Carol Goodman always has an unparalleled way of transforming a location in a book into a beautifully haunted atmosphere. Her descriptions jump from the page, and every time she sets her novel in a new location I know it’s going to be lush, gothic, decrepit, and wonderful.
Her location in The Ghost Orchid is no different. Set at the upstate New York sprawling aged and crumbling Bosco Estate, Goodman unites an intriguing cast of characters amid the ivy-covered statues and dry fountains. Novelist Ellis Brooks has hoped her acceptance into Bosco’s notorious writing program would allow her the freedom to pursue her novel in peace. But the past pursues her instead, and she soon finds that the residents of Bosco were not brought together by chance.
At times a romantic mystery, at times a suspenseful thriller, Goodman deftly weaves between an ages old missing child case, and the present day sleuthing Ellis is forced to undertake into the people and places around her. Always intriguing, I never want to finish a Goodman novel. Though the writing in this, her fourth novel, occasions into the trite and predictable, I was still engrossed by the scene set before me.
I had one issue with the end of the novel and a short side-tracked path that Goodman decided to briefly explore, but it was not the focus of the novel so I can set it aside as author-folly. Overall, I still love her novels and find them to be uniquely mysterious and haunting. I haven’t read many other authors that can successfully pull off a mystery while still making it literary. In this day of mass-market quick-publications, I delight in the fact that there are authors like Goodman who take suspense to another level.