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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A four and a half star read
Ghost in the Machine by Ed James is a well thought out and well conceived police procedural. The fact that we see events unfold through the eyes of one of the lowest cogs in the policing wheel makes for a refreshing change.

Scott Cullen, just a lowly DC, has many things to worry about, not least of which is his career path. But his desire for promotion doesn't...
Published on May 25, 2012 by Avid Reader

versus
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Profanity Plus
I generally don't mind some profanity but there was so much in this book that it felt like it was being used as filler. I found some of the characters to be written as being more stupid than possible and so unbelievable. The plot was interesting but the book was not enjoyable to read.
Published 7 months ago by Mary Anne Harris


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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A four and a half star read, May 25, 2012
Ghost in the Machine by Ed James is a well thought out and well conceived police procedural. The fact that we see events unfold through the eyes of one of the lowest cogs in the policing wheel makes for a refreshing change.

Scott Cullen, just a lowly DC, has many things to worry about, not least of which is his career path. But his desire for promotion doesn't stop him from following his hunches, even when told categorically not to do so by his very annoying boss, DI Bain.

Of all the characters in this novel, only Bain felt a touch unreal. I felt his constant carping comments, although probably okay in moderation, were overdone. In these days of PC policing, I wasn't convinced Bain would get away with his attitude and insults. This feeling did interfere with my enjoyment from time to time. I would strongly advise the author to tone it down slightly for the next in the series.

The use of settings to evoke both location and atmosphere is very well done. I felt as if I was right there with Scott as he moved from place to place.

Without giving away too much of the plot, it's safe to tell you that a missing person case quickly turns into a hunt for a serial killer. There aren't that many twists and turns, but finding out who the guilty party might be isn't at all straightforward. The killer's identity only becomes obvious quite late in the novel.

There is a nice use of social media to tie the victims and suspects together and we get to see how such sites work from both user and provider points of view. I'm pleased to say the technology wasn't overpowering, as is sometimes the case when an author knows more than the reader. James used just enough techie info to make us part of the investigation but stopped well short of showing off.

There are a few minor editing issues - some words missing, others repeated. Punctuation awry in places. A bit of repetition. Nothing that a good editor wouldn't have fixed in a jiffy. This, and my feeling that Bain wasn't quite as credible as the rest of the cast, is all that troubled me with the book.

If there had been a four and a half star option on Amazon and Goodreads, that's what I'd have given. I'd definitely read another one in the series.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the elements of a really good mystery, June 6, 2012
By 
J. Weight "juliew8" (Woodland Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was asked by the author to read and review this book.

This is the first in a series centering around Scott Cullen, a detective constable (DC) at Lothian and Borders. For us Yanks, that's in Edinburgh, Scotland. It's a good introduction to the character, a single man only recently promoted to the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) as a DC, who still lives with other singles in a shared flat. One thing I liked about this story is Scott's co-workers are easily recognizable: the guy who puts his boot in your back while trying to ascend the ladder ahead of you, the guy you can't ever seem to find when you need him but you suspect he's not where he ought to be because he's not doing what he's supposed to be doing, the lazy ass whose work you never quite trust, the handful of people who are dedicated and whose work you can trust is done right; and, for Scott, the attractive woman who makes him feel a bit awkward. Top it off with the boss from hell and Scott has quite enough on his plate without the complication of a one-night stand with his ex-girlfriend's flatmate, who seems to be under the impression they have something much more serious going on. You'll also recognize Scott's reaction from so many men you know (or, if you're a man, possibly in yourself), because obviously he's both puzzled by her assumptions and frightened by the hint of commitment to something more than casual sex.

This book also combines one of my favorite elements: technology. Apparently, the killer is using a local social network to meet these women and then kill them. There's cell phone tracking, throwaway phones, IP tracing, scrounging through the private and proprietary databases of the social network (I'm wondering how long it would've taken to get permission to do that here in the U.S.), and something I've encountered in other stories based in the U.K. - surveillance cameras. For some reason, I find those cameras and their use endlessly fascinating, probably because here in the U.S. we'd find them a horrible invasion of our privacy.

There are plenty of twists and turns, more people disappearing, and more bodies turning up. DC Cullen relentless keeps pulling at threads, trying to unravel the identity of the murderer, while dealing with his DI, who has already picked his killer and just wants his team to find proof that he is, indeed, actually the murderer. It was a good read and the fact that I feel asleep while trying to finish it isn't a reflection on the book itself, but on my desire to find out how it ended while ignoring the obvious signs of complete exhaustion!

I do admit that the local references, and the differences between the language spoken in Edinburgh and the language spoken in the United States slowed me down. While appearing to be the same language, I sometimes felt I was translating a foreign language, and there were bits that completely threw me for a loop. However, I don't feel it detracts from the story. I'm sure someone who speaks the Edinburgh version of English will spend less time trying to figure some things out than I did, but I still recommend it for those of us who speak the US version of English. :-)

Priced at $0.99, this book is a great deal. I'm looking forward to the next installment, and getting to know DC Scott Cullen and his co-workers better.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good stuff, January 19, 2013
I really enjoyed this unusual mystery. While the crux of the story is technological, it's not overdone so as to lose a relatively savvy reader. There isn't really graphic violence (not even with 4 people being murdered) and no graphic sex. I have to say I just ordered the second book, despite being a poor slob with no job, so that's how good I thought this one was!!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, January 23, 2013
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This book kept you interested and well written. I recommend it for all ages. My daughter loved me reading it to her.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Profanity Plus, February 1, 2014
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I generally don't mind some profanity but there was so much in this book that it felt like it was being used as filler. I found some of the characters to be written as being more stupid than possible and so unbelievable. The plot was interesting but the book was not enjoyable to read.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost in the Machine, April 3, 2013
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I like who dunnits but this one was scary. It was well written and the characters were very realistic, so was the concept. Needless to say this one even made a hard core mystery reader have nighmares. If you like lifelike murder mysteries, this one is definitely for you!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the internet age, June 9, 2013
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A murder mystery with a twist involving the technological age and what can happen in Schoolbook.
A good book but a pity about the language, however the plot held my interest. The setting being in Scotland made it hard to understand some of the terms and words used.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Constant crude language, January 31, 2014
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I gave up before third of way through. I would not stay to hear
ongoing profanity; why keep reading it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, January 19, 2013
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Hard to put down. Characters were compelling. This was a very good first book. I enjoyed the twists and turns.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SOCIAL Network, Technology Bring Murder close to Home, November 8, 2013
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This murder mystery started fast bringing in social networks and technology. I enjoyed DC Scott Cullen as he and his coworkers tried to find a missing woman and solve what appears to be the work of a serial killer.The first clue linking the woman and later women to the murderer is a social network. DC Cullen must use good old fashion detective work plus a heaping helping of modern technology to crack the case. Interesting storyline. Will read more from author Ed James.
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Ghost in the Machine: Scott Cullen Book One
Ghost in the Machine: Scott Cullen Book One by Ed James (Paperback - April 15, 2012)
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