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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Ghost of the Gray, a novel by J. Jones, takes us to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the middle of the New Mexican desert, where radioactive waste was disposed of regularly. The facility had seen its share of mishaps, including frequent ceiling collapses and devastating fires. When an employee went missing after another ceiling collapse occurred, the authorities tried to suppress the information at any cost. Meanwhile, as part of their reintroduction program, the US Fish and Wildlife Services planned to release a pack of Mexican grey wolves into the desert, much to the displeasure of the local ranchers. Trouble brewed when people disappeared one after another. Although the community blamed the reintroduced wolves, it seemed that both the desert and the WIPP were hiding some sordid secrets.
This thoroughly engaging novel had a broader scope than I anticipated, spanning multiple genres, including political thriller, mystery, and horror. J. Jones wrote from personal experience, portraying the WIPP and its workings authentically. I learned about the intricacies of radioactive waste management and the associated risks. Jones structured the novel in a way that resembled watching a Hollywood movie. It gripped me from the first scene. I imagined something ominous lurking in the desolate desert, silently killing unwary people, and sending a chill down my spine. The local legend of Fantasma del Gris added another layer to the otherworldly aura. The scenes were filled with tension, keeping me glued to the pages. Jones’s protagonists were well fleshed-out, making the reading experience even more realistic. Various misunderstandings and misadventures created comic relief that stood in sharp contrast to the otherwise serious mood. I recommend Ghost of the Gray to anyone wishing to read a horror story or a thriller.