Cover image for Ghost dance
Ghost dance
Sullivan, Mark T.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Avon Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
339 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In tiny, remote Lawton, Vermont, a series of grisly murders draws filmmaker Patrick Gallagher and policewoman Andie Nightingale toward each other--and deeper into the horrors of a past century.

Author Notes

Mark Sullivan was born and raised in Medfield, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He earned a BA in English from Hamilton College in 1980. After graduating, he served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps returning to the United States in 1982. He then studied at the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University in Chicago. He began writing fiction at 30 and his first novel, The Fall Line (1994), was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He has co-authored with James Patterson on the novels Private Games, Private Berlin and The Games.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The tiny town of Lawton, Vermont, may seem an unusual setting for a mystery concerned with Native American rituals, but Sullivan makes it work. In fact, he weaves such a compelling tale that readers will not be bothered by details that might seem cliches in other books: handsome, unhappy Patrick Gallagher rents a cabin from beautiful, mysterious Andie Nightingale. When Gallagher finds a body while fishing, a chain of events is set off that results in several more deaths. Adding to the intrigue is a journal written in the 1890s by a Lakota woman, Sarah Many Horses. What Sarah was doing in Lawton, and how her death became a dark, unspoken part of the town's history, is part of the puzzle Gallagher and Nightingale must solve while fighting their own demons--self-pity for him and the bottle for her. Sullivan's swings into Native American mysticism may be a bit much for some readers, but the strength of his prose and the thrill of suspense are big draws here. --Jenny McLarin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like his most recent (and most successful) thriller, The Purification Ceremony, Sullivan's fourth novel unfolds in rural America and features a strong Native American theme. There the resemblance ends, for there's little of Purification's eerie magic in this frustratingly roundabout suspense story tracking the sins of a dead priest in a Vermont town haunted by cross-cultural demons. Patrick Gallagher, a cultural anthropologist and filmmaker from Brooklyn, has come to the isolated Green Mountain community of Lawton to produce a documentary on an obscure parish priest who is being considered for sainthood. Father D'Angelo had healed 14 people during the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic, before dying; his last words: "Pray for me. I am one of the damned!" Gallagher rents a cabin from beautiful recovering alcoholic Andromeda ("Andie") Nightingale, who happens to be a sergeant in the state police, and goes flyfishingÄa means of distraction on the day he's turning 40 and his ex-wife is getting remarried. One "fish" he hooks turns out to be the mutilated corpse of a local dentist. This is the first of a string of murders that all point to a local sociopath calling himself CharunÄa variant of the Greek CharonÄwho leaves notes alluding vaguely to Greek and Roman mythology and the Lawton river. The discovery of the journal of a Sioux woman describing the significant soul-releasing death ritual of the Ghost Dance holds clues to the murders, as does the ancestry of a disturbed former Lawton resident. Gallagher, who begins to have disturbing mystical dreams, aids Andie as she investigatesÄand tries not to fall off the wagonÄand they tentatively embark on a love affair. Sullivan, however, allows little emotional engagement with these characters. Moreover, the plot veers wildly, with the Father D'Angelo documentary element introduced and then quickly abandoned until two-thirds of the way through, when it is hastily and improbably reactivated. The narrative suffers from inflated prose ("Are you afraid now?" the villain "wickedly" asks a damsel in distress), and even solid background on the Ghost Dance lore of the Sioux doesn't save it from hokum. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Sullivan is an investigative journalist whose life took a turn when he published The Purification Ceremony, a thriller that got a few raves. Once again deploying a Native American theme, he introduces readers to documentary filmmaker Patrick Gallagher, who's looking for a little peace in small-town Vermont. Instead, he finds brutal murder that leads to a generations-old mystery and, finally, the Lakota "ghost dance." (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.