Nanci LeGarenne of East Hampton, N.Y. has just released her fourth novel. It is titled Scape Ghost, and in my opinion it is her best effort to date. Her three other east end classics, Cheap Fish, along with Refuge and The Bitter End. are great reads. Reading Scape Ghost, is enjoyable. I navigated through her words easily as they created vivid visual thoughts and clarity of story. The pages practically read themselves. My mind heard each word.
Ms. LeGarenne is well known throughout East Hampton and Montauk. She contributes local writings and does book readings at most of the east end bookstores and libraries. She and her husband James (Jim) LeGarenne practically created the east end karaoke scene in the early 2000s. One might guess a lot of her material is based on some of the colorful characters she has come across in Montauk, Springs and East Hampton Village. She says she enjoys a Guinness and is proud of her Irish background.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, she and her husband have lived year-round in East Hampton for well over twenty years. The seeds of this particular novel came while visiting her son, who lives in the San Francisco area.
The novel starts with an escape from the prison Alcatraz in the early 1960s, before it was closed. Then it focuses on one particular character who after the escape must recreate himself. He chooses being a painter and carver of wood. Then the book takes off with a colorful collection of powerful and historical ghost visitors to a secluded cabin where the escapee found refuge. The deceased visitors arrive as ghosts in their human form. Quite frankly, the dialogue and messages the visiting ghosts convey make for brilliant reading.
This is not your average ghost story book, because the ghost characters are more messengers. The salient points each one makes provokes the reader to reflect and rethink events that actually happened. LeGarenne presents the whole idea of personal rebirth and opportunity to change and overcome. Then there is the suspense of whether the escaped convict will ever be caught by some careless act.
Nanci LeGarenne’s choice of characters and their dialogue is why this book is a must read. I, for one, just couldn’t put the book down. The circle of events includes a love story. The rebirth of the main character is powerful. Then there is a reflection on the tragic and historical events of the second half of the 20th century. This all adds up to a great read.
Scape Ghost, as well as LeGarenne’s other novels, are available at Bookhampton and also on Amazon.