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Ghost Radio: A Novel Hardcover – October 14, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Gout tells a strange tale of Gabriel and Joaquin, two boys orphaned when their parents' vehicles collide on a Houston road and who become residents at a rehab hospital. Sounds and music fascinate both young men, particularly the Dead Kennedys and fractured pieces of everyday noise. They take to recording and collecting sounds, creating instruments and strange taped commentaries late into the night. One evening they stumble upon an unusual radio program, Ghost Radio, where people call in and retell bizarre and macabre events and stories. The format fascinates them and they set out to duplicate the show. But events take a weird turn—Gabriel dies, and Joaquin wakes to find a mysterious tattoo on his forearm, falls in love, travels back in time, witnesses a murder, experiences flashbacks, and is visited by Gabriel's ghost. All of these curious happenings connect to Joaquin's current radio program's success and its future. Fans of The Twilight Zone will be intrigued with this tale of radio broadcast and its effect and on characters both living and dead.—Joanne Ligamari, Twin Rivers United School District, Sacramento, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061242683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061242687
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,258,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A. Bell VINE VOICE on September 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Joaquin has had the Dead Kennedys song "Kill The Poor" stuck in his head all week, so when Gabriel starts humming it in the hospital, Joaquin joins in. From that point forward, the boys, whose parents just crashed into each other leaving both boys as orphans, find their lives completely intertwined. They even end up living with relatives in the same neighborhood. They're both intrigued with noise and form a band that takes "found sounds" and arranges them into music.

After Gabriel's death, Joaquin begins to listen even harder to the noises around him, hoping to find a hidden message there from Gabriel. He turns the dials of his radio hoping to pick up a ghostly voice in the static. As a final hope for some contact from the world beyond, Joaquin starts up a radio show similar to one they listened to together in the hospital where they first met, Ghost Radio. He takes calls from people with paranormal stories to tell, but really he hopes beyond hope that perhaps one day Gabriel will call in.

Strangely, the song "Kill the Poor" is a common thread that runs through Joaquin's life from the moment he meets Gabriel: "Efficiency and progress is ours once more now that we have the neutron bomb. It's nice and quick and clean and gets things done. Away with excess enemy, but no less value to property. No sense in war but perfect sense at home." Joaquin starts to feel as if perhaps he is a neutron bomb, bringing death to everyone he loves. The more he thinks of this, the more bizarre his life becomes. He can't tell the difference between life and the lucid dreams he begins to have. But suddenly everything makes sense to him in one lucid moment that determines the future of those he loves.

Leopoldo Gout does a great job of storytelling.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
GHOST RADIO isn't CARRIE, but It's certainly a commendable first novel in the horror genre. One might get wrong impressions from other reviewers. The story is told in the third person at the beginning, but many chapters are written in the first person, mostly from Joaquin's viewpoint and a few from Alondra. However it's not a case of the first half being in the first person and the second half in the third person. Instead the p0erspective switches from time to time throughout the entire novel. At first this can be confusing until you realize the reason for the author doing this. Joaquin experiences periods in which he seems to be in a story he's hearing, and this abrupt switching between the third person and first person reflects the shifting reality he is living in. Joaquin is the protagonist here as the host of a late night call in show, one in which listeners call and tell strange experiences thay have had. Joaquin becomes absorbed in these stories and his own sense of reality is affected. His goth girl friend, Alondra, and sound engineer, Charles Watt (appropriate name there) are the others associated with the program. And then there's Gabriel, Joaquin's friend since a horrific accident in which both lost their parents and himself eventually the victim of a tragic accident. The author skillfully blends these characters in a dreamlike story verging on nightmare.This is a haunting story and expect to hear much more from Leopoldo Gout who even now is working on a collaberation with James Patterson.
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Format: Audio CD
Following the logic that ghost stories are creepiest when read aloud, I listened to an audio version of Ghost Radio. I later found out that the physical copy of the book has illustrations scattered throughout the book, and I'm disappointed that I missed them.

Joaquin and Alondra are the hosts of "Ghost Radio", a Mexican radio program. Listeners call in and share their stories about the paranormal and the scary. It's wildly successful; so much so that Joaquin is given a chance to bring the radio show Stateside. His return to Texas, however, is bittersweet; memories of the deaths of his parents and his best friend haunt him. Or is it more than mere memories? Joaquin finds himself being drawn into the ghostly world described by his callers, and seeing specters of his own. But is Joaquin really being haunted by the dead...or is he just losing his mind, snapping under the pressure of work and suppressed traumas?

The best parts of this book by far were the stories told by Joaquin's callers. Most of them were very traditional ghost stories. A dead relative appearing before a caller after he'd passed away, or a girl trying to see the image of her future husband in a mirror at midnight - that sort of thing. But they were articulated so well on the page - and read perfectly by Pedro Pascal on the audio track - that it was like listening to ghost stories around a campfire, wonderful spooky entertainment.

The main story with Joaquin and Alondra didn't flow so smoothly. The narration constantly jumps characters, which would be difficult enough to follow since each switch isn't clearly delineated.
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