Friday, February 14, 2020

Book Review: 'Obadiah' by Robert Spearman

Georgia born author Robert Spearman gained his early education in Georgia before moving to China where he attended Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, China. He has lived in both China and Southeast Asia and is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and Thai.

Robert's writing style is immediately accessible and warmly entertaining, a trait that permeates this delightful novel about life now and afterlife and the remnants of the corporal boy as manifest in a ghost form to alter the lives of the still living.

The opening page of Robert’s book sets this style of storytelling and shows the reader how involving and entertaining is the book to follow: ‘Hahira, Georgia, November 1905 - Dead ain’t dead— although my daddy would have argued with you about that. He didn’t believe in the afterlife, heaven or hell, or God and the Devil. Daddy summed up his thoughts on death by this little verse he loved to recite: “There was a dog whose name was Rover, “And when he died, he died all over, “Except his tail, and it rolled over.” Daddy felt this applied to humans and animals. I guess he discovered the truth soon after he drew his last breath. But I’m here to tell you and say it again. Dead, ain’t dead. I should know. My name is Obadiah Sampson. I died today, and yet a part of me still lives on as a ghost.’

From that introduction the story follows as outlined in Robert’s fine synopsis – ‘Set in South Georgia, forty years after the Civil War, Obadiah: A Ghost's Story is the tale of Obadiah Sampson, a carpenter's assistant who dies while helping to build a strange house for one of the town's wealthiest families, the Stanleys. Two angels bar him from entering heaven and enlist him for an undefined mission. He later assumes his task is to protect the Stanleys from their arch rivals, the Leiber family, a clan who will stop at nothing to reclaim a treasure in gold and diamonds. The story deals with death and dying, a ghost and a precocious little girl, helping people as you go along, remembering the folks who left before you, good folks and bad folks, angels and demons, love, addiction, disaster, betrayal, a hidden treasure of diamonds and gold, a pining for heaven and home, and a bucket that pops up everywhere.’

Refreshingly unique and consistently entertaining, Robert Spearman is a welcome addition to the genre of warm-hearted ghost tales! Grady Harp, May 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.