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Publisher's Summary

An Amazon Best Book of 2021

I loved it and devoured it with fury, straight to its blazing end.” (Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers)

The eagerly awaited novel from the New York Times best-selling 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. 

©2021 Wiley Cash (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about When Ghosts Come Home

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stick with it

The story bogs down in a few places, but just when I was ready to give it up, I was catapulted into an amazing resolution. I love Wiley Cash's writing and this is the second book that I listened to by this author. I recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sad, sad story

As you would guess from the title, this is a sad book. Taking place in 1984, eastern North Carolina, it tracks a small town Sheriff as he investigates a plane crash and the maybe related death of a young black man. As you would expect, there are a lot of racial tensions simmering. There are three POVs that alternate progressing the story.
Winston Barnes is running for re-election. His opponent is looking at the position as a means to an end. He’s also dealing with his wife’s cancer.
Second, we hear from his daughter, Colleen. She’s recently suffered a stillborn birth and has left her husband and returned home. And finally, there’s Jay. He’s the fourteen years old younger brother-in-law of the dead man.
I found the book took too long to really get going. This is another book where a better editing job could have really tightened it up and kept it moving at a better pace. Cash’s strength is his ability to put you in the time and place. The characters were well developed, but at times I felt like I was given almost too much of their backstories. The book didn’t grab me until one heartbreaking scene when Winston realizes someone he thought he knew was prejudiced. It’s a scene that resonated with me, having lived through something similar.
This book went places I never expected, especially the ending. Now, there was one place where a little more Information would have been helpful.
JD Jackson did a good job with the narration.

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I would not recommend this book

This is not Cash’s usually good work. The plot was mundane and the characters, weak. I hope this doesn’t mean that his stories have all been told!