Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Her Substitute: A Masking Novel by Ghostly Writer

If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to accept the idea that a high school student can perfectly impersonate a teacher of the opposite sex, Her Substitute: A Masking Novel is a fun read with a lot of detail and several creative twists.

Ghostly Writer always tells a creative masking story, but this one actually starts out rather simply. I actually thought that the entire thrust of the novel was going to be Darien impersonating Ellen Spiller, and looking to seduce her nephew, Jimmy, in some weird sort of gender-masked, psudeo-incest scenario. That would have been entirely fine - it makes for a solid story foundation - but I was pleased to see the twists start rolling in about halfway through. First Darien extends his seduction efforts to another student, and then he duplicates his masking efforts with . . . well, I will let you discover that twist for yourself.

As he has done so well in the past, Ghostly Writer captures the female masking element perfectly, going into extensive detail regarding his deeply Darien has studied his prey, and describing every aspect of the transformation. As far-fetched as the scenario seems at first glance, he really makes you believe that it might be plausible, if not necessarily possible. The dialogue is one of the strongest elements of the story, particularly the way Darien switches voices and speech patterns mid-conversation, seamlessly moving from adult woman to teenage boy and back again. It is a story that could easily get confusing, but Ghostly Writer maintains control throughout.

The only drawback to the story for me - and this is wholly a personal pet-peeve - was the amount of detail invested in Darien's smoking fetish. As much as I understood that it was part of the Ellen impersonation, the degree to which its repeatedly explored was just too much for my taste.


  1. Sally, thank you for another lovely review. Glad you enjoyed Her Substitute!

    Wanted to mention the smoking thing. :)

    It was actually inherited from the original story, The Substitute, by Victor G. While not speaking for Vic here, the smoking was quite detailed in the original. I just chose to replicate the level of detail. Also, for me, it's an important part of Darien's disguise - a critical part of Ellen's character. I think it delineates the change between boy to woman quite well; it's definitely more of an 'adult habit'.

    That said, I can totally get where you're coming from. I've never smoked in my life and I really don't like it either, so it was actually a challenge to write. :)

    Who knows, maybe I'll find that corner of the internet where smoking fetishists and crossdressing fans converge. ;)

    1. Oh, I trust your judgement! It did fit the character, and I knew it was a key element of the impersonation, it's just one of those gross-out things for me. I can read/watch some of the darkest, strangest, most violent stuff. Torture, dismemberment, and exploding heads don't phase me, but smoking (and vomiting) will turn my stomach every time. We all have our triggers. :)