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When Ghosts Come Home

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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 C 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.


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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 C 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.

30 review for When Ghosts Come Home

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    I’m not a fan of mysteries or crime stories, but I’m a big fan of Wiley Cash. I loved his fabulous story telling in his other three novels, so I had to read this one even though not a genre I typically enjoy. I wasn’t surprised, though, that there is much more here than the murder mystery. As always in Cash’s novels, there is a clear reflection of the time and place. In Oak Island, NC in 1984 there are divisions in the community with respect to race. There’s the racism that rears it’s ugly head I’m not a fan of mysteries or crime stories, but I’m a big fan of Wiley Cash. I loved his fabulous story telling in his other three novels, so I had to read this one even though not a genre I typically enjoy. I wasn’t surprised, though, that there is much more here than the murder mystery. As always in Cash’s novels, there is a clear reflection of the time and place. In Oak Island, NC in 1984 there are divisions in the community with respect to race. There’s the racism that rears it’s ugly head to black residents of the community. A sad commentary and one that is not limited to the time as we continue to see it today. The novel focuses on the challenges of a good man, Sheriff Winston Barnes . He’s facing a challenge to his job by a crooked man who would use the position for his own means. Winston is facing challenges not just to his job, but now there’s an abandoned plane, a dead black man and at the same time worry over his sick wife. To complicate matters his adult daughter leaves her husband and comes home bearing grief and challenges of her own. Some of the most poignant moments in the story are those reflecting the father-daughter relationship when Colleen was growing up. We see these moments from Colleen’s point of view as well as Winston’s. A third perspective is told from the point of view of Jay, the fourteen year old brother in law of the dead man, dealing with the reality of being a young black man face to face with racists, who fly a confederate flag when they drive by to harass his grieving sister. It’s an emotional story. The grief and loss of Winston’s daughter is palatable as is that of the dead man’s widow. The ending was a such gut punch that I was not expecting. Wiley Cash writes beautifully here as in his other novels. My only reservation about the novel was the abrupt ending. I wanted a little more of the story leading up to what we find out in the last few pages. Having said that, Winston Barnes will be one of Wiley Cash’s characters that I will remember for his honesty, his principles, a good man trying to do what’s right. Wiley Cash proves to be once again a writer I’ll follow. I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow/HarperCollins through Edelweiss.

  2. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash, J.D. Jackson (Narrator) From the beginning of this book, I felt sad, and that feeling continued to the end. At least that feeling had me somewhat prepared for the ending but still, I felt the characters deserved more, especially Sheriff Winston Barnes, a good but flawed man, trying to do the right thing. We spend so much time in the head of Winston but also we spend time in the head of his daughter, Colleen. Winston is up for reelection and he's pretty sure he When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash, J.D. Jackson (Narrator) From the beginning of this book, I felt sad, and that feeling continued to the end. At least that feeling had me somewhat prepared for the ending but still, I felt the characters deserved more, especially Sheriff Winston Barnes, a good but flawed man, trying to do the right thing. We spend so much time in the head of Winston but also we spend time in the head of his daughter, Colleen. Winston is up for reelection and he's pretty sure he's going to lose the election to a rich man's son, a corrupt user and racist. Colleen is heartbroken and she's not sure her marriage can survive her heartbreak so she's come home to her mom and dad, feeling a bit like a failure who has to crawl back to the nest. A plane has crashed on the tiny airfield and the body of a man is found near the plane. The plane has been abandoned, it's cargo is gone, and Winston has a major crime on his hands. What happens next can win or lose him the election and the cards are stacked against him as the FBI takes over the case. But, as things become clearer to Winston, he knows he wants to do the right thing more than he wants to keep the job he so badly needs. I loved the story and the characters but I feel let down about the way the story ended. At some point we are no longer in the story but just bystanders being told things that happened. I think it would have hurt more to have stayed in the story but it would have been worth it to be present at the events. Still, there is a sense that no one is ever really not with a loved one, whether we know it or not. Published September 21st 2021 by HarperAudio

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    I have never read Wiley Cash but I will be reading all of his past books now!!! Every time I thought I knew what was going on —something different happened and took the plot in a different direction!! THE ENDING WAS INCREDIBLE! I’ve never read Wiley Cash before but have discovered that he’s a master at Southern fiction. I happened to be in South Carolina as I was writing this review of a novel which takes place in Oak Island, North Carolina. Winston Barnes is the sheriff of this small town. Up for I have never read Wiley Cash but I will be reading all of his past books now!!! Every time I thought I knew what was going on —something different happened and took the plot in a different direction!! THE ENDING WAS INCREDIBLE! I’ve never read Wiley Cash before but have discovered that he’s a master at Southern fiction. I happened to be in South Carolina as I was writing this review of a novel which takes place in Oak Island, North Carolina. Winston Barnes is the sheriff of this small town. Up for reelection in a couple of weeks. There’s a lot of hatred between blacks and the whites who live almost neighbor to neighbor. Since I’m here in South Carolina I can picture the setting so well, the ocean and the intercoastal, the airport and the runway. Winston and his wife are awakened one morning by a rumbling noise that shakes the house, it sounds to them like a plane flying low and possibly crashing at the nearby airport. Winston immediately rushes to the scene only to find one man shot dead. There is an airplane with a broken wheel on one side sitting completely empty, not even a set of fingerprints can be found. Everyone points the finger at a different person or group of persons but none of us really know who’s guilty or what this crime involves. The FBI immediately becomes involved and Winston is not happy having the case taken away from him. The man running for election against sheriff Winston Barnes still hangs onto his Confederate flags and wants this area to be for the elite white population. There are new homes being built very close to a highly Black neighborhood. There are a lot of threatening events in the neighborhood, often late at night with loud noise, rocks being thrown, etc. BUT THE HEART OF THE STORY is Sheriff Winston‘s family; his wife who is ill and his daughter Colleen who had left years ago to attend college and then law school. She ended up marrying another law student while pregnant, before she got to sit for her LSATS. She has come home for reasons I will leave you to discover. This is an extremely close knit family. They love and care about each other. I listened to this book on audio and maybe that made it so special, listening to the voices of all of the different characters. Winston is such a strong moral individual, always trying to do the right thing.Their love for the daughter knows no bounds. This audiobook had me entranced from the very first words I heard and even while I was on vacation I had my earbuds in and my iPhone in my pocket because I couldn’t stop listening IT’S THAT GOOD!!!? There are multiple mysteries to be solved and the characters are thoroughly and wonderfully described, they come to life on these pages!!! I can recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery and great writing!! I received an audiobook of this novel from the publisher and Harper Audio via NetGalley. It was my pleasure to listen to and review this wonderful novel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

    Review posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Simple Brilliance. The night Sheriff Winston Barnes and his wife Marie are awoken by the sound of a plane flying low overhead, both he and his wife get an eerie feeling. Upon investigating the incident, and discovering that the plane crashed down in an airfield nearby, he realizes why. Sheriff Barnes notices that several things have gone awry, most notably, that there is a body of a local citizen dead next to the plane, and that he’s Review posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Simple Brilliance. The night Sheriff Winston Barnes and his wife Marie are awoken by the sound of a plane flying low overhead, both he and his wife get an eerie feeling. Upon investigating the incident, and discovering that the plane crashed down in an airfield nearby, he realizes why. Sheriff Barnes notices that several things have gone awry, most notably, that there is a body of a local citizen dead next to the plane, and that he’s been murdered. As if tensions weren’t high enough, the mayhem that ensues thereafter makes things go from bad to worse, for the residents, the Sheriff, his wife, and his daughter Colleen, visiting from Texas. When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash is a simple, lyrical, multilayered, character-driven novel with heart. It's Southern fiction that grabbed my attention from the get-go and held it throughout. This being my first novel by Wiley Cash, I had no idea what to expect. That said, I admit to going into this novel with very high expectations, all of which were met. Mr. Cash’s novels are now on my backlist and I can’t wait to get started. Thank you to NetGalley, William Morrow and Custom House, and Wiley Cash for the arc. Published on Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Starts with Sheriff Barnes being called out when an airplane, now abandoned, is found along with the body of a young black man. The novelty for me was the setting, which was Oak Island, a show on TV that is now in it's third season. Not that I've watched it but have seen the blurbs. So, that's the mystery but this book is only a mystery as to the who and why. It is more a story about the racial tensions in this town. With flag flying white supremacists, who are trying to drive the blacks living Starts with Sheriff Barnes being called out when an airplane, now abandoned, is found along with the body of a young black man. The novelty for me was the setting, which was Oak Island, a show on TV that is now in it's third season. Not that I've watched it but have seen the blurbs. So, that's the mystery but this book is only a mystery as to the who and why. It is more a story about the racial tensions in this town. With flag flying white supremacists, who are trying to drive the blacks living in the Glades, out of town. It is also multi threaded as it is also a character study and a personal story. The Barnes adult married daughter returns home after suffering a personal grief. All this combines and provides the makings of a good and fast paced story. I have enjoyed this author's books in the past and this was no exception. The ending though, I thought, was rushed, but unexpected and shocking as well. However, thinking about it for a few days, it made sense. I even remember having a few suspicions while reading, wondering how this was a going to conclude. I still though wish it could have ended differently. The narration by JD Johnson was terrific.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    When Ghosts come Home by Wiley Cash is a 2021 William Morrow publication. Sheriff Winston Barnes, and his wife, are awakened by a low-lying plane, prompting Barnes to get dressed and head out to the airport for further investigation. Upon arrival, he discovers the plane has crashed and the lone occupant has been shot to death. Barnes recognized the deceased man-remembering he went school with his daughter, Colleen. The crash stirs up a hornet’s nest of racial tensions, rumors, and accusations. When Ghosts come Home by Wiley Cash is a 2021 William Morrow publication. Sheriff Winston Barnes, and his wife, are awakened by a low-lying plane, prompting Barnes to get dressed and head out to the airport for further investigation. Upon arrival, he discovers the plane has crashed and the lone occupant has been shot to death. Barnes recognized the deceased man-remembering he went school with his daughter, Colleen. The crash stirs up a hornet’s nest of racial tensions, rumors, and accusations. The timing couldn’t be worse for the sheriff as his bid for re-election, already precarious, could fall apart completely. To complicate matters, Colleen, still recovering from a stillborn birth, has come home, and his wife, who is suffering a recurrence of her cancer is dependent on his job's healthcare benefits, making his bid for re-election even more urgent. As the mystery deepens, Winston must contend with his election opponent, discord within his own office, and the racial threats made against the widow of the murdered man… I have only read one other book by this author, but it was good enough to convince me all the praise heaped upon Cash was well-deserved. This novel, however, was not as gripping as I had anticipated. The story moves at a brisk pace, and there’s a lot going on, both on the criminal and political front, but also behind the scenes, with Winston’s wife and daughter. We also learn that the sheriff has a troubled past, and that this case has dredged up some painful memories. While these uncomfortable and emotional topics, create more depth to Winston’s character, and are compelling threads, they do not have a connection to the criminal elements in the story. The underlying web of racism that suddenly floats to the surface, is the most important thread of the story, but it doesn’t get the full exploration it needed or deserved. There was something lacking in this story, along with some pretty big plot concerns that gave the story a lack of cohesiveness and a rushed feel to it. Major hints point to unpleasant future developments- but the conclusion was no less shocking- because of it. I have very mixed feelings about this one. I think this author is very capable of writing higher quality material. Fans will give him the benefit of the doubt, understandably, (I do the same thing sometimes with favored authors), but I hope his next effort is more on par with his previous work. That said, despite not measuring up to his reputation, this book is still on a level with other novels of its caliber and is not a bad way to spend a rainy fall afternoon. 3 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash was a gripping murder mystery with several sub plots that simultaneously presented themselves within the story. It took place in 1984 on Oak Island which was located right off the mainland of North Carolina. Oak Island was a small town where most of its inhabitants knew one another. It was the kind of town where nothing very exciting happened until it did. When Ghosts Come Home was a character driven book with a suspenseful plot. It was well paced and well wri When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash was a gripping murder mystery with several sub plots that simultaneously presented themselves within the story. It took place in 1984 on Oak Island which was located right off the mainland of North Carolina. Oak Island was a small town where most of its inhabitants knew one another. It was the kind of town where nothing very exciting happened until it did. When Ghosts Come Home was a character driven book with a suspenseful plot. It was well paced and well written. This was the first book that I have read by Wiley Cash. I hope to read some of his prior books in the near future and look forward to reading new books of his as he continues to write them. Sheriff Winston Barnes was sound asleep next to his wife Marie when suddenly they were both awakened by a loud noise. At first the sheriff thought he had dreamt it but when he saw that his wife was sitting up next to him he knew it had been real and it was something that he could not ignore. It had sounded like a plane so Winston Barnes quickly headed for the nearby airport. Upon his arrival at the airport parking lot, Winston was surprised to see a lone two door white Datsun with North Carolina plates sitting in the otherwise empty parking lot. After receiving some help in running the plates, Winston discovered that the car belonged to Rodney Edward Bellamy, a former classmate of his daughter Colleen and son of Ed Bellamy, one of the only Black teachers in Brunswick County. Winston then saw the plane. It had been too large to have tried to land at this airport. No wonder it crash landed and now faced sideways on the runway. If that wasn’t bad enough, Winston stumbled upon a body of a Black man stretched out on the grass right beside the runway. There was blood on the man’s chest and it was soon evident that he was not only dead but had been murdered. The murdered man was Rodney Bellamy. There was no sign of a pilot, any cargo, or fingerprints in the plane. This was just what Winston Barnes needed on the eve of his campaign for re-election as sheriff. It had been an upward battle already but unless he could successfully solve this complicated mystery and murder he was doomed. What had the plane been carrying and what happened to it? Who murdered Rodney Bellamy and why was he murdered? When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash was suspenseful yet heartbreaking at times. It depicted the real struggles a good man faced when he chose to do what was right despite the repercussions and pressures others inflicted upon him. Winston Barnes was a man of principles and believed in upholding and following the laws. He believed that all men, despite their race, deserved the same treatment, respect and judgement. The people in his tight knit community did not see things quite the same way. Would Winston Barnes be able to stand his ground and fairly in an unbiased way solve this murder and mystery and keep the respect his position required? The many themes of family history and drama, race, class, justice, being able to separate right from wrong, standing strong for one’s own convictions and beliefs, grief, greed and racism were all explored and played significant roles in this book. I was able to anticipate some of the outcomes in When Ghosts Come Home but I still enjoyed reading it and found the ending satisfying. I highly recommend this book. I was quite lucky to have won a printed copy of When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash in a goodreads give away. Thank you to William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishers for allowing me to read this advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    One of my favorite North Carolina authors. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Quick thoughts: Wiley Cash is one of my very favorite authors. He’s a brilliant storyteller, and When the Ghosts Come Home has great tension and suspense from the very first page. On top of it all, it’s set in North Carolina, in a small community of which I’m familiar. It’s a book about racism, the effects of cancer on a family, as well as addiction and many other timely and important issues, while also have a mystery and suspense at its One of my favorite North Carolina authors. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Quick thoughts: Wiley Cash is one of my very favorite authors. He’s a brilliant storyteller, and When the Ghosts Come Home has great tension and suspense from the very first page. On top of it all, it’s set in North Carolina, in a small community of which I’m familiar. It’s a book about racism, the effects of cancer on a family, as well as addiction and many other timely and important issues, while also have a mystery and suspense at its core. When the Ghosts Come Home is an emotional, immersive, and complex story, and I highly recommend it. I received a gifted copy but also purchased a signed finished copy from my local book festival. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sister Book Reviews

    Hot Dang!!! Wiley Cash is one fantastic storyteller, and I have loved all his books. He has changed things up a bit by adding a crime and mystery with When Ghosts Come Home and delivers us a gem of a tender, compassionate heart-tugging story about family, love, loss, community, duty, justice, and racial divides. What I loved The sense of time and place created in the story A rare hero with 63- year-old Sheriff Winston Barnes who is trying to find out who abandoned a cargo plane at a local airfield Hot Dang!!! Wiley Cash is one fantastic storyteller, and I have loved all his books. He has changed things up a bit by adding a crime and mystery with When Ghosts Come Home and delivers us a gem of a tender, compassionate heart-tugging story about family, love, loss, community, duty, justice, and racial divides. What I loved The sense of time and place created in the story A rare hero with 63- year-old Sheriff Winston Barnes who is trying to find out who abandoned a cargo plane at a local airfield and killed a man whose body is found nearby. Easy to read, compelling, suspenseful story with many layers to it The memorable and shocking ending I am sure no one would see coming and left me questioning whether I like what happened and how it wrapped up or not. I highly recommend it!! I received a copy from the publisher on EW

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars It's 1984 and 63-year-old Winston Barnes is the sheriff of Oak Island, North Carolina, a narrow isle just off the mainland. The region experienced violence and riots during school desegregation, and racial tensions still run high. Thus, when an unscheduled plane lands at Oak Island's tiny airport at 3:00 AM..... ....and Sheriff Barnes finds an empty aircraft with a dead black man nearby, it's a recipe for trouble. Oak Island residents speculate that the aircraft was laden with drugs and 3.5 stars It's 1984 and 63-year-old Winston Barnes is the sheriff of Oak Island, North Carolina, a narrow isle just off the mainland. The region experienced violence and riots during school desegregation, and racial tensions still run high. Thus, when an unscheduled plane lands at Oak Island's tiny airport at 3:00 AM..... ....and Sheriff Barnes finds an empty aircraft with a dead black man nearby, it's a recipe for trouble. Oak Island residents speculate that the aircraft was laden with drugs and the dead man was helping to bring them in. Sheriff Barnes isn't so sure. He knows the deceased man, a 26-year-old husband and father named Rodney Bellamy. Rodney is the son of Ed Bellamy, the only black high school teacher in the area, who - along with Winston - tried to keep peace during school integration. When the sheriff interviews Rodney's wife Janelle, she says her husband went out the night before to buy diapers for their infant, and never returned. The airplane incident adds an additional worry to Sheriff Barnes' already full load. Winston's wife Marie has cancer; his daughter Colleen is mourning the birth of a stillborn baby; and Barnes is in a contest for sheriff against Brad Frye - an arrogant racist with a rich daddy. Barnes' fears he'll lose the election, and with it the health benefits so vital to Marie. When entitled candidate Frye hears about the mystery plane he rushes right over to offer his 'help.' To further Winston's irritation, the chair of the county commission calls in the FBI - which insures Winston won't get credit for discoveries about the aircraft. And all this when the election is just a week away! Sheriff Barnes' job is made even harder by a group of white supremacists...... .....who terrorize Janelle and her 14-year-old brother Jay. Jay's parents sent him to Oak Island because he got into trouble in his home town of Atlanta. The white supremacist incident opens a rift in the sheriff's department, where a deputy and an office manager side with the racists. For his part, the victim's father Ed is furious. He wants to help his daughter-in-law, and isn't about to take flak from white supremacists any more. Ed tells the sheriff - in no uncertain terms - that he won't put up with harassment, and a showdown seems inevitable. Two tangential story lines add interest to the story. In one, Janelle's brother Jay becomes friendly with a white teenager who's a bad influence. In another, Winston's daughter Colleen - who lives in Texas with her husband - can't cope with her baby grief, drinks too much, and returns to Oak Island. This is a character driven novel, with a wide array of protagonists. Unfortunately, some of the characters don't always use good judgement, and the story's ending is not totally satisfying (to me). Nevertheless, this is a good book that would appeal to many readers. Thanks to Netgalley, Wiley Cash, and William Morrow Publishers for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    5 Southern Stars Wiley Cash is a stellar storyteller and he creates memorable characters. This is perfect Southern atmospheric fiction, with a mystery thrown in. This is the fourth book of his that I’ve read, and he is a must-read writer for me. We meet humble Sheriff Winston Barnes in the week before an election that he’s sure he will lose. He’s going to be replaced by a man who has grown up in the area and who is now trying to create a real estate empire. This man is corrupt and a racist, so it 5 Southern Stars Wiley Cash is a stellar storyteller and he creates memorable characters. This is perfect Southern atmospheric fiction, with a mystery thrown in. This is the fourth book of his that I’ve read, and he is a must-read writer for me. We meet humble Sheriff Winston Barnes in the week before an election that he’s sure he will lose. He’s going to be replaced by a man who has grown up in the area and who is now trying to create a real estate empire. This man is corrupt and a racist, so it was hard to realize this good man is going to lose his job to an unworthy successor. Sheriff Barnes and his wife are awakened by the sound of a low flying airplane that kicks off the mystery of the book. Winston discovers an abandoned cargo plane and a dead black man on the runway. No fingerprints are found in the cockpit, but it’s clear some cargo was taken away. There’s so much more than this mystery going on. Winston’s wife is sick, and their adult daughter soon arrives home from Texas after suffering a horrible loss. The presence of the black man on the runway causes racial tension to grow in the town, some associating the murder with drugs. As the story progresses and the mystery grows, Wiley Cash’s writing does an amazing job of placing us on Oak Island, North Carolina in the mid-1980s. As things come to a powerful ending, I experience a sense of relief only to be shaken by the very end of the book. Cash has created a remarkable character in Winston Barnes, and he seemed so real to me! I also enjoyed the perspective of Winston’s daughter Colleen and her recollections of growing up on Oak Island, especially her relationship with her father, and trying to deal with her grief. This one met all my expectations and I would highly recommend it. Thank you to William Morrow/Custom House and NetGalley for the copy to read and review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    4.5 Stars Set in a small town in North Carolina, this story begins early in an October morning of 1984, as Winston Barnes, the local Sheriff, is awakened by the vibrations by a plane passing over their house, and into the trees across the channel of water where the small airport was located. Already sitting up beside him was his wife Maria, who is battling cancer. They both know that planes don’t land in the middle of the night, and the clock shows 3:18 AM, and Winston soon gets up to go investig 4.5 Stars Set in a small town in North Carolina, this story begins early in an October morning of 1984, as Winston Barnes, the local Sheriff, is awakened by the vibrations by a plane passing over their house, and into the trees across the channel of water where the small airport was located. Already sitting up beside him was his wife Maria, who is battling cancer. They both know that planes don’t land in the middle of the night, and the clock shows 3:18 AM, and Winston soon gets up to go investigate. He can’t afford not to go, his chances of being re-elected are questionable, and the election is not that far away. When he arrives he finds the plane sitting sideways at the end of the runway, the cargo doors open. Looking around, he sees in the illumination of a flashlight making its way to him, he sees a body. With the election looming, he knows he needs to find out what had been on the plane, where it went, and who is responsible for the death of the Black man lying on the ground as soon as possible, or the wrong man will be their next sheriff. Confederate flags, threats, breaking windows and various other despicable forms of destruction have grown in the ‘selected’ neighborhoods which are mostly populated by Black families, riding through late at night gleefully terrorizing these neighborhoods. And now, the Sheriff’s daughter, Colleen, has returned home, leaving her husband while he slept, trying to escape the hopes and dreams she’s confronted with daily - the loss of her child. Her mother is struggling with her own health issues, and now the person sent to assist Barnes in solving this case will be staying in their home, as well. Through various points of views, Sheriff Barnes, Colleen, and the brother-in-law, Jay, as well as the wife of the now deceased man, we get to know their stories, and the struggles and sorrows each is dealing with. Bonds form, and for some, a sense of healing, if only the beginning. A glimpse of hope for the future. Wiley Cash always surprises me in the best way in his stories. The obstacles these characters face and the choices they make are realistic, sharing both sides of their natures, the good and the bad. While this has darker moments, it is the quiet grace with which these characters face these moments, and grow from them, that makes this story really shine, offering a beacon of light in the darkness. Pub Date: 21 Sep 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by William Morrow and Custom House #WhenGhostsComeHome #NetGalley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    This was such a fantastic read! Wiley Cash is another one of those authors whose works I’ve had on my TBR for a while but never got around to reading. Despite this being my first book of his, I still went into this one with high expectations, mostly because I’ve heard so much about his works and how great of a storyteller he is — I wanted to see / experience it for myself. Well, I can say with certainty now that I’m so glad I did, as I now have another author to add to my favorites list! Set in This was such a fantastic read! Wiley Cash is another one of those authors whose works I’ve had on my TBR for a while but never got around to reading. Despite this being my first book of his, I still went into this one with high expectations, mostly because I’ve heard so much about his works and how great of a storyteller he is — I wanted to see / experience it for myself. Well, I can say with certainty now that I’m so glad I did, as I now have another author to add to my favorites list! Set in Oak Island, North Carolina, the story follows Sheriff Winston Barnes over the course of 4 days in the fall of 1984, as he investigates a mysterious murder. On the night before Halloween, Winston is jolted awake by what sounded like the crash of an airplane — when he goes out to the airport in the middle of the night to investigate, finds more than he bargained for: next to a huge airplane lying with its tail broken on the runaway, Winston finds the body of a black man who had been shot to death. As the investigation in the subsequent days slowly brings to light the truth of what happened that night, the small island town is forced to reckon with the community’s deeply rooted racial prejudices that get repeatedly stirred up by a Confederate flag-toting local man hellbent on ousting Winston from his job. There were technically three different threads to the narrative — the main one told involving the investigation into the mysterious abandoned plane and an equally mysterious murder, a secondary thread from the perspective of Winston’s daughter Colleen, who returns to her parents’ home bearing insurmountable grief over a devastating loss, and a third thread from the perspective of Jay, a teenaged black boy who is also he brother-in-law of Rodney Bellamy (the man found murdered on the airport runway). Through these three intertwining perspectives, the full picture of what happened eventually emerges. In addition to the fabulous storytelling, the other thing I loved about this book was the realistic depiction of the characters, to the point that I felt like I was reading about real people dealing with real issues. There was also an incredible sense of time and place, which, combined with the well-developed characters and he beautiful, descriptive writing, made this a truly immersive reading experience. This book also hit the mark on an emotional level, as various parts of the story made me simultaneously sad, angry, heartbroken, yet also hopeful, especially during those moments when certain characters stood up to the hatred and bigotry that permeated particular sections of the community. The ending was gut wrenching and unexpected— it actually took me by surprise and made me shed real tears (which doesn’t happen often). As I mentioned earlier, Wiley Cash is now on my list of favorite authors and I am definitely looking forward to exploring his backlist! If you’re looking for a powerful, timely story that has a elements of historical fiction, family saga, murder mystery, exploration of various community and social justice issues, etc., this is a perfect read — one I absolutely recommend! Received ARc from William a Morrow via NetGalley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Cash's story takes place over just a few days during the fall of 1984, and its a doozy. What seems to be a fairly open-and-shut case involving drug smuggling and a murder, turns out to reveal a complex web of corruption and racism that threatens many lives in a small North Carolina town. The novel is filled with rich, life-like characters who care deeply for one another, but struggle with death, disease, potential loss of income, and fear of the future. I'm looking forward to reading more by thi Cash's story takes place over just a few days during the fall of 1984, and its a doozy. What seems to be a fairly open-and-shut case involving drug smuggling and a murder, turns out to reveal a complex web of corruption and racism that threatens many lives in a small North Carolina town. The novel is filled with rich, life-like characters who care deeply for one another, but struggle with death, disease, potential loss of income, and fear of the future. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Too slow and too much rumination and description. The author takes five sentences to say “she took a shower”. Believe me, there was no profound meaning to this shower. And the ending was awful. This is not among my favorite books by this author.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Historical Fiction Mystery. I did not like that it was written in third person because I found it hard to really get to know the characters. The storyline pulled me into it, and I really enjoyed the ride this book took me on, but I have to say I did not love the ending of this book. I love that I know most of the locations that this book talked about. I wish I loved the characters as much as I loved the storyline in this book. There was a lot going on in this book, but I had no trouble This is a Historical Fiction Mystery. I did not like that it was written in third person because I found it hard to really get to know the characters. The storyline pulled me into it, and I really enjoyed the ride this book took me on, but I have to say I did not love the ending of this book. I love that I know most of the locations that this book talked about. I wish I loved the characters as much as I loved the storyline in this book. There was a lot going on in this book, but I had no trouble keeping up with everything going on in this book. I did win a Hard Copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway, but this is my own feelings about this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connie G

    Sheriff Winston Barnes heads to a small airfield on the North Carolina coast after a large plane crash-landed. There is no pilot and no cargo with the plane, but the body of Rodney Bellamy is on the ground with a bullet through his chest. African-American Rodney was the son of a local teacher and civil rights activist. Winston is running for re-election as sheriff in a close race with Bradley Frye, a wealthy redneck and land developer. Bradley and his friends fly the Rebel flag and throw rocks at Sheriff Winston Barnes heads to a small airfield on the North Carolina coast after a large plane crash-landed. There is no pilot and no cargo with the plane, but the body of Rodney Bellamy is on the ground with a bullet through his chest. African-American Rodney was the son of a local teacher and civil rights activist. Winston is running for re-election as sheriff in a close race with Bradley Frye, a wealthy redneck and land developer. Bradley and his friends fly the Rebel flag and throw rocks at the windows in Rodney's widow's house. Jay, Rodney's brother-in-law, is dealing with being a teenager in a new town full of racial prejudice, and is having a hard time staying out of trouble in that atmosphere. Winston is trying to do the right thing in a time of racial tension while everyone's eyes are on him right before the election. Winston's daughter, Colleen, comes back to North Carolina for a surprise visit with her parents. She has recently suffered a late-term miscarriage, and is drinking to numb the emotional pain. She and her husband are grieving, and having difficulty communicating. Colleen looks back at her childhood, giving us another view of her father and the racially divided town, as her honest father investigates the murder. Although this is a crime story, it is a sensitive character-driven story too. The book also paints a portrait of a North Carolina town in 1984. Airplanes transport people--and ghosts--in and out of North Carolina. A twist brings the story to a surprising end.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    Winston Barnes, Sheriff of a Coastal North Carolina town in the 1980s, is investigating a plane crash. The pilot, passengers, and cargo have disappeared, a young black man is dead, and everyone is a suspect. At the same time, racial tension is exploding in the town, and the Sheriff's daughter has left her husband and returned home. To top it all off, the Sheriff is in the middle of running for re-election. This is a mystery told from multiple points of view, but also the story of a town torn apar Winston Barnes, Sheriff of a Coastal North Carolina town in the 1980s, is investigating a plane crash. The pilot, passengers, and cargo have disappeared, a young black man is dead, and everyone is a suspect. At the same time, racial tension is exploding in the town, and the Sheriff's daughter has left her husband and returned home. To top it all off, the Sheriff is in the middle of running for re-election. This is a mystery told from multiple points of view, but also the story of a town torn apart by racism and corruption. Racism is the main theme, but the issue of grief is also explored. The author gives us a look deep into the hearts of the characters, especially Jay, Ed Bellamy, Winston, and Colleen. Not many mysteries can touch the heart, but this one does by baring the souls of the characters so well. It is written with the slow, rhythmical pace of a small town, but will sometimes reach out and slap you in the face with a shock or surprise, just as life sometimes does. Fans of mysteries will enjoy this novel, but anyone who loves a well-developed story with complex characters should give this a read. I received a free copy of this book from William Morrow and Custom House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Mmm, not my favorite Wiley Cash. On the surface, it has all the elements I love about Cash's novels: small towns, small town people, and an atmosphere like a powder keg about to go off. Winston Barnes is up for re-election as sheriff versus Brad Frye, a man carefully connected with local illegal activity. One night a plane crashes into their small municipal airport and Barnes goes out to investigate. He finds the plane completely empty of payload and people - and a black man shot through the che Mmm, not my favorite Wiley Cash. On the surface, it has all the elements I love about Cash's novels: small towns, small town people, and an atmosphere like a powder keg about to go off. Winston Barnes is up for re-election as sheriff versus Brad Frye, a man carefully connected with local illegal activity. One night a plane crashes into their small municipal airport and Barnes goes out to investigate. He finds the plane completely empty of payload and people - and a black man shot through the chest in the adjacent field. Barnes' investigation ignites smoldering racists attitudes and suspicions, giving Frye the opportunity to twist Barnes' handling of the case. Meanwhile, the sheriff's daughter Colleen has been struggling in Texas. Her marriage is on the rocks five months after she delivered their son stillborn. Her husband is dealing with it by working long hours; Colleen feels abandoned when she needs him the most. She returns to her parents' house for a reset, and her father's work on the case revives complex feelings about how her unexpected pregnancy led her to drop out of law school, becoming just a successful attorney's wife. Like I said, it's got all the good ingredients but somehow, this particular story never captured my interest. I listened to the audiobook and the voice narrator was perfect, so no fault there. I dunno, just not my cuppa! Doesn't mean I won't pick up the next Wiley Cash novel as soon as it's out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    Why is this the first book I have read by Wiley Cash? All of his books are based in NC which is where I live and this book especially is based EXACTLY where I live, he talks about Charlotte, Gastonia, Oak Island, Bald Head Island - everywhere I am completely familiar with. This book was AMAZING!! In the middle of the night, an airplane crashes and it wakes up Sheriff Winston and his wife. He, of course, goes to check it out and finds not only did it crash but a man near the crash appeared to hav Why is this the first book I have read by Wiley Cash? All of his books are based in NC which is where I live and this book especially is based EXACTLY where I live, he talks about Charlotte, Gastonia, Oak Island, Bald Head Island - everywhere I am completely familiar with. This book was AMAZING!! In the middle of the night, an airplane crashes and it wakes up Sheriff Winston and his wife. He, of course, goes to check it out and finds not only did it crash but a man near the crash appeared to have been shot. This is based back in the 80’s with a lot of racial issues going on and that is very relevant in this book throughout. This book grabbed me from the very first page and I had to devour it quickly to see how it ended. The ending had a huge twist and who doesn’t love a big twist, especially at the end? I closed the book and said “What the heck?” WOW, just wow. So beautifully written and I just loved all the characters. I must read all of his other books. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Sheriff Winston Barnes has his hands full. An empty, crashed plane.... a dead man who has been shot lying next to it...a wife suffering from cancer...a daughter who has returned home months after losing her baby... and an election for his office of sheriff that he is almost certain to lose. to an avowed racist who is terrifying the local black community. Add to this mess a woman who has become a widow with a brother that has come from Atlanta to live with her after a robbery attempt. He has depu Sheriff Winston Barnes has his hands full. An empty, crashed plane.... a dead man who has been shot lying next to it...a wife suffering from cancer...a daughter who has returned home months after losing her baby... and an election for his office of sheriff that he is almost certain to lose. to an avowed racist who is terrifying the local black community. Add to this mess a woman who has become a widow with a brother that has come from Atlanta to live with her after a robbery attempt. He has deputies working for him whose loyalties are more than questionable...plus an FBI pilot come to repair and demanding to take away the plane that he’s not ready to release. Add all this together and you have all the ingredients for an extremely satisfying read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tooter

    5 Stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Wiley Cash is one amazing story teller and this book is one amazing read. Combine the story telling with fluid writing and finely drawn characters and the result is a book that I could not put down with characters that haunt me long after the last page was turned. As the story begins, we find Winston Barnes, a sheriff in a remote island in rural North Carolina in 1984, being awoken in the dead of night by a low flying plane. Fearing a plane crash, he goes to investigate. What he finds is an aband Wiley Cash is one amazing story teller and this book is one amazing read. Combine the story telling with fluid writing and finely drawn characters and the result is a book that I could not put down with characters that haunt me long after the last page was turned. As the story begins, we find Winston Barnes, a sheriff in a remote island in rural North Carolina in 1984, being awoken in the dead of night by a low flying plane. Fearing a plane crash, he goes to investigate. What he finds is an abandoned cargo plane and a dead local Black man. This is the opening of a story that I thought was going to be a police procedural but instead turned into a character-driven novel involving simmering racial tensions, greedy developers and the grief associated with losing a loved one, be it a baby or a husband. As Sheriff Barnes works to solve the mystery of the abandoned plane and the murdered resident, he must deal with small town politics and the FBI swooping in to assume the responsibility for his cases. Emotions are running high in town as locals suspect the murdered Black man was part of a drug smuggling ring and attack the home of his widow. Barnes' home life is far from ideal either; his daughter, who has just lost a baby and whose marriage is rocky, appears seeking solace in her childhood home. Oh, and Barnes' wife is battling cancer and he's facing an election he will probably lose. Not too much to deal with! This is an all consuming novel packed with emotion, social commentary and loss. The characters are genuine and I found myself rooting for Sheriff Barnes to solve the mysteries all the while consoling his daughter, taking care of his wife and trying to get reelected.! This is a book not to be missed. Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for an advance copy of this book. The publication date is September 21, 2021.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Having read this over a period of three days, I went one longer in deciding the rating. He's a favorite author and the writing is clear, nearly easy read - a full 4 stars. As are the excellent characterizations. But the plotting and the pace? I felt parts didn't quite mesh as a whole. It's a full 3.5 stars, but I can't round it up. There are numerous individuals' backgrounds that progress more like separate short stories. And all revolve around brief and misfit strains of anxiety or grief or voi Having read this over a period of three days, I went one longer in deciding the rating. He's a favorite author and the writing is clear, nearly easy read - a full 4 stars. As are the excellent characterizations. But the plotting and the pace? I felt parts didn't quite mesh as a whole. It's a full 3.5 stars, but I can't round it up. There are numerous individuals' backgrounds that progress more like separate short stories. And all revolve around brief and misfit strains of anxiety or grief or void. I felt a few of these lengthy asides sections pulled too much away from Winston's task and prime inquires. But even more than that I was flabbergasted at his base lacks of deep background verifications. His trustfulness (I know this is not a word) for a law officer that has been standing sheriff? I know this is 1984 but you have protocols on ALL identities of services or aftermath authorities. Much sadder than his others. It just doesn't meld - more fanciful or hopeful toward idealist virtue/idealism, rather than fused and reality of true world outcomes. Not for the social issues or personal outcomes is this a read that holds joy as anything other than some momentary or transitory contentment. Most might rate this a higher rating for the misery or righteous scales alone. Especially the readers who love to cry. I do have to add somewhat later after considering his work on the whole. If you have not read other Wiley Cash, do read them. They are far better and also not filled with either tenuous or stereotyped categories of "good", "bad" etc. Some of his other novels were sublime and did not hold this scattered overlook which tried to be a town who-dun-it under a literary style onus. Very rarely does that work without leaving major juts and holes as it did here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karla Jay

    Wiley Cash’s latest novel, WHEN GHOSTS COME HOME is set in North Carolina. 1984. A large plane crashes plane at the end of the runway in the middle of the night with no one inside and dead body nearby. Winston Barnes hears the noise and goes out in the dark of night to investigate. He’s the local sheriff with loads on his mind as his wife has a major health issue and it feels like he will lose his reelection, leaving them with bills they won’t be able to manage. I nearly binge read this it was s Wiley Cash’s latest novel, WHEN GHOSTS COME HOME is set in North Carolina. 1984. A large plane crashes plane at the end of the runway in the middle of the night with no one inside and dead body nearby. Winston Barnes hears the noise and goes out in the dark of night to investigate. He’s the local sheriff with loads on his mind as his wife has a major health issue and it feels like he will lose his reelection, leaving them with bills they won’t be able to manage. I nearly binge read this it was so well paced and my heart was literally pounding at the end. I love all of Cash’s books but this is now my favorite. Full of racism, family turmoil, deep secrets it’s the sheriff’s ability to see all sides of the story and not jump to the local folks’ ideas as to what has happened that makes us want to follow these characters on this extraordinarily compelling read. I most certainly didn’t want it to end. And what an ending! Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow for the early opportunity to read this great book. Due out in the Fall of 2021. Don’t miss it!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ellery Adams

    There were so many things to like about this book. The characters were its strongest element. I felt like the mystery got a bit lost, however. Perhaps the urgency was lessened by the description of too many mundane actions, like the too-detailed descriptions of ripping off a paper towel and where the paper towel roll was located in the kitchen, etc. They didn't add to the story and weren't really needed. The ending was jarring. Not because of where the author decided to take it, but because of i There were so many things to like about this book. The characters were its strongest element. I felt like the mystery got a bit lost, however. Perhaps the urgency was lessened by the description of too many mundane actions, like the too-detailed descriptions of ripping off a paper towel and where the paper towel roll was located in the kitchen, etc. They didn't add to the story and weren't really needed. The ending was jarring. Not because of where the author decided to take it, but because of its suddenness. Still, I like Mr. Cash's characters well enough to try another title.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash takes place in October of 1984. Winston Barnes is the 63-year-old Brunswick County Sheriff which entails the coastal island of Oak Island, North Carolina. In 1984 North Carolina, Oak Island is a community that is with boundaries created by both race and economics. While trying to balance the complexities of a divided community, Winston is also in the middle of a county sheriff’s election against Brad Frye, a wealthy, disreputable, and racist opponent that many When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash takes place in October of 1984. Winston Barnes is the 63-year-old Brunswick County Sheriff which entails the coastal island of Oak Island, North Carolina. In 1984 North Carolina, Oak Island is a community that is with boundaries created by both race and economics. While trying to balance the complexities of a divided community, Winston is also in the middle of a county sheriff’s election against Brad Frye, a wealthy, disreputable, and racist opponent that many feel is a sure thing to be the next elected sheriff. Winston and Marie, his cancer battling wife, have been awakened in the early morning hours by an undetermined noise, which Winston soon discovers was a large plane making an unauthorized landing at a too-small airport within the island. When Winston arrives at the plane landing site, not only does he discover an empty and damaged plane, but also the corpse of an island resident whose identity belies any reason for him to have been murdered and found dead on the airport tarmac, leaving Winston with more questions than answers. Not long after Winston’s arrival at the airport, other civic leaders arrive, including Brad Frye, and they quickly push the investigation toward being handle by the FBI for their own self-serving reasons. Winston, against a tight election timeline, hopes to discover the reasons why the plane landed where it did, what happened to its cargo, and why there is a murdered local resident on the tarmac. Hampering his investigations are the dangerous provocations of his political opponent in his quest to unseat Winston. When Ghosts Come Home is a multi-layered tale involving a handful of well-developed characters with interesting backstories of their own, and as the title of the novel suggests, each possessing ghosts of their own. Some characters within the novel are not who they seem to be, while other characters exceed what is expected of them in both decent and vile ways. In the novel, Cash carefully tells a tale wrapped in the ills of society which includes racism, lust for power, the economic divisions between the haves and have- nots, along with the turmoil often found within American families. When Ghosts Come Home is a slow burn investigation into what ails society and how the human condition can either hamper or derail the comforts of American lives and families, especially when haunted by personal ghosts. Provided by Netgalley for the promise of a fair review and is set to be published September 21, 2021. This review was originally published at MysteryandSuspense.com.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This one of the best books that I've read in a long time - the writing is exquisite, the characters are real and the setting is perfect. It takes place in 1984 in Oak Island, NC. and not only provides a page turning plot full of suspense and mystery but also a vivid look at the racism and classism that existed in this small community. Winston Barnes has been the long time sheriff of Oak Island. He has a wife with cancer and a daughter living in Texas who has just lost her first baby. The electio This one of the best books that I've read in a long time - the writing is exquisite, the characters are real and the setting is perfect. It takes place in 1984 in Oak Island, NC. and not only provides a page turning plot full of suspense and mystery but also a vivid look at the racism and classism that existed in this small community. Winston Barnes has been the long time sheriff of Oak Island. He has a wife with cancer and a daughter living in Texas who has just lost her first baby. The election for sheriff is a week away and Winston knows that he will be beat by a younger corrupt man who has bought the election with his family money. As the novel begins, a plane flies very low over Winston's house at 3:18 am and woke up he and his wife. When he goes to the small airport to investigate, he finds a large airplane with no cargo and no pilot and the body of a local man on the runway. He opens a murder investigation and everyone is a suspect - even the dead man who is the son of a well known black teacher. As the investigation continues, the racial tensions explode and Winston must deal with a situation that bring up memories of how he reacted in a similar situation years earlier. Along with the murder, Winston has to deal with his beloved daughter showing up at their house with no notice and no indication of why she was there. As the murder investigation continues, the suspense builds to a tragic ending that I didn't see coming. This is a novel that you want to red quickly to find out how it ends but you are also reluctant for it to end because the author's writing makes the characters very real and sympathetic. It's a beautiful look at an ordinary man who has spent his life trying to do the right thing but is now caught up in a case that will prove his worth. I binge read this book - there was some missed sleep but there was no way that I could put it down until the end. The next morning, I re-read parts of the book again and I'm still thinking about the book weeks after I finished it. Book number four by Wiley Cash continues to cement his legacy as a masterful story teller. You don't want to miss this novel! I would give it more than five stars if it was possible and I know that it will be one of my top books of 2021. Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barbara White

    A beautiful, haunting story about family, race, class, prejudice, and small-town conflict set in Oak Island, North Carolina in the mid-eighties. I read slowly to enjoy the setting, the writing, and the subtle rise in tension. But WHEN GHOSTS COME HOME is also a murder mystery, and I wanted to speed through to figure out who crashed the huge, old-fashioned plane that woke the sheriff and his wife in the opening pages. And who shot the young Black father found dead on the runway after he left home A beautiful, haunting story about family, race, class, prejudice, and small-town conflict set in Oak Island, North Carolina in the mid-eighties. I read slowly to enjoy the setting, the writing, and the subtle rise in tension. But WHEN GHOSTS COME HOME is also a murder mystery, and I wanted to speed through to figure out who crashed the huge, old-fashioned plane that woke the sheriff and his wife in the opening pages. And who shot the young Black father found dead on the runway after he left home to buy diapers. The hero, Sheriff Winston Barnes, is an unforgettable, multifaceted character. I especially loved his relationship with his grown daughter, who also has POV chapters. Recovering from a recent tragedy and a failing marriage, she returns home, deeply wounded, but as she regains her inner strength, becomes more and more like her dad. The third point of view belongs to the angry, teen brother-in-law of the dead man, sent from Atlanta to straighten out in his sister's quiet, rural home. But on the island, he confronts real and terrifying danger. Everything reaches explosive levels as Winston tries desperately to do the right thing, and ignore the upcoming election he's slated to lose to his powerful, bigoted, and corrupt opponent. And the ending? Wow. Packed with emotion I'm still processing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Wiley Cash's new book, When Ghosts Come Home , is a brooding and evocative crime novel. It’s late October 1984. The sound of a low-flying plane overhead awakens Sheriff Winston Barnes and his wife at around 4 am. Although he can see no fire or wreckage, he knows that something is not right, so he goes to the nearby airfield to investigate. He’s correct: something isn’t right. He finds a large plane has crash-landed on the runway, but there is no sign of a pilot or any cargo. He does find the bo Wiley Cash's new book, When Ghosts Come Home , is a brooding and evocative crime novel. It’s late October 1984. The sound of a low-flying plane overhead awakens Sheriff Winston Barnes and his wife at around 4 am. Although he can see no fire or wreckage, he knows that something is not right, so he goes to the nearby airfield to investigate. He’s correct: something isn’t right. He finds a large plane has crash-landed on the runway, but there is no sign of a pilot or any cargo. He does find the body of a local man who has been shot dead, and he later finds that the plane has been wiped clean of prints. The investigation into this murder rocks the town, as the man was Black and racial tensions were already out of control. To make matters worse, Winston is up for re-election in less than a week and he faces a formidable and corrupt challenger. There’s no doubt that his every action on this case will determine his future—as if it hasn’t been determined already. As his own past comes to light, he also has to deal with his wife’s terminal illness and the return of his adult daughter, who is struggling to deal with a difficult loss. It’s all weighing on him in ways he never expected. This was a well-told story, one where you know things are going to happen but you don’t know what. The anticipation in this story was powerful and well-teased-out, and there definitely were surprises. It’s a slow pace at times but not noticeably so. Thanks to William Morrow Books for the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

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