Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Can a lonely driver and a tragic hitchhiker cheat both time and death?
One night in the pouring rain, Alex stops on Gallows Hill to pick up a hitch-hiker. But when the hitch-hiker vanishes from the passenger seat, Alex fears for his sanity.
Then he discovers that Gallows Hill is a place filled with ghosts – smugglers, witches and highwaymen.
And a young, tragic hitch-hiker named Joe.
When Joe appears again on Gallows Hill, Alex dares to hope that they can cheat both time and death. But how can there be a future for them when Joe is trapped in a few minutes of a rainy night forty years ago?
This very short (25 pages of content) ghost story centers on Alex, a traveler on a stormy night who picks up a drenched hitchhiker named Joe. Joe is friendly, flirty and very grateful for the ride. He is heading to a party with his friends in town and Alex is happy to help out. When they shake hands, “Alex tried not to wince at the iciness of Joe’s grip”, and turns the heat on for him. It is only when he turns to talk to Joe and discovers he has suddenly disappeared that Alex begins to question his own sanity. Alex lost his father a year ago and decides it has something to do with that. He will find a counselor and also figures that since he can’t find a boyfriend, his mind has conjured one up.
On returning to the same road, Alex picks up Joe again and again. Each time they share a little more information about each other and Alex is falling a bit. With a ghost, how can this happen? He doesn’t know and he tries to find out who the sweet, tragic Joe was. I loved the use of the library for research, since today almost everyone uses the Internet instead. Alex finds the information he is looking for, but what to do about it? It’s like Groundhog Day for Joe, reliving (so to speak) the same short journey over and over again.
The story is very short but I felt it was developed enough to give some depth to the characters, particularly Alex, and I liked the ending, as well as the little twist. This probably won’t be everyone’s cuppa tea, mainly due to the length, but it was a super quick interesting ghostly romance. This was my first time reading Eleanor Harkstead, the author, and I will be trying another of her books.
The cover, showing Alex in his suit, was pretty but didn’t fit the story in my opinion.
ebook, 45 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2019 by Pride Publishing
Edition Language English