I like to follow certain authors with track records of publishing good books. One of these authors is Michael Connelly whose Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch series take up a good portion of my eBook library. His latest work, an Amazon single called The Safe Man: A Ghost Story, takes him out of the mystery-thriller genre into the supernatural. The story does not disappoint.
When locksmith Brian Holloway is called upon by a famous writer to open a safe in the writer’s newly-acquired home, he sees it as just another job. Though he thinks it odd that the owner wants him to haul the safe away after he opens it, a request that sounds strangely suspicious, Holloway ignores his early warning radar and proceeds with the job. He soon realizes that the work is not going to be an easy one as the lock mechanism is so rare no information about it could be found. Not a man to give up on a challenge, he doggedly works on the overly stubborn safe, eventually managing to drill a hole through the steel membrane and slip an eye scope through. He sees a spectral image inside the cavity, which startles him, a feeling compounded when he senses a female presence next to him.
Chalking it up to a momentary bout of paranoia, Holloway diligently works on the safe, feeling validated when he successfully jimmies it open and encounters a vacant space. Still, the strange and ghostly events in the library give him the creeps, so much so that it begins to occupy his mind. He does his own research on the safe’s history and what he discovers instills fear in him, a fear exacerbated when the daughter of the man who hired him is found missing.
The delivery of the narrative is vintage Michael Connelly with the use of mystery/thriller devices giving it a quick pace. In certain scenes, one can’t help but break out in goose pimples as Holloway unravels the mystery surrounding the safe and the man who hired him.
I enjoyed the piece very much. At just over eleven thousand words, there may not be enough meat to the bone for those with appetite for long fiction. But if you like short stories, this may be the book for you.