Thursday, November 17, 2016

The First Page: Ghost Hampton by Ken McGorry

Author: Ken McGorry
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 450
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Lyle Hall is a new man since his car accident and spinal injury. The notoriously insensitive Bridgehampton lawyer is now afflicted with an odd sensitivity to other people's pain. Especially that of a mysterious young girl he encounters outside a long-abandoned Victorian house late one October night. “Jewel” looks about 12. But Lyle knows she’s been dead a hundred years. Jewel wants his help, but it’s unclear how. As if in return, she shows him an appalling vision—his own daughter's tombstone. If it’s to be believed, Georgie’s last day is four days away. Despite Lyle’s strained relations with his police detective daughter, he’s shocked out of complacent convalescence and back into action in the real world.

But the world now seems surreal to the formerly Scrooge-like real estate lawyer. Lyle’s motion in court enjoining the Town of Southampton from demolishing the old house goes viral because he leaked that it might be haunted. This unleashes a horde of ghost-loving demonstrators and triggers a national media frenzy. Through it all strides Lyle’s new nemesis in high heels: a beautiful, scheming TV reporter known as Silk.

Georgie Hall’s own troubles mount as a campaign of stationhouse pranks takes a disturbing sexual turn. Her very first case is underway and her main suspect is a wannabe drug lord. Meanwhile, Lyle must choose: Repair his relationship with Georgie or succumb to the devious Silk and her exclusive media contract. He tells himself seeing Georgie’s epitaph was just a hallucination. But a few miles away the would-be drug lord is loading his assault rifle. Berto needs to prove himself.

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 The First Page

It was the roadwork on Montauk Highway that made Lyle Hall get the electric chair.

Since last winter, he’d made do with the self-propelled kind—his daughter Georgie called it the “Mr. Potter model.” To Lyle, it said temporary. A new electric wheelchair with high-end options would say permanent.

At 55, Lyle was not ready to say that. He’d made good progress over the spring and summer, strength-training his upper body. A perky female physical therapist came to his house in Bridgehampton twice a week; a tattooed trainer guy beat him up on Fridays. Lyle had the stretchy resistance bands and a rack of light dumbbells in embarrassing lavender in the living room. Dangling in the dining room doorway was the “Torquemada”—a sling-like contraption he used to hoist himself up and perform certain torturous routines. 

Any strain or discomfort he felt was north of his L4 vertebra. Lyle had no feeling from the lower back down, since killing Elsie Cronk with his stupid Hummer last October. Almost a year now.

Each week he journeyed to Southampton to the spinal-injury clinic where they worked miracles. Lyle fully expected them to make him their next miracle and the team there was so positive and effusive that they kept the dream alive. As professionals, they didn’t hold Elsie Cronk against him, but they knew. Everybody knew. Even though Lyle and Elsie and an old duffer walking his dog were the only witnesses, they knew.      With his SUV piled up on the War Memorial at Bridgehampton’s main intersection, windshield spider-webbed and red, the first-responders, busy trying to free the elderly lady from her big old Ford, initially pronounced him dead. Lyle had a bona fide near-death experience and was comatose for two weeks.

About the Author

Ken McGorry has been writing since third grade. (He learned in first grade, but waited two years.) He started a school newspaper with friends in seventh grade, but he’s better known for his 23 years as an editor of Post Magazine, a monthly covering television and film production. This century, he took up novel-writing and Ghost Hampton and Smashed are examples. More are in the works, like the promised Ghost Hampton sequel, but he’s kinda slow.

Ken lives on Long Island with his wife and they have two strapping sons. There are dogs. Ken is also a chef (grilled cheese, and only for his sons) and he enjoys boating (if it’s someone else’s boat). He has a band, The Achievements, that plays his songs (try Back at Manhattan College (English major!), he was a founding member of the venerable Meade Bros. Band. Ken really was an employee of Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons one college summer, and really did mow Dan’s lawn.


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