A beautifully written book, to savor. I felt the characters, especially Ian Washington and Jack Johnstone, were real people and I was watching their story unfold. The supernatural aspects (just what was that gold watch, anyway?) add depth to the portrait of a fading Midwestern town and the families that are fading with it. So much beneath the surface, and not just golems and ghosts. I'm glad to see Mr. Wheeler has written at least one other book so that I may visit his world again.
Answer the ghost train's whistle of invisible steam!
The dead walk in Monteray.
Mr. Hancock’s body has returned home via the ghost train to the small, flatland town of Monteray. No one awaits the body's arrival, and the dead face is nearly forgotten.
Young Ian Washington recognizes the body, seeing the man briefly as a boy visiting country tombstones one night during his nomadic childhood. For amid those headstones, he witnessed a deep, black stone shine and hum at that man's touch, a memory that still resonates when he closes his eyes.
Convinced the stranger’s body deserves its peace amid those country tombstones, Ian takes it upon himself to discover a way to return Mr. Hancock home. Before he succeeds, a strange thief drags Mr. Hancock’s body to locations that define Monteray’s history - the renovated bed and breakfast, the ruins of the town’s movie theater, the lone smokestack doomed to be knocked to the earth.
A Community Hides Behind Locked Doors
Suspicions rise that the dragging is more than a typical vandal’s handiwork, unsettling a populace unprepared for dark rumors that threaten their sense of peace. Thus with the aid of a funeral proprietor and an infamous preacher, Ian Washington chases Mr. Hancock’s trail with hopes to give the body the resting place it deserves before the town’s growing unease leads to more than fearful whispers.
The more they uncover, the more they doubt mortal man works behind Mr. Hancock’s plight.
Many books rely on their characters finding adventure as they leave home and explore a far away land. Wheeler does the opposite. He invites his readers to explore the magic and mystery underneath the surface of the simple and everyday. This is where Wheeler’s books shine. After reading his books I did not find myself day dreaming of far away lands filled with adventure, but re-imagining my own life with wonder. I grew up in a small town and left home to find adventure. I have traveled the world and lived overseas. Though I have read books that speak to this kind of adventure, Wheeler’s books speak to me in ways that these other books can’t. My memories of small town life will be forever enchanted. Wheeler says it best when he describes this land as “a realm of wide horizons where myth and magic waft across the landscape to peek into the corners of a reader’s eyes.”
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I have read this book several times. It gets better each time I read it. I can't wait for more books from this author.
When was the last time you read a great ghost story--for instance, one like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? For me, a great ghost story is not full of ugly, murderous ghosts, it is a literary tale of delight and wonder, one that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the storyteller shares his words of how those in the afterlife may sometimes make the life of we who are left behind just a little different--and sometimes in necessary ways to right the wrongs committed in the past. I am very pleased to introduce Brian S. Wheeler's Mr. Hancock's Signature--a ghost story extraordinaire!
This tale is riveting, yet brilliantly written in a voice that tantalizingly tells of a small country town where the dead walked, until neighbors stopped fighting and drew together to help those who could no longer help themselves. You'll be sorry if you miss this one!