In the summer of 1976, 19-year-old David Barwise takes a job at a holiday resort in the seaside town of Skegness, England, hoping to avoid spending the summer with his mother and stepfather. But there is something more sinister underlying David’s reasoning: The beach resort is where his biological father died 15 years earlier, and David feels strangely drawn to the area, despite the tension it causes within his family.

The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit is a startlingly clear tale of a blistering English holiday season, the hottest in English history. The seasonal staff, made up of eccentrics and show people, accepts David into the fold—even hulking, ill-tempered resort employee Colin, with whom David develops an interesting relationship. His days are filled with organizing treasure hunts, setting up talent shows and judging sandcastle contests, and his nights are spent restlessly attempting sleep as he grapples with the odd feelings that being at Skegness brings. As David attempts to navigate the social structure of the resort staff, he becomes entangled in political movements and love triangles, both forbidden and dangerous. Meanwhile, swarms of ladybugs plague the town, and his attempts at building a life in Skegness are haunted by sinister and troubling visions of a man in a blue suit who wanders the beach, grasping a rope and an unidentifiable young child.

Graham Joyce’s fiction has earned him the O. Henry Award, the British Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award, and praise from horror and fantasy-genre greats like Peter Straub and Stephen King. In The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit, Joyce weaves a bizarre, colorful story, full of nostalgia, indecision, emotion and tension, and this genre-spanning novel is sure to be a favorite of fantasy, suspense and thriller fans.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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