Ghost Dreams by Matthew Hughes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A thief comes into contact with the spirit of a woman who lost her child when she was wrongfully thrust into an asylum for her inheritance in the 1940s, and together with his daughter they must contend with her vengeful spirit and the men who wronged her in life in order to uncover the truth behind her child’s fate in author Matthew Hughes’s “Ghost Dreams”.


The Synopsis

Commercial burglar Stan Winkelman encounters the ghost of Jane Manchester, wrongly confined for life in a 1940s insane asylum by a powerful family. She wants to know what happened to Harmon, the baby boy that was stolen from her.

Aided by Jeannie, his ghost-obsessed autistic daughter, Stan and Jane begin a quest to find Harmon, or his descendants. But their search will run them afoul of Andrew Bigelow, reclusive heir to the fortune Jane was robbed of.

And Bigelow is in cahoots with a murderous crew who deal in guns and blood diamonds and will stop at nothing to keep their crimes hidden.

Stan uses his burglar skills to uncover the truth, but that will draw him and Jeannie into a deadly confrontation, with the vengeful spirit of Jane Manchester his only ally. 

The Review

This was a brilliant and powerful story. The blend of crime thriller, mystery, and horror that this story infuses into itself was captivating to read. The heavy atmosphere and compelling chemistry between the cast of characters made this feel like the perfect modern-day gothic ghost story, with a tone that felt like it could have easily fit into a more Victorian-era period if not for the modern-day Washington setting. 

The heart of this narrative had to be in the mystery components of the story and the character development, especially for the protagonist. The complexity of the protagonist’s background and journey, from a thief and morally questionable history to his somewhat heroic turn to find justice and answers for the spirit of this young woman and how they bond together in the face of this tragic backstory, made this a thrilling read. The shocking series of events that unearth the truth behind not only Jane’s history but the truth behind Bigelow’s life, in general, will keep readers hanging off of the author’s every word.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, chilling, and entertaining, author Matthew Hughes’s “Ghost Dreams” is a must-read crime thriller and horror mystery read. The twists and turns in the narrative help elevate the character growth of the protagonist and the cast of characters greatly, and readers will be invested heavily as the story and mystery unravel over time. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Born in Liverpool, his family moved to Canada when he was five years old. Married since late 1960s, he has three grown sons. He is currently relocated to Britain. He is a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers.

A university drop-out from a working poor background, he worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealership, and did a short stint as an orderly in a private mental hospital. As a teenager, he served a year as a volunteer with the Company of Young Canadians.

He has made his living as a writer all of his adult life, first as a journalist in newspapers, then as a staff speechwriter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Environment, and, since 1979, as a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia.

His short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’sAsimov’sThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionPostscriptsInterzone, and a number of “Year’s Best” anthologies. Night Shade Books published his short story collection, The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, in 2005.

He has won the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. His novels and stories regularly make the Locus Magazine annual recommended reading list.

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