When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash, JD Jackson (Narrator)

Published September 21st 2021 by HarperAudio, William Morrow

About the Book: 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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4.5 Stars:

It’s 1984 and 63-year-old Winston Barnes is the sheriff of Oak Island, North Carolina. It is a pretty quiet place although there were riots during school desegregation and there is still a lot of racial tension. When a large airplane crash-lands and there is no pilot or cargo, it is immediately assumed it is drugs. When the body of a local man is found on the ground near the crash, a black man, Winston begins a murder investigation that will change the course of his life and the fate of his community. With an election coming up and his opponent being a racist who is inciting others against the black community, there are bound to be clashes. Along with all this, his wife is ill and his daughter has come back home to deal with an enormous loss.

From the blurb, we know this book “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.” This is a perfect description of Winston. He is a very noble character and I felt for all he was dealing with. He was torn but did not give up his morals and continued to do what was right even though it could end up costing him everything. Brad Frye was everything I have come to dislike. He is arrogant (spoiled rich boy), selfish, bigoted and full of hatred. He is also Winston’s opponent in the race for Sheriff. This makes for a town divided. When the FBI show up due to the possible drug connection, he is juggling even more. This is a character driven, atmospheric novel. It is about a good man and the challenges he faces. It is about a town divided. There are several POVs in this book. We have Winston’s, Colleen’s which shares her life and relationship with her father in flashbacks and Rodney’s (the dead man) young brother-in-law who is growing up as a black man living with racism and white supremacy. A book that is emotional and had an ending that took me by surprise, but was fitting for this story. This is southern fiction at its best. JD Jackson was the perfect narrator for this book. He gave this book heart, and had me connecting with the characters easily. I loved his voice and definitely recommend this audiobook to lovers of Southern Fiction. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.