“Ghost Town” by A.J. Thibault

Ghost Town: A Western Paranormal Thriller

A.J. Thibault
Independently Published (2020)
ISBN: 9798651774159
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (09/2021)

Except for a movie made a decade ago, starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, I had never really read or understood what sci-fi/paranormal would have in common with the western genre. In the movie entitled “Cowboys & Aliens,” a spaceship arrived in Arizona in 1873, to take over the Earth. Landing in the Wild West, only a posse of cowboys and natives stand in the aliens’ way, intent on not allowing them to reach their goal. This book, however, is a whole different ballgame, people. And for what it’s worth, it was not only entertaining, but it also gave me a whole new feeling about just how the paranormal can enhance and excite westerns… and the other way around.

Here, readers are introduced to an uber-intelligent CIA operative by the name of Richard Hart. Even though the man’s brain is top notch, he is basically burned out from the job and finds himself locked in a mid-life crisis. There’s nothing more he wants than to get out of it all and leave the CIA far behind him. However, his desire to meet and go up against a true legend is something he simply can’t stop.

V.M. Moodbain is a CIA Chess Master, to say the least. His ego is large and he will do absolutely everything to find and then keep the once ace CIA agent, Richard Hart, in his little game so that he can defeat him.

But when the legend is a no-show at an appointed rendezvous spot, at an appointed time, Richard suddenly knows that he has been set up in a cat-and-mouse game that Moodbain has to be behind. What’s amazing is that Richard is soon trapped in a desert ghost town, 100 years in the past, where a military experiment went wrong. With no escape, Richard must call upon that stellar brain of his in order to survive. While being the prey of ghost riders and desperadoes, he has little time to identify what is part of his true reality and what is nothing more than some nightmare. This mind-bender, to say the least, offers Richard a hideous fate: If he does not figure all this out soon, he will be left to live with the ghosts and darkness of the past, never to be seen again.

Speculative fiction is the term best used here, and a term that all readers should keep in mind when ‘cracking open the cover’ of this one. A solid mystery, the author makes sure that the reader is not privileged enough to receive all parts of the storyline clearly. You will learn, right along with Richard Hart, what is actually going on. What you believe is a delusion or an illusion can instantly turn into real life in this book…and the other way around. Both the present and the past transform throughout the pages, and the characters ‘float’ in and out at a moment’s notice.

In the end, this labyrinth is for those who wish to find their way through a spectacular maze, and I am definitely one of those. 5 Stars!

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