[Audio]Book Review: The Ghosts of Ragged-Ass Gulch

I’m an audible subscriber and I realized I have a LOT of books in my library that I haven’t listened to. So this week I decided to compile them all onto my iPod and make a reading list. I’ve just finished the first book on the list: The Ghosts of Ragged-Ass Gulch by Bill Pronzini, narrated by Nick Sullivan. As I listened to it I was trying to figure out why I had bought it. Then I remembered it was a member bonus and was a bit relieved. It’s not that the story was bad, it just wasn’t very good. Or more accurately it didn’t really leave me with anything. It was kind of like lukewarm water. Not warm enough to make something you want and not cold enough to be refreshing. I wasn’t overly fond of the narrator though. If there is such a thing as ‘go to voices’ for characters he hit them all. I don’t feel like he had the widest range for voices, so he had to do that. Like the deep gruff voice for an older man even though that might not fit the character.

The story was about a detective who is hired to find out who killed a man. The victim was burnt in his house a short time after a series of buildings were burned down in Ragged-Ass Gulch. The victim was part of a development company that wanted to convert Gulch into a tourist trap of a ghost town. The citizens of Gulch didn’t take kindly to the idea. The detective’s approach was to re-access the burned down buildings. The sheriff had said it was incidental but the detective discovered it was arson. He deduced (as had the Monroe company and Monroe’s insurance company) that perhaps the Gulchers were trying to scare of the company from buying the land by first burning the buildings and then one of their own homes. Incidentally the man wasn’t suppose to be home at the time, so they weren’t outright murderers, I suppose.

The nice thing about this story is that it was only about an hour and a half long. Wasn’t a real commitment to listen to it. (Contrarily perhaps that’s why it wasn’t that good too. There wasn’t time to really develop much of story.) Just passed the time while I designed some projects. However it did make me a bit more paranoid. As I was listening I was at work with my ear phones in and I kept hearing voices (outside the phones) despite being the only one at work. Not good for someone who has an overactive imagination. I convinced myself it was just a sub track or something (kind of like the sound you could get if you recorded over a cassette tape too many times) and ignored it. When in doubt, ignore it.

This book had a dysfunctional romance, wordplay, suspense and mystery. If you have time to kill you could do worse than reading Ragged-Ass Gulch.

Ciao ~ Q