs). I actually think the US title and cover better represent the atmosphere and story. (less)

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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  1,210 ratings  ·  226 reviews

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Jul 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

this is the 8th graham joyce novel i have read, and it's in the dead center of my "enjoyment of graham joyce" spectrum. it's not nearly as good as The Silent Land or Some Kind Of Fairy Tale, but it is much better than The Tooth Fairy. it's a historical coming-of-age novel that's not taking any big ambitious chances, the way my favorite of his books do, but it's quietly haunting with a perfect descriptive atmosphere that managed to make me nostalgic for a time and place i never
Connie G
University student David Barwise takes a summer job at an aging seaside resort in Lincolnshire. He works as an assistant to the professional entertainers, and runs activities for the families on vacation. He was drawn to the resort town of Skegness because his natural father had spent his last days there.

The summer of 1976 in England was known for its infestation of ladybugs. It's also remembered for its political turmoil with the activities of the fascist National Front which tries to recruit
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

It was 1976 and the hottest summer in living memory. The reservoirs were cracked and dry; some of the towns were restricted to water from standpipes; crops were falling in the fields. England was a country innocent of all such extremity. I was nineteen and I'd just finished my first year at college.

The storyteller is David Barwise, and the time and place are relevant to the way his summertime adventures will unfold. In need of pocket money, as every student ever known, he applies for a job at
Gregor Xane
A beautiful washer woman with a voice like an angel whose abusive husband won't let her take her rightful place on the stage?

No. I can't read on with such a clichéd character/situation.

Graham Joyce is one of my all-time favorite authors and I'm sad that he's no longer with us. But with this I cannot continue.

Thankfully, there are a bunch of earlier works by him that I have yet to read.

Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
**Thank you Doubleday and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

David is a college student who decides to take a summer job at a holiday center, Skegness. His mother and stepfather are both against this. When David was three, his biological father died of a heart attack at this same holiday center. David tries to assure them he really is just going there because the job is available, not because of the ties to his past. The staff and the guest at Skegness take to David
David Barwise is a 19 year old student who, against the better wishes of his Mum and step-dad, gets a summer job as a greencoat on a holiday camp in Skegness. Set against the scorching summer of 1976 - and the subsequent ladybird invasion - David is led into two love affairs, one with the wife of an apparent monster, one with a lovely Yorkshire lass, as he tries to find his feet amongst the staff of the camp - some theatrical, some racist, some thuggish and some genuinely nice - and the ever ...more
Althea Ann
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is like the British version of Stephen King's 'Joyland.'
Joyce's writing is more elegant, spare and lyrical than King's, and he doesn't succumb to King's urge to add in a grand finale - which makes me personally, judge that this is a slightly better-crafted book - but the two are very, very similar. If you liked one, you will love the other.

A young man, a college student in the 1970's, takes a job at a past-its-prime summer resort, and discovers that he's great with kids. He learns the
Frank Errington
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review copy

I just read a truly mesmerizing book. The Ghost In the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce is a book that takes you there. "There" is the eastern shore of Britain. It's the hottest summer in living memory. It's the summer of 1976.

Much to the disappointment of his mum and step-dad, David Barwise, takes a summer job at a resort in Skegness. David is drawn to the locale by a photo of his birth father, taken in Skegness when David was a small child.

In many ways The Ghost In the Electric
This was another beautifully written coming-of-age tale from Graham Joyce. He has a tremendous skill in writing supernatural elements that integrate seamlessly with everyday life.

The ghost story here is a subtle one and it is as much about the loss of innocence and a young man's coming of age as being haunted by the past. Joyce captures the atmosphere of the period with aspects such as the rise of the National Front, racial tensions and other social changes along with how the British coped with
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another of the late, amazing Graham Joyce's gemlike novels. As usual, it has a strange blend of gentle nostalgia, harsh reality, and magic, along with a cast of memorable characters, and little details that are drawn from Joyce's own life. I would try to tell you ABOUT the book, but that's useless for several reasons: It would spoil things, there's too much going on to accurately describe, and it's Graham Joyce, just read the damn book.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Totally confused Goodreads readers. This was the HIGHEST rated book in my to-read list. And I'm more than a little flabbergasted; did we read the same thing? This book was just totally dull. It lacked sparkle and charm. The characters were under developed. The story dragged on, the writing one-dimensional, and the ending was the dumbest, most pointless thing ever. Also, this the least interesting, least scary ghost story I have ever read.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Just brilliant! This novel is so quintessentially English: Set on a holiday camp in Skegness; a plague of ladybirds, the hot summer of 1976 and the emergence of The National Front. This is a coming-of-age story with a difference. David is a student, drawn to Skegness for a holiday job, as this was where, at three-years-old, he spent his last holiday with his late father. Who is the man in the blue suit holding a small boy's hand? He sees them on the beach on several occasions. Joyce ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
It takes a lot to write a coming of age novel that feels fresh and vital, and Joyce has done it at least twice in his career that I know of. A wonderful novel by a writer we lost too soon.
April Wood
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Please check out my full review @

The Ghost in The Electric Blue Suit is going to stick with me for a very long time. It is hauntingly beautiful, sometimes poetic, and anything but predictable. The characters are a hoot, each of them contributing equally to the story. In the end, there were absolutely no loose plot strings everything was tied together nicely, and I got the answers I wanted.

Graham Joyce will keep you guessing. The suspense mounts, with each
David Harris
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1976 - the long hot summer, cloudless skies and drought, and a plague of ladybirds, swarming over everything. I was nine that year, and I remember the kids stamping on them in the playground (why?)

In Graham Joyce's new book, 1976 is the year that student David turns up in Skegness, looking for work on at a run down holiday camp. Although David remembers nothing about it, Skegness was where his father died when he was three, and that event haunts the book as he settles down to a summer organising
Jack Haringa
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Graham Joyce continues his run of beautifully crafted, deeply thoughtful, and immensely affecting novels with 2013's The Year of the Ladybird. While the story is lightly tinged with the supernatural, it is in the main an affecting character study and coming of age tale set in the early '70s in Skegness, a British seaside resort. In some ways, Joyce is offering an English reflection of this year's Joyland by Stephen King, and it's interesting to consider how the two books were written and ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Another very good novel by Graham Joyce, The Year of the Ladybird is a ghost story, but like all great ghosts stories, this book is not about dead people, but about the minds of the living ones.
Nancy Oakes
Tough book to rate, but only because I was expecting a "ghost story" as promised by the subtitle of the novel and instead got a coming-of-age story with a couple of ghosts and a psychic laundress thrown in. I'll call it a 7 out of 10, which isn't measurable on a 5-star rating scale. You can read this short version OR you can click here to get to the longer discussion at my online reading journal.

The Year of the Ladybird surprisingly has much the same feel as Stephen King's recent Joyland, in
The Strange and The Curious
Graham Joyce has completely captured the era and culture in which this book is set in, with the troubled and confusing turmoil of racial / political agendas mixed in alongside the somewhat oxymoron element of a fun and friendly holiday camp. Of course, behind the scenes of the happy façade, our protagonist David soon meets an array of memorable characters. His youthful naivety sees him accidentally attend a National Front meeting and his teenage libido catapults him into trouble quickly.

Oct 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I enjoyed the period depicted. I was also fond of David, he's nondescript yet fascinating. He's invisible but visible. His plainness is what I find appealing, apparently others in the narrative as well. His vulnerability and innocence endearing. Other characters were memorable in their motley way.

The narrative skims the 1970's, Britain's dying seaside resort business, the recession, the hottest summer, and the National Front which is grand, however, the minimal length prevents from delving into
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I couldn't help being a little disappointed with this one. The story is a great one, but the writing -- and I feel guilty even thinking this, knowing what Mr. Joyce himself must have feared: that this will be the last Graham Joyce novel -- is a little scattered. It's almost as if you can read in the prose how the author was feeling that day. There will occasionally be a 20-page stretch that just burns everything down, totally brilliant, and then there will be a chapter that stumbles a bit, and ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly engaging. I consumed it in a single sitting.
Mark Graham
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the U.S. version of THE YEAR OF THE LADYBIRD. I couldn't wait for it, so I ordered it from Amazon UK. It is terrific, like all of Graham's novels.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jolly punters
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
Trudging slowly over wet sand
Back to the bench where your clothes were stolen
This is the coastal town
That they forgot to close down...

The Smiths, "Everyday Is Like Sunday"
Morrissey wasn't singing about Skegness on England's eastern shore, the setting of Graham Joyce's The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suitbut he could have been. David Barwise arrives in that fast-fading coastal town in June 1976, at the start of high tourist season, during one of the hottest summers the country had ever undergone
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
My version was called The Summer of the Ladybird.

I really liked the nostalgic element of this book, set in the hot summer of 1976 when it seems there really was a ladybird invasion in the UK. They searched everywhere for food because their favourite lunchtime snack of aphids had disappeared from lack of food themselves. They also seemed to like to be beside the seaside like our narrator David. He wanted to spend his first summer on holiday from University away from home, his mother and
Terry Weyna
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Its the end of August, a time when each day seems noticeably shorter than the one before, when kids are getting haircuts and school supplies and heading back to school, when Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to be just around the corner. Its a time for taking stock; for many of us, for those who loved the return to the classroom each fall with new resolutions to get good grades and excel at our extracurricular activities, it is more a time for such reevaluation of ones life, hopes, goals and ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Saffron by:
I read the book Some Kind of Fairytail earlier this year and loved how the book flowed, the characters felt real even though the story was based around a magical setting, so I couldn't wait to get into this one.

In The Year of the Ladybird, even though the front cover states it is a ghost story, that is not what carries this novel along. In fact it didn't really need the ghost part in it at all to make it a great read.

The 1970's seems to be a time that is forgotten in modern literature, so it was
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A British holiday camp in 1976 is the setting for this quiet coming-of-age tale. It is an outlandish place and time, which Joyce by all appearances captures perfectly. David, inexperienced university student, gets a summer job as a Greencoat, mixing it up with Italian crooners, fortune tellers and a fascist camp manager. He is more than a little naive, and clumsy to the point where he finds himself accidentally attending a National Front party meeting and making reluctant friends with white ...more
I liked this quite a bit. It was a subtle character piece with just a few plot pieces, but compelling and true (even if a bit of a ghost story). Interestingly enough, I am quickly approaching my vacation (which usually includes similar Greencoat-like entertainers). Maybe I just especially liked the story because it sets the mood.

Either way, as a veteran of the entertaining resort, it is interesting to see a story from the other side; calling the "holidaymakers" punters and treating them a bit
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
It's not the most intriguing story; didn't have me sitting on the edge of my seat or anything - but as a character-driven coming-of-age type of book, Joyce tells a very average and relatable story of David, searching for something which he's unable to put words on.

His time in Skegness isn't unusual or wildly dramatic. It's really just what he, as a person (albeit a fictional one) would put down as a defining time of his life. I put down the 6 months I lived in London when I was 21 as equally
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Graham Joyce (22 October 1954 9 September 2014) was an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his

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