Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Ghost of a Flea by John Brinling: Review by AimeeKay

Greetings and Salutations from the deck of the Rusty Dagger. We are currently sailing through the Arabian Sea, in search of that elusive Narwal. Before leaving the last port I received from Melissa a copy of The Ghost of A Flea for review. Well I just finished reading it, so here's the review, I hope it reaches you all in one piece, and with limited water damage or chew marks, we've had a little trouble with some sea monsters.
The Ghost Of A Flea
The Ghost of A Flea
(Murder In The Big Apple)
By: John Brinling
ebook currantly .99cents

Description from Smashwords:
Time: 1975.
Location: New York City.
The murder of Roger’s musician friend, Gideon Whiting, turns Roger’s world up-side-down. His wife, Natalie, lies to him. His best friend, Ted, lies to him. His boss and U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Holt, lies to him. And Lieutenant Tarrington, a homicide detective, is convinced Roger killed Gideon—but is Tarrington who he claims to be, or is he lying, too?
Peggy Curtis, the blond bombshell who dropped into Roger’s life one snowy night after he left Gideon’s apartment, might be the only person who can unravel the Gordian knot facing Roger, yet she has serious credibility problems, and is the last person he would want to rely on with his life and freedom on the line.
The drug cartel masterminding much of the chaos seeks an address book it thinks Roger took from Gideon. As their ruthless pursuit intensifies, the police learn of the book and join the chase. The problem is, Roger doesn’t have what they want and
he must get it before they decide he is expendable.
Ok. I was going to use the short description from smashwords, but honestly I don't think it REALLY says anything about the story. So you'all are stuck with the long one. First I would like to provide you with two things, neither of which you will get from the book

1) The Definition of the term Red Herring: - (noun)-
1. something intended to distract attention
from the real problem or issue .
(This is not to be confused with a blue mackerel)


The definition? Because there are a lot of Red Herrings in this book, as well as plot twists, and I wanted to make it clear exactly what one was. The picture? Because it is the title of the book and while you get a description of it, you never actually get to see it.

When I first read the description of the book on Smashwords I wasn't sure if I would like it or not. It's a murder/mystery novel, not usually my first choice of genre, but not my last, so I decided to give it a fair shot. At first it was a bit slow going, and it took me until about the 3rd or 4th chapter to really get into it. But then the story started getting interesting. Every time I thought I had an idea about what was going on there was another twist. No one is quite who they seem, with every page their true self seems to come out, only to change again. The story itself drew me in, I found myself not wanting to put it down because I wanted to finally find out what the truth really was. Plus there were tons of action scenes and even a little romance thrown in.

I only had two real problems with this book. The first problem is that after a certain point the plot twists and red herrings began to get in the way of the story. I understand they were part of the story, and the story itself was excellent, but after a while I just wanted to know the truth and find out what was really going on. And it went from "Oh My what a twist", to "oh, what now". Even up until the very end I was still kind of waiting for another shoe to drop and change everything. Again. Fortunately the shoes finally stopped falling. The second problem, was that I had a hard time connecting/caring for the main character. Roger is you average everyday guy, who just happens to walk straight into a seedy drug cartels world. I get he's an average guy, he's not, to quote the book, a "comic book hero". I get that, really, but sometimes he just came across as being so annoying. He just lets things happen to him and then does nothing about them. Especially in the beginning of the book. He obviously has problems with his wife, but instead of going home to here he goes out to get high with his buddies and then wonders why she is angry. (I know this is common male behavior, so maybe that's why I got annoyed by it, but still) But at the same time he seems to let people just manipulate him. He's not so bad by the end of the story, and maybe that's what the author intended, but by the end of the book I just wanted to find out the end of the story and have all the puzzle pieces fit together. I really didn't care what happened to the characters themselves.

Overall I'd give this story 4 out of 5 stars. Its a good story. If you like intrigue and mysteries. If you like action and adventure. The Ghost of a Flea has all that. It will definitely keep you interested, and in the end the questions are answered and the end itself is satisfying. I give it four stars because while I didn't connect with the character that doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't. If I had been able to maybe I wouldn't have gotten so frustrated with all the plot twists.That being said, I reiterate I did like the story itself and if I came across another one of Mr. Brinling's books I would read it. So if you are looking for a good mystery with a lot of intrigue and some surprising twists, to take to the beach or pool this summer, go check out The Ghost of a Flea.

Until the next time!


  1. I love mysteries with action and adventure, but it's also important for me to connect to the characters. So this might not be the book for me.
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Ahoy Aimeekay, I wish you a very nice sea journey! A great, incisive review - I would love to read this one, good mysteries are a very nice way to spend your free time! I loved your description of red herrings!

  3. I am just going eh..meh..anything with eh really. I guess that is my brain trying to tell me that this book might not be for me

  4. I do love the title of this one, and the fact that everything is tied up at the end. Lovely review :D

  5. A great title, I really like the sound of this one with all those red herrings and twists and turns, thanks for recommending it.

  6. I know what you mean about too many red herrings. I read a thriller like that last week and it irritated me after awhile, especially since the red herrings were not logical.

  7. I'm just not much of a murder/mystery type chick... Zombie mayhem... YES! ;)

  8. YaY! Today is AimeeKay's first official review! I think she did a smashing job! Can't wait for the next one!!

  9. Sounds like good read,but don't think its my style. Nice review!

  10. Yeah, I'm not really a murder mystery fan myself, and the whole government conspiracy thing didn't really hook me. But the review was good and honest, so thank you!


  11. I have a hard time with mystery, to much anticipation not enough discovery.

  12. I do like mysteries so I'll keep it in mind. Excellent review, AimeeKay!

  13. Ahoy all! Thanks all for the wonderful feedback on my reivew!
    I was kinda seasick about how it would go over. Glad the sea monsters didn't chomp it too bad!!!


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