The back copy sold me on this book: new york in the twenties, with a steampunk spin -- and a villain called "the Roman" leaving freshly minted ancient coins on his victims' eyes.
We are introduced to the hero, the vigilante named "the Ghost", as he overcomes a band of hoods who work for the Roman. Shortly thereafter we meet a Gatsby-like character named Gabriel Cross who seemed to be his alter ego, only the author seemed to be trying to make me think he wasn't the Ghost, and then eventually just assumed I did know that he was.
This book feels a little schizophrenic. I don't think it does a good job of being a first novel (ostensibly in a series) about a superhero: it really wants to be the first storyline in a comic book series, or filmed in some sort of capacity. Certainly the cover art is comic art, and I think it actually might succeed a little better in that medium. There is a lot of trite dialogue and description here: it feels more like communicative shorthand to a collaborator, not a novel, and if couched in a beautiful visual medium it might not feel so tired, and overworked. He just tells me everything and it's all very surface, and I don't buy it. For stuff along the same lines but better: I'd read classic pulp writer Robert E. Howard -- this hero reminds me of an updated, lesser version of Solomon Kane.
I just opened it up again because I feel badly that I didn't like it more, but as I leaf through the pages I just find more and more that frustrates me: characters that seem like they're introduced because the author will be using them in subsequent stories and he feels he should introduce them in the first book for some reason, even if they serve no purpose; a love affair that feels hollow -- I actually can't keep looking because it hurts. I like a lot of his ideas but I don't like their execution, and I really don't think I'd pick up another novel by George Mann -- if I saw his name on a movie script or comic book? I might give him another whirl.