When Ghosts Come Home
By: Wiley Cash
Publication Date: 09/21/2021
My Rating: 4 Stars
The eagerly awaited novel from the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home, a tender and haunting story of a father and daughter, crime and forgiveness, race and memory
When the roar of a low-flying plane awakens him in the middle of the night, Sheriff Winston Barnes knows something strange is happening at the nearby airfield on the coast of North Carolina. But nothing can prepare him for what he finds: a large airplane has crash-landed and is now sitting sideways on the runway, and there are no signs of a pilot or cargo. When the body of a local man is discovered—shot dead and lying on the grass near the crash site—Winston begins a murder investigation that will change the course of his life and the fate of the community that he has sworn to protect.
Everyone is a suspect, including the dead man. As rumors and accusations fly, long-simmering racial tensions explode overnight, and Winston, whose own tragic past has followed him like a ghost, must do his duty while facing the painful repercussions of old decisions. Winston also knows that his days as sheriff may be numbered. He’s up for re-election against a corrupt and well-connected challenger, and his deputies are choosing sides. As if these events weren’t troubling enough, he must finally confront his daughter Colleen, who has come home grieving a shattering loss she cannot fully articulate.
As the suspense builds and this compelling mystery unfolds, Wiley Cash delves deep into the hearts of these richly drawn, achingly sympathetic characters to reveal the nobility of an ordinary man struggling amidst terrifying, extraordinary circumstances.
“Writing with clarity and grace, best-selling Cash is a gem of a storyteller, combining the solitary journey of a young mother’s grief and a community’s relentless battle against racial injustice. The result is a tightly crafted whodunit with true depth that readers will simultaneously want to speed through and savor.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Cash creates an exquisitely detailed world that feels real and lived in . . . Although the plot alone is compelling enough to keep readers turning the pages, this is also a quietly moving look at how realistically flawed characters deal with the tragedies life throws at them. A gripping mystery with characters that will linger in readers’ minds long after they turn the last page.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“In When Ghosts Come Home Wiley Cash reveals how family and history and the threads that connect us can contain such mystery. This is a masterful example of storytelling, told by one of the most open-hearted and clear-eyed writers I know."
-- Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
"A treatise on race in America wrapped in a family drama wrapped in a mystery, it brings us a thoughtful examination of a good man's struggle to do right under trying circumstances. Cash puts his whole heart on the page with these flawed, true characters, and the reward is ours."
-- Therese Anne Fowler, author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
"A fascinating, nuanced meditation on life - both the living of it and the taking of it - in the crucible of small town America. Wiley Cash is our guide through this maze of old secrets and fresh hurts. Take his hand, follow his lead and face the truth."
-- S.A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland
“When Ghosts Come Home is a gripping mystery as complex and layered as the characters who inhabit it. Set in 1984, Wiley Cash’s exploration of race, justice, and grief – of the fault lines that rip apart families and communities – could not be more timely.”
-- Lou Berney, author of November Road
"Wiley Cash's latest is an unputdownable knock-out: written in deft, thrilling prose, this book is both a gripping murder mystery and a thoughtful exploration of systemic racism in America. The perfect novel for our present moment."
-- Lauren Wilkinson, author of American Spy
“A brilliant portrait of how we arrived at the present, exploring race, class, greed, and how close we’ve always been to both the dangers that never hid themselves and the dangers we didn’t see coming. This breathtaking story offers insight, heartbreak, and grace in equal measure.”
-- Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections
"Wiley Cash has written a suspenseful, yet heart-tugging novel about community, duty, loss, racial divides, family and love. When Ghosts Come Home is a compassionate and timely gem."
-- De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills
“So beautifully written that you’ll be torn about how fast to read it. This is great, gothic Southern fiction.” -- NPR
“Darkly mesmerizing.” —O Magazine
“This Dark Road to Mercy will stick in readers’ minds, especially Cash’s heroine, feisty, red-haired and freckled Easter, who joins Scout and Kaye Gibbons’ Ellen Foster in the pantheon of Southern kids in literature.” -- Wilmington Star News
“Exciting and suspenseful as well as moving, with a captivating heroine, this is a tremendous book.” -- The Guardian
"Taut, tense, and tender—this novel hits every note. I loved it and devoured it with fury, straight to its blazing end.” -- Lily King, author of Writers and Lovers
About the Author
Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. He’s been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and he teaches fiction writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where he serves as Alumni Author-in-Residence.
His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, will be available September 21. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their daughters.