Roger Hobbs, an author from Portland, has won the 2013 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. Ghostman was judged to be this year's best thriller! Grats!
Roger Hobbs - Ghostman
Roger Hobbs’ Ghostman follows a guy who is, in the parlance of the novel, a “ghost” – no one really knows who he is, what his name is or, to some degree, if he really exists. He no longer even has fingerprints.
He’s a highly trained and very serious fixer: he’s been on various jobs (bank heists, highly-choreographed thefts, and different sorts of illegal activities are alluded to) but for the last few years he’s been used to clean up messes left by the work of others. In that, he’s not too different from Brett Battle’s Jonathan Quinn, except that the Ghost works strictly in the criminal world, not in the world of espionage… spooks and ghosts – well, anyway, it isn’t as confusing as I am making it. The publisher likens him to Mr Wolf in Pulp Fiction, but that isn’t quite right either. This guy is far more active, always on the move, not necessarily looking for a fight but quick to take care of anyone who is. Like Reacher, and just as logical.
In Ghostman, “Jack” (the Ghost) is rousted from his nest in Seattle by Marcus, a high-powered ‘jugman’ who sets up jobs. A casino robbery in Atlantic City turned bloody, one of the thieves was left dead, the other is missing as is the money. Jack owes Marcus from a job that went bad years ago and Jack has no choice but to fly across the country to fix it: find the other thief and the money and erase any trace that could lead back to Marcus.
This debut is fast, bloody, ingenious, full of the clatter of gunfire and the solitary silence of scheming and sweating. Jack is working against a time limit, pinned between Marcus, a man he knowns he cannot cross, and another, shadowy and scary guy from Jersey who wants Jack to double-cross Marcus. Then there is that woman from the FBI and his own memories of the job in Malaysia that went bad. He must go through a couple of dozen pre-paid cell phones, a half-dozen cars and guns, not to mention suits.