cover image When Ghosts Come Home

When Ghosts Come Home

Wiley Cash. Morrow, $28.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-231266-2

The trouble for Sheriff Winston Barnes, the upstanding hero of this leisurely whodunit set in 1984 from bestseller Cash (A Land More Kind than Home), begins when he drives late one night to the tiny Oak Island, N.C., airport, where an airplane has crash landed. On the runway near the plane, which is empty, lies the body of Rodney Bellamy, who’s been shot to death. Rodney went to school with Winston’s estranged daughter, Colleen, and was the son of one of the county’s leading civil rights advocates. An FBI investigation into the mysterious plane, which may have been carrying cocaine, threatens Winston’s image as a capable cop—and his chances in a tough re-election against rich boy Bradley Frye. Racial tensions escalate as Frye’s crew of thugs threaten Rodney’s widow and her 14-year-old brother. Meanwhile, Colleen is in town from Texas to figure out her law career and marriage after the death of her baby. A surfeit of background exposition and multiple tangential story lines slow the momentum of the murder plot. This rich character-driven tale works best as a social portrait of a community and an era. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Sept.)