cover image The Homecoming

The Homecoming

Carsten Stroud. Knopf, $25 (432p) ISBN 978-0-307-70096-4

A focused story makes for a smoother route to the small Southern town of Niceville in Stroud’s superior sequel to 2012’s convoluted Niceville. Nick Kavanaugh, a former Special Forces soldier now a tough county cop, and his lawyer wife, Kate, have become the guardians of 10-year-old Rainey Teague, a key player in the previous book. On a good day, Rainey is a handful, but he appears to be changing into the epitome of his evil ancestors. The answer to why this is so may lie in the gilt mirror hidden in the Kavanaughs’ closet. Meanwhile, the investigation of an armored-car heist during which four officers were murdered brings more violence to Niceville, including the accidental killing of a mobster and his grandson during a police shootout with an escaped prisoner. Elements such as an ancient ghost story, a nearby sinkhole that Native Americans consider a bad place, homicidal criminals, and the soul of one little boy meld into a rich, realistic supernatural thriller. Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency. (July)