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Brad Rau on “The Ghost, Josephine”

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What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The Ghost, Josephine was published on July 31st, 2015

What’s the book’s first line?

“Tonight is warmer than the past week’s worth; the sky’s clouded over.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

With a dash of noir flair, a little paranormal suspense, some comedy and heartbreak, The Ghost, Josephine is a literary adventure driven by character and setting—full of twists and turns and craziness.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

I always try to do something different; though this is my first published novel, it developed out of a response to the projects that preceded it. I was thinking about themes, character traits and plotting habits that I tend to lean on and I realized that I frequently write apathetic protagonists who are driven by circumstance, rather than characters who’s actions instigate the plot. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun and interesting to have a ‘jerk’ for a main character, someone who is insensitive, self-centered, blunt, pushy, but full of action and attitude. The character who evolved from that was Barry Cook, and the more time I spent with him the more I came to see him, not just as an a-hole—which he most certainly is—but as a lovable, pitiable a-hole who has seen a lot of pain and hardship. In the end, I think readers will feel that way about him, too. Though he does some pretty lowly stuff and has a lot of serious flaws I think, by the novel’s end, we’re all rooting for him.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Hey, it’s not for everyone. No novel is. But if you like Jonathan Lethem, Charles Portis or Chuck Palahniuk, if you’re receptive to dark comedy and you like a lean novel that’s chock-full of quirky characters and weird situations, you’ll probably like this one. Is it a little grim? Yeah, it is. Are some of the characters undesirable? Most certainly, they are. Is it an energetic, faced-paced read that’ll keep you guessing until the end and make you empathize with characters who are far from perfect? I think so. Check out the reviews on for some different perspectives or read a big, free excerpt on my website Maybe you’ll find that The Ghost, Josephine is suited to your tastes.