Brothers Geo and Wes are testing their relationship now that their parents have passed away. Geo and Wes rarely agree on anything, especially not the sale of the Hobart family home. Geo needs the money to finance his musical career in Italy. For Wes the house represents the memory of their father, and what it means to live an honest, working life.
But then a ghost train appears in Hobart, often on the tram tracks that once existed, along with the Swedish man who has been pursuing it for 40 years. Everyone it seems is chasing their dreams. Or are they running from the truth?
The Signal Line is a warm-hearted, unforgettable novel about what we are all searching for, even when our personal dreams and aspirations have collapsed: love and acceptance.
Debut author Brendan Colley, a Hobart local, won the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Awards’ Unpublished Manuscript Prize for The Signal Line. There is no doubt upon reading this novel, that it is a wonderfully told, unusual, spooky and decidedly Tasmanian story.
Opening with the arrival of a train in Hobart full of passengers who boarded the train in Italy some hours ago, you know that The Signal Line will be an intriguing read. It’s a story about a mysterious ghost train, yet it doesn’t squarely fit into the box of horror or supernatural fiction. The story of brothers Wes and Geo going about their lives and relationships in the wake of the deaths of both their parents is relatable and realistic. They go to Bunnings, and other real locations all over Hobart, making this a read that will appeal to locals and those interested in Tasmanian stories. Colley really nails their somewhat strained yet ultimately loving brotherly relationship. With an intriguing cast of characters determined to uncover the truth behind the ghost train, the mystery of this novel propelled me to the end.
Congratulations to Colley on crafting a debut novel that is wholly its own in style and substance. For anyone who enjoys great Australian reads and ghost stories, The Signal Line is not to be missed.
Acknowledgment of Cultural Fund support
Better Reading acknowledges the support provided by Copyright Agency for us to promote The Signal Line.