Ragman’ by J.G. Faherty – Book Review

A Page-Turner that is fast and responsive.

R.L. Stine’s The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb is still one of the greatest Goosebumps stories ever published. The distinctive setting and an evil mummy on loose created a cult classic. Since then, there have been a handful of books in the past that depict Egyptian history through a horror lens however none of them have stood out.

Well, J.G. Faherty’s new novel, Ragman, is here to attempt to break the trend. While the Egyptian Mummy appears as the primary villain/monster in the story the book is more like an action-packed crime thriller that has little hints of horror, instead of a tomb-sprawling blood-sucking horror like that of the Goosebumps book.

The basic premise of Ragman’s film is basic and very early there are definitely echoes of the 1999 film, The Mummy. The story begins in 1882 with a group of British soldiers taking over the remains of an Egyptian temple. After killing the priest and then stealing valuable treasures the priest vows to pay back his victims and plans to take revenge once it is his turn to return to this day.

The priest is determined to take revenge on the children of the soldiers, with the help of an ancient demon, which is actually a terrifying mammal. As the bodies pile up Two detectives Dan and Tom who were former colleagues and plagued by conflicting feelings are forced to join together and find the root of this. With time getting shorter as the amount of dead increasing and increases, they are in a race against time.

The concept of Ragman’s book is great and the book is stylized as a movie. The perspective shifts between several people, such as the resurrected priests, Tom as well as Dan. There are also others whose perspectives we get to see, however, I won’t reveal that here. The chapters are all quite quick and simple to read taking between 10 and 15 minutes at the most. This helps keep the pace up and fast as the book closes with the final 25% or so speeding up and turning into a much more enjoyable page-turner.

Ragman is definitely enjoyable and there’s a good amount of characterization in the show as well. The main trio of characters who are Dan, Tom, and Joanna have plenty of baggage in common and this is quickly unpacked in the middle of the series.

It’s a fairly formulaic piece of drama however it is a great fit in Ragman because the main focus is on the murders, and stopping the evil creature.

With 260 pages the book is a simple, straightforward read. However, sometimes there’s too many “catch-up” police work. The problem with telling the story from an antagonist’s point of view is that we are aware of what’s going on before the characters. It’s somewhat of a regular pattern in the story when Dan and Tom arrive at crime scenes, trying to determine what went wrong… while trying to take on the role of the reader, who is aware of this.

As compared to Se7en in which each crime scene was distinct and you felt it was a story each when you entered the scene, Ragman doesn’t have much in the sense of mystery due to the manner in which it’s written. However, as I mentioned earlier it’s not a breaker, but I can not help but think the novel could have been more engaging and enthralling were those sections removed in entirety.

Despite these complaints, Ragman is an enjoyable reading. It’s more of a thriller rather than a pure horror and certainly not without some issues, but considering that the book is just 300 pages, it’s an ideal way to pass one or two hours.

We would like to thank NetGalley along with Flame Tree Press for the advanced reader’s edition! Ragman can be released on January 1, 2023. The novel is available for pre-order.


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