The Ghost by Robert Harris

The Ghost Book Cover It’s All about the Finish – 3.5 Stars

This book had the misfortune of being read after Robert Harris’ far superior An Officer and A Spy . Regardless, The Ghost is a great novel in its own right. While it does not contain the fullness of what I consider to be a better novel, it is compact and straight to the point. It is filled with conspiracy which leaves you guessing until the end.

Plot summary

Our main character is a Ghost, or more appropriately, a professional ghost writer who has ghost written well received autobiographies of famous stars. His fortunes are looking up when he is offered a gig to finish ghost writing the highly anticipated autobiography of the former and controversial British Prime Minister. The previous ghost writer had died in an apparent suicide after spending the previous year putting together a manuscript for the book. The task is seemingly straight forward. He is to retire for several months to Martha’s vineyard in the US, interview the Prime Minister, fix the poorly drafted manuscript and take home an absurd payday. Nothing is as it seems as the Ghost becomes increasingly suspicious regarding the death of his predecessor. While investigating the death of the first Ghost, he uncovers a conspiracy that will shock the world.

The Good

Conspiracy Nut Unite!

If you love a good conspiracy, the Ghost will certainly deliver. While I will not spoil the surprise, the conspiracy is certainly one that would shock the world and would make for some tense international relations. This underlying secret was the thrust of the novel and twists and stumbles will leave you guess and mistrusting every character you encounter.

If you like you endings to be explosive, you are in for a treat. I thought I had it all figured out but my ideas were turned on their head. A+ for a great finish.

The Bad

One Trick Pony

While I love where the story ultimately took me, the story often felt like filler until the big reveal. The audiobook was a relatively short 8 hours. Had it been longer, I would have likely lost interest in the filled and skipped to the big reveal. The first three quarters lacked the tension and buildup I felt the conspiracy required. There was some weak attempts at character building in the story, but given it is really a one trick pony, these attempts felt flat.

Can this Book Stand Alone

Yes. It is a stand alone novel.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, this is not a book you would read more than once. Once the plot fully reveals itself, there is not need to look at it again. This should not be taken as a criticism. I really did enjoy this novel. If I had not enjoyed the reveal as much as I did, I would have given this less stars. Enjoy this one for the anticipation of the reveal and for a delicious helping of conspiracy.

Content Advisories

It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations. When reviewing language, mild obscenities are words like, shit, hell or damn. Religious exclamations are words such as Christ or Jesus when used as profanity.

Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest

Sex 2

There is a minor subplot involving affair. The entanglements are not graphic.


There are around 26 mild obscenities, 16 religious exclamations and 19 f-words.

Violence 2.5

There is talk of death, violence and the mistreatment of prisoners. There is some mild description of waterboarding techniques. Overall, the elements for a background and are not graphic.

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Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.