Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash
Narrator: JD Jackson
Published by HarperAudio on September 21, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 10 hours, 14 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
I wanted to read When the Ghosts Come Home as soon as I read the blurb. I enjoy police procedurals and it is set in North Carolina plus a father / daughter dynamic. It was not what I expected and heartbreaking.
I liked Sheriff Winston Barnes. He had a level-headed and hard-working way. The crimes were more than usual in his small county. Certainly, everything happened at once with the plane crash, the elections for sheriff that week and his daughter coming home unexpectedly. He did an amazing job with an overloaded plate. He didn’t need the racial tensions rearing their ugly head on top of all of it. Winston and his daughter, Colleen were our main viewpoints into what was happening.
I was on edge throughout worrying about things because it seemed an absolute powder keg ready to blow. Bad things were coming and people would be hurt. I don’t want to say much more as I don’t want to spoil the story. While I was sympathetic to Colleen’s issues, I did not appreciate her selfish choices. If she was a bit more forthcoming, she might have saved others. I was suspicious of a villain early in the process. I was devastated by the whole interaction Winston had with his admin / receptionist.
The happenings will hang with me for a long time. I feel deeply sad. There were some answers and some positive paths forward. But I am left with so many questions. There were aspects where I didn’t feel I got any closure. I found this an intense and thoughtful read.
I appreciated the narrator’s performance. There were distinct voices and regional type accents. I was comfortable listening at my normal 1.5x speed.
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