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Friday, August 21, 2009

Ghost in the Machine

Ghost in the Machine by Patrick Carman (October 1st 2009—Scholastic)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Ryan and Sarah are trapped inside the mystery of Skeleton Creek. Nothing in their town is what it first appears to be. And there are forces at work that want to keep old secrets buried…at any rate.
Clue by clue, the pieces begin to add up—and they all point to danger. In his journal, Ryan tries to chronicle his discoveries. Meanwhile, Sarah investigates and captures what she sees on video.

As time starts to run out, Ryan and Sarah are forced to make more and more desperate moves to get to the heart of the mystery. Someone—alive or dead—is trying to stop them. And as the stakes get higher, so do the risks.

There are threes sides to this story: Ryan’s. Sarah’s. And the deadly truth.”

Review: Ghost in the Machine has tough act to follow about Skeleton Creek and in some ways it lacked the ompf factor.

Just as Skeleton Creek we follow Ryan and Sarah uncover the mystery of the dredge number 42 haunted by the ghost of Joe Bush—or is it really him…?

The intricacy of the book is still here as well as the fear. Every last detail counts in this series as we go back and forth trying to uncover what really happened. Ghost in the Machine is the final book in this exciting series and the ending of course was just as spectacular as the beginning. We finally figure out the true identity of the ghost of Joe and the reasons why he did so.

The reason why Ghost in the Machine did not do as well as Skeleton Creek was because of the first page. On the first page Ryan somehow writes a list of names related to the dredge that no amount of reading will give the reader as to how he knows this. Ryan claims that he must of wrote it the night before he fell asleep after coming home from the dredge. He doesn’t remember that night, only fragments. What I loved so much of Skeleton Creek was the fact that it gave the reader reasons for everything! Ryan didn’t just magically come up with a list of names, he searched for the cooperation linking to several people and from there it expanded.

Ghost in the Machine provides entertainment as I read both books in one sitting, in less than a day, and wanting more from Patrick Carman.

Overall: Exciting, with twists, but not as in depth as I would have liked.

Cover C+

Go here to see the companion videos (at least I think this is where you go...?)


  1. Oh man - I so want this book!
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Sorry that you didn't like it as much as the first!


  3. Hi there - this is the writer, Patrick, saying thank you for reviewing! The one thing to remember is that the very first page of Ghost in the Machine is a gateway to a video, which gives Ryan everything he's saying at the start of the book (the names, the images, the moments) - it's all there in that first video for him to restate in bits and pieces after the fact on the first page of the journal. We debated that first page for a long time...but it looks like we might have missed the mark! Did you watch that first video, or did it get skipped? One thing is for sure...It was a blast of a project - thanks again! Patrick Carman

  4. Hi Patrick! Yikes maybe I should have watched those! I thought the videos were more of Sarah's POV rather than connecting to the novel. I had guess that they were intertwined but not that much. I'll let the readers know to watch the videos then!

  5. That's the thing with this series, it's unique in that I'm trying to erase the gap between technology and books for young readers (not with every project, just this one!) - so really, with both books, the videos are critically important to the story in the order in which you find them. Two points of view, both are necessary to understand what's going on. It's all good though - truthfully, most young readers are so wired they're reading and using an iPod and surfing the web all at one time anyway. For them to stop and watch a video is more natural. On that note, all the videos are free at iTunes by typing in Skeleton Creek, for those that don't want to leave their comfy chair. Thank you for your awesome blog - it's really good! Patrick

  6. I should definitely get to the 1st book :)

  7. "On the first page Ryan somehow writes a list of names related to the dredge that no amount of reading will give the reader as to how he knows this." is wrong while he was in the dredge in the secret little room they hide in it has their names. duh!

  8. I love the first one i can not wait for it to come out in a few days ahhhhhhh i want it so bad its such a good book

  9. Dear Patrick,
    I am currently reading this book great job so far!Can't wait to finish bye Pat