Review Blog

Jan 22 2020

Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town by Michael Pryor

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760523930. pbk., 307pp.
Following the success of Gap Year in Ghost Town (2017) comes a sequel, Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town, where Anton and Rani continue to work together to rid inner city Melbourne of a swathe of ghostly manifestations. Pryor has lots of fun with ghoulish humour keeping readers totally engaged and laughing. Anton is nineteen and trying to be more mature and make mature decisions. He is now part of his family firm, the Marins coming to Australia after parting with the Company of the Righteous whose members get rid of ghosts. Anton's family helps ghosts on their way, assisting them leave this earth, a gentle strangely satisfying task. Anton and Rani are about their trade one night when they discover there are many many more ghosts than usual, and not just ghost: Lingerers, Thugs, Moaners and Weepers are also hanging about in large aggressive numbers.
Lulled into a smartly written and clever ghost hunting story I was amazed when the duo came across the bodies of several homeless people, strung up by chains, blood leaking all over the factory floor. The mood of the book changes to something far more sinister as Anton and Rani along with her researcher girlfriend, Bec, realise that they were lured to this place and are now facing the worst of the ghosts - Trespassers in the form of the Ragged Sisters with the aim of ridding Melbourne of the Marins.
As the story becomes darker and more creepy, Pryor keeps the story light with his emphasis on word play and asides, while their meeting up with the brother and sister duo from London adds a new dimension of intrigue to the story. When long lost aunt Angie turns up with an horrendous story of being in the other world for five years, her experiences help them with the ghost outbreak. Laugh out loud humour, referencing up to the minute events, the setting in Melbourne is intoxicating as the story and characters play out a cat and mouse game to the death.
Fran Knight

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