The Ghost Of A Flea [NOOK Book]


Murder in the Big Apple. A mystery/suspense/action thriller that tests the endurance and love of a man and a woman, and threatens the security of a great city. It is a tale of greed, passion and death centered on a painting of haunting beauty and mystifying significance. “The Ghost Of A Flea,” painted by William Blake 200 years ago.

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The Ghost Of A Flea

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Murder in the Big Apple. A mystery/suspense/action thriller that tests the endurance and love of a man and a woman, and threatens the security of a great city. It is a tale of greed, passion and death centered on a painting of haunting beauty and mystifying significance. “The Ghost Of A Flea,” painted by William Blake 200 years ago.

Time: 1975.
Location: New York City.

The murder of Roger’s musician friend, Gideon Whiting, turns Roger’s world up-side-down. His wife, Natalie, lies to him. His best friend, Ted, lies to him. His boss and U.S. Senate candidate, Charlie Holt, lies to him. And Lieutenant Tarrington, a homicide detective, is convinced Roger killed Gideon—but is Tarrington who he claims to be, or is he lying, too?

Peggy Curtis, the blond bombshell who dropped into Roger’s life one snowy night after he left Gideon’s apartment, might be the only person who can unravel the Gordian knot facing Roger, yet she has serious credibility problems, and is the last person he would want to rely on with his life and freedom on the line.

The drug cartel masterminding much of the chaos seeks an address book it thinks Roger took from Gideon. As their ruthless pursuit intensifies, the police learn of the book and join the chase. The problem is, Roger doesn’t have what they want and he must get it before they decide he is expendable.
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Editorial Reviews

Tic Toc
This is a well written, and fast paced book. The Ghost Of A Flea is full of surprises and constantly keeps you on your toes, wondering what will happen next. Peggy is a strong heroine, while Roger is a very weak counterpart. As the story progresses he gains strength and confidence and actually seems to enjoy some of the action. The characters are well developed and written with exacting detail. It is easy to see them in your mind as the action takes hold.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940011981845
  • Publisher: John Brinling
  • Publication date: 6/20/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

I have been writing all of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. Since then, earning a living has preempted long periods of my life when I wrote very little. My wife and I are both in data processing (IT nowadays) and we usually work long hours when we are on a contract, which meant I spent little time writing fiction when gainfully employed. Writing is hard. But it’s in my DNA and I keep returning to it, despite some part of me that prefers the lazy life. However, not writing is unthinkable, and I am constantly exploring ideas even when I’m not committing them to paper.
I lived and worked in Europe for seven years. I met my wife In Italy where we both worked for the same company, and were married in 1975. The contract we were working on ended that year and we took two years off to live in England, in a 300 year old farmhouse in Wiltshire. It was in that farmhouse that I wrote “The Ghost Of A Flea,” as well as another book titled “Quarantine,” which is a science fiction thriller.
“The Ghost” has a strong autobiographical component. I was a programmer/analyst. The office ambience in the novel is similar to life in my New York office, although the intrigues were of an entirely different nature. I had a good friend who lived in Sparta. I lived for a time near the George Washington Bridge. The building manager was an Irishman, who became a good friend, and an integral character in the book.
“Quarantine” is set in East Africa, where my wife and I vacationed, and I drew liberally on what we read, saw, and experienced.
I had an agent back then who marketed both books, and came very close to selling them to both Doubleday and St. Martins. Unfortunately he died before completing the sale and I put the books on a shelf and forgot about them for 35 years. Only this year did I resurrect them and publish them as ebooks.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 21, 2010

    Continuous Intrigue!

    The suspense keeps on coming!
    Good Plot, cresting & ebbing intrigue, identifiable characters.
    Well worth the read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Straight Thriller but no romance

    When I read the overview, I had expect a love story on the run. Well there was lots of running, but no romance. Love had no place in this story. There was lots of pretend, lies and greed. It is without a doubt a page turner. Nothing is as it appears and although the subject matter of drugs and power is sinceless to me, the writer kept my attention from start to finish.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 20, 2011

    thriller with lotsa

    Good thriller with lots of characters, lots of red herrings, lots of wondering "what the..."

    Although this one did not keep me guessing "who" until the end, it kept me wondering "why"?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Kept me guessing until the end!!

    Reading "The Ghost Of A Flea" was like riding a roller coaster! There were so many twists and turns and ups and downs! Who do you trust, when the people closest to you, your wife, best friend, boss, work colleague all are telling you something different. Who do you believe? Roger at first wonders if he's losing it, he then realizes someone is lying, but who and why. That is the dilemma that Roger is facing. This book was a real page turner from the very start! You never knew what twist was coming next. "The Ghost Of A Flea" is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time. At times I was so drawn into the story, it was like I was watching a movie. If you like mysteries that really keep you guessing from the first page to the last page, you will really enjoy this book.

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  • Posted March 16, 2011

    Intricate web of mystery

    The Ghost of a Flea by John Brinling is an intricate web of mystery, intertwined with even more deceit and lies. Just when the reader feels as though they have a solid lead in the right direction, more suspicion is added and the reader, along with the characters, are reverted back to square one. Roger is just your average man. He spends way to much time working at a boring job that he could care less about. All of the people in his life that are closest to him, people who he should be able to turn to for support, leave him with nothing but more unanswered questions. Just when Roger is starting to put some of the puzzle pieces in the correct order, new events occur and he must start over. But who can he trust when everyone keeps telling opposing stories? His wife Natalie is constantly having arguments with him and then claiming she doesn't know what he is talking about. His best friend Ted is filling his head with falsities and making Rogers sanity slip further with each word. Top it off with Roger being accused of murdering the musician Gideon, the mysteriously attractive Peggy, and everyone in the city chasing him for various reasons and the reader is left with a twisted roller coaster of intrigue and betrayal. If you enjoy puzzles and trying to piece together fact from fiction, then I suggest you give The Ghost of a Flea a whirl.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011


    This was one of the most intricate plots i have ever read. So intricate indeed, i pictured the author's wall pasted with diagrams, pictures and charts, much like a DEA's agent office in the midst of an investigation so that Mr Brinling could keep up with the intrigue. it is quite a coup to follow up with all the twists and turns of this story. This author has a brilliant plotting mind, that has to be said. So much so, that we sometimes loose the characters personalities in the midst of their adventures. Still, this was something very different from what i've had to read before, and for that, i give it a four star-rating. Looking forward to the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

    Roger's World is a Disaster

    The Ghost of Flea could have been written by Alfred Hitchcock. It seems as though it would have made a splendid movie with all of it's twists and turns of plot. The main character could have been Cary Grant. Roger Davis is a good, loyal workerbee. He is on time, stays late, is married to Natalie who may or may not have slept with half of his office prior to the wedding. Roger has a friend in Gideon whom he sees once a week. Gideon browbeats Roger mercilessly and, one night shows Roger his newest treasure. A painting by Blake entitled The Ghost of a Flea.
    The painting is hideous but Gideon is much taken with it. After his show and tell he brings out the pipe and, this time for some reason; Roger smokes with him. And everything about Roger's life changes in that instant. He is lied to by his wife, his co-workers, Gideon and probably even the painting. He loves Natalie but she denies ever telling him she wants children. Then she lies about denying the denial. People are murdered right and left and the only thing they seem to have in common is their knowledge of Roger. Enought to make anyone paranoid!
    The only person possibly not lying to Roger is a woman he met at Gideon's home - Peggy Curtis. But she told him her name was something else. He is taken with the idea he needs to find her but when he finds out she lives on Central Park West - and may be sleeping with his boss - that becomes suspect as well. A true tale of confusion, murder and love. But who loves whom and who is murdering the characters? Well worth taking the time to sit down and delve into Roger's mani world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2011

    Gratifyingly bemusing

    Though initially unenthusiastic about what appeared to be a story of bitter men attempting to be philosophers, the The Ghost of A Flea quickly morphed into an intriguing tale of drug deals and the inability to know whom to trust. Red herrings abounded, and for the longest time, I was uncertain whether the main character, Roger, was hallucinating, confused, or caught up in some grandiose form of hypnosis. The manipulation around him was subtle and maintained that delicious sense of suspense that drives any good thriller.

    The language in this book was as hard and driven as the plot, allowing for important details without belaboring the point by being overly descriptive. Necessary items were introduced with the same straightforwardness as ones that were later revealed to be unimportant, and through it all, that sense of dread and fascination was maintained. There were multiple instances where "passed" was used instead of "past," and more than one instance of the you're/your and who's/whose confusion. All three are generally unforgivable faux pas in my book, and had the rest of the novel not been written so well, the whole work may very well have been written off.

    Characterizations here were absolutely flawless. Each person involved was distinctive, their traits consistent even with all of the acting and subterfuge woven in. Betrayals were believable, and revelations were informative without being excessively explanatory. Like any good villain, the "bad guys" had that self-defeating, hubris-driven tendency to monologue, which were like a lifeline when I, like Roger, was caught up in grasping at thin air for understanding. By far the most enigmatic character was Peggy, a woman whose loyalties were constantly called into question either to be bolstered or decimated by the contents of the following scene. The ending of the novel was satisfactory and tied up all loose ends without resorting to deus ex machina, for which I was quite thankful.

    As intricate as it was enthralling, The Ghost of a Flea is one of the most surprising books that I've come across. Nothing was as expected, and I was frequently left hankering for the next great reveal. If suspense and mind games are your cup of tea, then imbibe with pleasure as you work your way through this well-written work.

    -Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews

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  • Posted November 24, 2010

    A Definite Page-Turner

    When I saw the first chapter was set in 1975, I thought it was going to be one of those novels that illustrates an important clue that happened in the past and then jump forward to present day for the remainder of the novel. Not so. When I realized the entire novel was going to be set in 1975, I was surprised, but pleasantly so. To have a novel published in 2010, but be entirely set in 1975 is a form of bravery in my opinion. The same bravery that was evident of authors who published novels in the early 20th century, but wrote about the future.

    It was refreshing to read a novel without modern day electronic capabilities. To write in such a way, makes me believe the author actually thought about the details of the book: how a character would get out of a certain predicament, how a scene would play out without the use of cell phones, etc. The author was actually able to focus on and perfect the plot of the story rather than take the easy way out. It was wonderful.

    The two main characters, Roger and Peggy, were a nice contradiction to each other. Roger was a little wimpy and naive, whereas Peggy was cunning and strong-willed. It took Roger a little longer than I liked to stop being so naive. I was grateful when he finally started acting with some authority and backbone.

    There was a part of Peggy that reminded me of myself ... flitting from relationship to relationship until finally meeting that one nice guy that changes the way I see men. Despite Peggy's independence, there was an underlying vulnerability to her that I recognized and understood. I did wonder about her honesty for most of the book and was hoping that she wouldn't betray Roger in the end.

    Overall, this novel was rather enjoyable. It was a classically written mystery without the overshadowing of modern conveniences. It kept you turning the page wanting to know more. It is definitely one that I will remember and enjoy reading again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2010

    A Thrilling Adventure as Unpredictable as a Tornado

    1975. New York City. Great historical accuracy. Part mystery, part flat out adventure. The novel is a romantic, suspenseful thriller that tests the love of a man and a woman, and threatens the security of a great city. It is a tale of greed, passion and death centered on a painting of haunting beauty and mystifying significance. "The Ghost Of A Flea," painted by William Blake 200 years ago.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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