Book review: The Ghost with a Knife at Her Throat by Kevin Hincker

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHORKevin Hincker is a programmer and writer based in Los Angeles, where he develops award-winning mobile applications and web sites. His theatrical works have been produced in NY and LA, and he is recognized in the film industry for his screenplay writing and consultation. Mobile applications, web based properties, books, movies and music are allsimply software, and Hincker’s deeply felt creative passion is the source of his success in each of these domains.

Publisher: Kevin Hincker (August 13, 2023) Page count: 276 Formats: ebook (Amazon exclusive), paperback 

The Ghost with a Knife at Her Throat combines urban fantasy, murder mystery, family drama, and wild twists, and it somehow works. Surreal, tense, and occasionally laced with unexpected (and rather dark) humor, this novel has a fever-dream atmosphere. The last third of the story contains enough mayhem to hook readers looking for high-octane action. 

Asher Gale was once a prodigy, perhaps the most ingenious painter of his generation. Nowadays, though, he indulges in self-destructive habits. He usually drinks himself into trouble or feeds his color addiction. Asher, you see, sees the ultraviolet spectrum of light, including seven higher colors. Actually, more than seven, but that’s a minor spoiler. 

The way he experiences colors verges on obsessive; not surprising given their effect on him. He’s prone to experiencing chroma storms or going gray. And no one is prepared for Asher going gray. When it happens, and colors fade around him, Asher turns into a feral, joy-seeking psychopath, akin to a bizarre mix of Deadpool, Patrick Bateman, Berserker, and the Flash. 

Because the story is narrated from Asher’s unique perspective, it won’t resonate with everyone. His voice is distinct, and oscillates between obsessive, at times vulgar, and occasionally sensible. Asher perceives the world unlike most of us. I admit I enjoyed this journey into the mind of a slightly sociopathic, but mostly self-destructive, anti-hero who tries to unravel a murder mystery. Not intentionally, mind; he would prefer to wander aimlessly and abuse various substances. Unfortunately, once he encounters the first ghost, others won’t stop coming.

The murder mystery connects with Asher’s past and his family’s secrets. New twists keep on coming, and the ending is surreal and wildly imaginative. It bullied me into reading the sequel as soon as I finished book one. 

The lore of the art colony of Skysill Beach is fascinating, but I think it’s better to discover it by reading the book rather than relying on my review. I never expected that the world of senses could be so captivating and lethal.

Some might argue that sometimes the plot takes a backseat to Asher’s abrasive behavior and banter, which, while distinctive, can make the storyline more convoluted than necessary. On the other hand, it’s Asher’s narration that makes the novel so unique. Maybe we should accept the chaotic workings of his mind?

I recommend The Ghost with a Knife at Her Throat to readers looking for a fresh take on urban fantasy and its tropes. Fans of witty banter and unconventional narrators should also give it a shot. For those who enjoy having their imagination challenged, there is much to appreciate here. Worth a shot. 

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