On Halloween, I’d taken part in a Twitter chat with Blogchatter and was sent this review copy of ‘Yesterday’s Ghosts’ by Nikhil Pradhan when I’d expressed interest in reviewing it.
The book has been brought out by Harper Black, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. It is categorized as fiction/thriller.
The title ‘Yesterday’s Ghosts’ really caught my eye ‘coz I’m a sucker for anything to do with themes of fragmented memories, PTSD, making sense of the past, etc.
The book is about a band of men who are now in their fifties and sixties who share a secret from their time spent together thirty years ago when they were part of ‘The Black Team’. It is about military intelligence and secret agents.
I liked the format in which the story is told. The story is revealed through a Q&A (dialogue) format between the characters. Instead of simply using third-person narrative or first-person narrative ( which are both done to death), the author has experimented with this way of telling the story, which at first glance looks like a screenplay. Of course, the entire book is not in Q & A format. Some of it is indeed third-person narrative ‘coz an entire book of Q & A might have been tedious. I felt it was well-balanced and worked for me. I feel that in this format, there is more scope for use of dialogue, which can help with “Show, don’t tell.”
The characters were well-etched and interesting.
I liked one bit on page 23, where the author says “ He had a friend once, a copywriter in an advertising firm, who used to go on and on about ‘insights’, about how once you knew, no, understood what people were going through, you could sell them anything- from a needle to a refrigerator’. As someone who has worked in advertising, I can say that this is bang on! Since the author, too, has worked in advertising, in fact, in the same advertising agency as I have( although we didn’t know each other there), it is clear he is drawing from experience.
On the whole, an interesting read.