Note: Review copy supplied by the author
Title: Ghost: A Family Novella
Author: Donte M McNeal
Genre: Action / Suspense / Drama
Released: August 24th 2018
Length: 71 pages
It was always Nick, Leone and Serenity, the Dynamic Duo plus one. No one could separate them, not even the gang-ridden streets of Gaylene. But, one tragic night changes Nicholas in a way no one ever thought possible. This is his story. The story of the birth of Ghost.
Long time readers of the site may remember that I’ve featured Donte M McNeal before. Not only did I review his debut novel The Family: The Brotherhood, but he was actually one of the first authors that I interviewed for the site. As such, when I was offered a review copy of Ghost, I was eager to pick it up and start reading.
This novella serves as a prequel to The Family: The Brotherhood, and deals with the main protagonist and antagonist in said book. That was something that I was really happy to see, as Leone and Nick had a fascinating dynamic in the original novel, so to see their beginnings was an absolute treat. And boy does it help to explain how they both ended up how they did!
The characters are just as intriguing as they were the first time around, and seeing them start at a similar place in life only to take divergent paths really made for some compelling reading. In the end it all comes down to how they both deal with tragedy, and their individual paths are really affected by those around them. Nick in particular was given a lot of depth here, helping show how he got to the point that caused me to originally describe him as ‘vicious but damaged’. Meanwhile, Serenity is a great addition to the main group and her role is really pivotal for both young men as they move towards the events of the original novel.
Donte continues to prove himself adept at crafting an excellent combination of action and storytelling here, and though only novella length, he does a great job of packing plenty into the tale. It never feels like he’s skimming over things, nor does it feel like the text is cramped with too much for the running length. I’d also say that his writing has improved since his debut, with things reading a lot tighter than the previous release. I also really like the cover for the book. It’s simple, and continues thematically from the orginal novel, but it’s really striking.
Just as The Family: The Brotherhood gave us a complex but sympathetic lead in Leone, Ghost helps ensure that Nick remains equally as complex and intriguing, despite his actions. This was a welcome return to the world of The Family, and is a thoroughly enjoyable read to help tide us over while we await the full length sequel. An easy recommend for those looking for some excitement without too many pages. In truth, its biggest downfall is that it leaves you wanting more. 4.5 out of 5.