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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Ghost Town: A Western Paranormal Mystery by A.J. Thibault takes you on a journey through time in a tale that blends elements of military suspense, drama, and western-themed action. It all starts with a midlife crisis and ends with three people trapped in the past. Richard Hart is ready for something new in his life and to put his days as a CIA operative behind him, but when he gets the opportunity to meet CIA legend VM Moodbain, he's drawn into a dangerous experiment. When he's stood up at their meeting, Richard finds himself in deeper trouble as he uncovers secrets behind a military experiment and works to find his way out of a mysterious ghost town. Now he's not only trapped in a strange town but he's trapped in the past where he faces off with threats beyond anything he's ever seen with ghost riders hot on his trail. If he fails to find his way out, he'll be stuck in this ghost town forever.
The story weaves through time with a unique format that dips around various moments of Richard's life, from young Ricky to soldier Ricardo to the moment he became Richard Hart. Each moment that delves into Hart's life shows a critical transition for the character, and each builds to the present-day man that becomes trapped in the past. Moments such as Ricky showing his origins in instances as a child that drove him to prove everyone wrong, thanks to growing up in poverty and being bullied for it. He was a child who pushed back against the bullies, which set him up for the fight he faced as an adult. A.J. Thibault captures time through various facets of Richard's life, the journey into the past, and the setting taking place within a ghost town. The story weaves the genres of western and mystery with a CIA operative, a military experiment, and a western location that provides exciting dangers for Richard to face.
The ghost town setting brings Richard up against desperadoes and ghost riders. The whole western tone comes to life and draws you into it. The romantic drama stems from Richard's various encounters, such as his relationship with his ex-wife and his complicated connection with Honey, who engages with Boon. VM Moodbain is significant to the story as his status as a legendary CIA operative draws Richard into the experiment in the first place, and Moodbain serves as a mentor for him. Thibault delivers the action of a western and the suspense of a military thriller in Ghost Town, a unique read that everyone can enjoy with desperadoes, ghost riders, military experiments, and relationship drama.