cover image Ghost Radio

Ghost Radio

Leopoldo Gout, . . Morrow, $25.95 (353pp) ISBN 978-0-06-124268-7

Joaquin, the host of Ghost Radio , a call-in show based in Joaquin’s native Mexico, builds a devoted audience with his combination of talk therapy and sharing of urban legends and spooky stories in Gout’s first novel, a twisty if less than original supernatural thriller. When Joaquin’s growing prominence lands him a Newsweek interview, he decides to relate on the air a near-death experience decades earlier, which claimed the life of a close friend. Joaquin’s personal problems mount as he begins to be drawn into his callers’ stories and the line between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred. The prose can be awkward at times (“he wondered how he got himself into this situation: a mysterious phone call, and less than an hour later, he’s wrestling with a reverend of Toltec Christianity”), and Gout adds little that’s either new or remarkable to the ghostly radio waves premise used more effectively elsewhere, notably William Sloane’s The Edge of Running Water (1939). (Oct.)