Published April 25. 2013 4:00AM
Anyone who's ever tried to write fiction will of course hate Hobbs, a ridiculously talented fellow who wrote this book while still a student at Reed College in Oregon - and then sold it to the country's most prestigious literary house. Perhaps "jealous" is a better way to express it, followed soon, as you read, by "admiration" and then "I can't put this down, damn you!" Jack, the titular Ghostman, is a cypher - a criminal's criminal who's developed an enviable talent for disappearing after any caper. Only two people in the world know how to get in touch with Jack - and, unfortunately, the one who calls him would love to see Jack dead. All debts will be canceled, though, if Jack can find the missing loot from a disastrous Atlantic City casino heist before it's uncovered by a stupendously violent mob boss. Jack has to outwit, then, two crafty lunatics, and Hobbs' crisp style and expository knowledge of crime is impressive.
- RICK KOSTER