Select one of the keywords
Ghost Radio    by Leopoldo Gout order for
Ghost Radio
by Leopoldo Gout
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Ghost Radio opens on a chilling quote from 2500 B.C. Babylon: 'Phantoms are fingerprints of the soul.' Teens Joaquin and Gabriel meet in hospital after a bizarre automobile accident kills their parents. They become friends. Gabriel has always been fascinated by sounds, from static electricity through a macabre, eclectic, melange where sounds 'merge and fuse'. Joaquin, a ham-radio operator, turns the dials, looking for good conversation - as the hams call it rag chew. Bonded by their interest in music, the two survivors form a band.

Eighteen years later, Joaquin's successful Mexican call-in radio show - that invites callers to share experiences of 'poltergeists, vampires, and the inexplicable' and 'has become an obsession among denizens of the night' - broadcasts from America. Callers all over the world jam the phone lines waiting to tell their stories. Over time, Joaquin has strange experiences of his own, but remains a skeptic. 'Yet he knows something is not right'.

Then he meets Alondra, who awoke one morning with an odd vision. A series of letters filled her mind and she wrote them down. Joaquin, who has the same letters inscribed in a body tattoo, convinces Alondra to become co-host on his radio show. One night a call comes in and a raspy voice resonates through the speakers: 'I saw death's face ... You've seen him too, Joaquin. He remembers you ... I am something special. Unlike anyone you've ever talked to before. I am Ghost Radio's beginning and end, its alpha and omega. I am a transformed and transfigured being, waiting for you in the night.'

Joaquin decides to tell the Ghost Radio audience how Gabriel died eighteen years before. He reports his out-of-body experience, looking down as the police arrived. At an abandoned - but still operable - Mexico radio station, Joaquin, Gabriel and friends had broken in to broadcast an underground radio show. A massive electrical storm left Joaquin 'a broken fragmented man, a walking cadaver'.

Ghost Radio is an eerie paranormal thriller with constant twists revolving around its cast of characters. The story is wrapped up in a whirlwind of events that push the reader to continue to the end. In addition, Gout's illustrations resemble black-and-white film clippings in muted, negative-form, providing astral projections of a parallel universe, complementary to the story. Ghost Radio is meant for more than one sitting. Though the beginning is puzzling, I found it hard to put down.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews