Book review: Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin


Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin (first published in 2018 by Penguin Random House)

If you're our unnamed narrator, then you pose as the killer’s long-lost daughter and — sporting a new identity, a rented Buick, and a disturbing map — take him on a creep-tastic road trip designed to pull the memories from his brain.

For our unnamed protagonist, discovering what happened to her brave and outgoing older sister, Rachel, has become a “no-holds-barred obsession.”

Every action since Rachel’s disappearance (twelve years ago) has been geared toward uncovering what happened that terrible summer morning when her sister vanished in broad daylight. 

Her suspect is 61-year-old photographer Carl Louis Feldman who may or may not have dementia and may or may not have actually killed her sister, and a series of other missing girls that she can link to Carl through his eerie photos.

Paper Ghosts is a haunting psychological thriller that dives deep into the mind of not only the killer but also the narrator; neither of which comes off as entirely sane.

As the miles slip away, it becomes less and less clear who’s goading whom in this game of cat and mouse between killer and prey. 

A sort of road-trip murder mystery with a distinctly haunted feel and unexpected moments of comic relief.

A riveting read. 

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