Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

Synopsis: Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer. That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted. before his admission to a care home for dementia. Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip. Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed, other young women. Including her sister Rachel. Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel. Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar. Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk. For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . .

Review: I loved one of the author’s novels, so when I saw a new translation, I was really curious to discover another of her stories.

Our heroine, whose name is unknown, is determined to find the person responsible for her sister’s disappearance since she did not return home. It’s been years now, but she has a plan. She thinks she knows who the murderer is and she will do anything to get him to confess and especially to find her sister’s body. Carl Fedman is a senile old man, or at least that’s what everyone says. He’s been acquitted of murders for a long time, but she knows it’s him! Today, he lives in a home for mad criminals and our heroine approaches him posing as his lost daughter. She wants to offer him a road trip to try to revive his memory, to find out what he did with her sister by reminding him of the women he is supposed to have killed. But what she doesn’t know is if Carl is really insane, if he doesn’t play, if he doesn’t hide what he is… It’s something complicated to determine, and even we reader, we ask ourselves these questions countless times.

Yes, our young woman is determined to find the truth and if she hates this man at first, she softens toward him and so do we, even if we don’t know what he really did. I really enjoyed following them through this road trip, seeing them discover the truth and understand. There are a few points that I find a little big in the story, especially towards the end, but this aside, I found it a very interesting novel and I was curious to find out the truth.



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