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Ghost Radio

Ghost Radio - Leopoldo Gout 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 also 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. I found myself drawn into the story, and I read most of it in one sitting. I looked forward to the few stories of the paranormal that were told over the airwaves of Ghost Radio. Another thing about the book that I really enjoyed is that the author places a photo from Gabriel's "Polaroid journal" at the beginning of each chapter. These "Polaroids" are actually drawn by the author himself and are quite beautiful.

After reading, I found myself chewing over how the various components of the story are intertwined. I enjoyed every moment of reading this novel. However, I'm afraid some might not understand how the book had to end and feel cheated by it. Personally, I can't see how it could have ended otherwise. What a lovely book. I feel like rereading it just to try to tease out all its secrets from the beginning. And, like Joaquin, I'm going to have "Kill the Poor" stuck in my head for a week.

Note: While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I'm legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Amazon Vine program in return for my review. Blah blah blah.