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Publisher's Summary

Caroline Overington's stunning fiction debut is a multi-voiced novel centred around a child's death and its terrible repercussions.

In 1982 Victorian police were called to a home on a housing estate an hour west of Melbourne. There, they found a five-year-old boy lying still and silent on the carpet. There were no obvious signs of trauma, but the child, Jacob, died the next day.

The story made the headlines, and hundreds attended the funeral. Few people were surprised when the boy's mother and her boyfriend went to prison for the crime. Police declared themselves satisfied with the result, saying there was no doubt that justice had been done.

And yet, for years rumours swept the estate and clung like cobwebs to the long-vacant house: there had been a cover-up. The real perpetrator, at least according to local gossip, was the boy's six-year-old sister, Lauren....

Twenty years on, Lauren has created a new life for herself, but details of Jacob's death begin to resurface and the story again makes the newspapers. As Lauren struggles with the ghosts of her childhood, it seems only a matter of time before the past catches up with her.

©2010 Caroline Overington (P)2021 Audible Australia Pty Ltd.

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What listeners say about Ghost Child

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic.

Of all of her stories, this is my favourite. Totally enjoyed the narration by Zindzi and Tai.

8 people found this helpful

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Couldn't wait to finish it, but so sad it ended.

Such a sad story, but with heart filled love. The cast reading it were on point.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A few laughs, some honest dialogue and a sad story

This was a good book to listen to. The interviews with various people and perspectives kept me engaged and focused on the story. It had some very honest dialogue which felt like a real reflection of some Australian slang and attitudes, some of them quite negative but undoubtedly the reality for some. The story itself was quite moving but it ended a little abruptly for my liking.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Weird at times, but over all a great book!

Caroline Overington is an award winning investigative journalist, and that history really shows in this book.

Ghost Child explores the aftermath of a horrific tragedy shrouded in mystery, and the different perspectives and life paths of those affected. Although it is fiction, it is painfully realistic, at times reading more like an exposé than a crime fiction.

The story itself is told from the perspectives of multiple characters, including a detective, a journalist, and children ageing through the foster care system. As such the political comments are varied and occasionally distasteful. I found it unclear at times whether I was meant to dislike a character, or if the author was actually expressing some pretty gross views. For example, the was a moment where the narrator comments on postpartum bodies in a weird way, and positions white people in Australia as ‘the Australians’ while all other groups are specified as ‘aboriginal’ or by ethnicity.

All in all, while there a few odd things, the story itself is very interesting and the writing style is engaging. The voicing by Tai Hara and Zindzi Okenyo was excellent!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Beautifully written in the saddest possible way. The violence at the end was difficult to listen to, but integral to the story.
Narration was excellent except one of the accents. It was a small portion tho, so didn't detract from overall book.
Def recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent listening

Thoroughly engrossed in this story. Could not tell where it was going and the narration was absolutely excellent. A riveting listen!

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing! Had me hooked till the very end!

Sad, heart breaking and contagious all at the same time. Stayed awake till 3am most mornings listening to this.

1 person found this helpful

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A Very Sad Book.

I found this book very sad. It makes you aware of the circumstances that some young children go through in life & why they turn out trouble teens & adults.
The narrators did an amazing job.

1 person found this helpful

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Ghost child


Loved this novel set in Melb Australia it was sad, but beautiful loved the fact you were able to know intimately the main characters and their individual stories.

1 person found this helpful

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Both heartbreaking and heartwarming

This story was so well told it felt like it could have been true.
Having the events told from each persons perspective was brilliant. I loved the Australian accents and genuine Aussi slang.

1 person found this helpful

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  • William Zoller
  • 18-12-2021

relìgion

I could not stand all of the preaching and religion so I stopped
reading. would not recommend

31 people found this helpful

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  • Hepcat89
  • 12-12-2021

Very Nicely Done

When I started this book I felt deep sorrow.

My sister worked with children like this and it was heartbreaking.

The plot follows a journey of the soul and it was done terrifically.

The characters are believable and seem real.

The narrators were wonderful!

28 people found this helpful

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  • MelissaMae
  • 15-12-2021

Could be triggering

This is an excellent book. Well read, well written with so much emotion and just enough detail to bring you in. This could be a book that is triggering to those that have endured any of the abusive behaviors and the resulting behaviors of this abuse.

21 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara Williford
  • 18-12-2021

Not so Stunning Fiction Debut

The story is centered around the death of a five year old boy and what eventually happens to his parents and siblings. There is supposed to be this great mystery surrounding his death with hidden secrets. Let’s just say it’s not that climatic and the ending is a bit rushed to have spent the drudgery of all the “testimonies.”

It is written from a reporting aspect where people involved in the case give their version or testimony. Then the big truth is revealed. The only thing I appreciate with this book is that it was free.

Trigger warning: sexual content and domestic violence.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Eileen F. Cornacchia
  • 15-12-2021

Free?

I would have paid good money for this book. One of the best novels I’ve read in a long time.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-12-2021

Good not great

The chapters are really long and feel like they drone on. There is a lot of detail in the beginning to set up for a big reveal that felt lackluster. Also a good story description if you are interested in hearing the ins and outs of foster care. A good listen for being free but not something I would highly recommend.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica Chi Rieper
  • 15-12-2021

I COULDN’T STOP UNTIL I FINISHED!!!

At first I didn’t understand the excessive detail about each child within the story. In fact, I thought it went into more detail than needed. As the book went on, I understood why and I simply could not get enough details soaked in. Highly recommended. The narration is perfect, the story is perfect.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Niki Ayres
  • 15-12-2021

Good Listen!

Loved the performance. The story was good, but I had a feeling from the start that I already knew the ending.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Langston
  • 16-12-2021

Could easily be non-fiction

Caroline Overington, the author, masterfully weaves together this fictional account of a terrible family tragedy and its long-term impact on the children. A heartbreaking story that brings to light the many flaws in our system of taking care of children who are suddenly flung into foster care.

This is my first experience with this author's work, but it will not be my last. She creates an experience that any avid reader eagerly searches for but rarely finds.

This is a fantastic read for all. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Molly
  • 15-12-2021

Heard it

Numerous parts of this story seemed unrelated and disjointed from the original plot. Lauren's affair with the doctor had nothing to do with the death of her brother. Why was it even included? I felt the affair was just filling up pages of words because the author didn't know how to either develop the story or didn't know how to end it. It started off promising and fizzled out flat.



6 people found this helpful

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  • papapownall
  • 09-12-2021

Fiction in the style of true crime

This is the harrowing story of an Australian family told over twenty years told in first person narrative by those involved including police, social workers, doctors, foster carers and the family themselves. It is written in the style of a true crime investigation which makes the testaments seem all that more real than usual crime fiction and although this would have been even better with a wider pool of narrators (is it done with one female and one male voice actor covering all the parts) this still worked and I found this book gripping and compelling.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-2021

Review

I found this audiobook to be excellent. The story is unusual and perfectly narrated. A must listen to!

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bradfordiansteph
  • 12-12-2021

Different and brilliant

Really enjoyed this. I loved the 'real' feel of it. Not often that I wish a book was longer but I wish there'd been more from all the characters at the end.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sue winstanley
  • 12-01-2022

The blurb doesn't do this book justice. I

What a page turner and such an interesting concept.

It kept me gripped to the very end and I loved the different perspectives of all involved.

it's so much more than an who dunnit, it's a deeply moving insight into child abuse and the ripples and repurcushions that follow from everyone involveds perspectives....

Not my usual read, but can't recommend highly enough.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mrs c devaney
  • 08-01-2022

heartbreaking but a fabulous read

never listened to any Caroline Overington books before. wish I had. so we'll written and loved the narrators. downloaded my 2nd book to start right away.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • granny biker
  • 03-01-2022

Very wordy

I had to skip the last 4 chapters of this because it was too wordy. It went all around houses just to tell a story that could have been told in 2 hours.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Kosyl
  • 21-12-2021

Average

It's an OK book, decent performance etc, nothing amazing or original, I didn't dislike it, but wouldn't rave about it

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-01-2022

what a unique listen

this was so different and absolutely wonderful I could not stop listening to it the way it was narrated like interviews it was just so so good highly recommend this

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Miss Morwenna Ablott
  • 23-01-2022

Very different

I’ve never read/listening to a book like this before. I’ve just finished and totally sobbing.
A real eye opener to the care system back in the 80s and to how some children live.

Brilliantly written and performed.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • chezmonster
  • 23-01-2022

A good listen

I enjoyed this book, it was well narrated. The out come was a little obvious but it was a good story and interesting to hear how each character was effected by the situation.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.