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September 24, 2021

When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


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.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

When Ghosts Come Home
September 2021; William Morrow; 978-0062312662
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); southern fiction

When Ghosts Come Home
 is 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 beaten 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 him 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 brings 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 read 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 storyteller.  

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.

Buy When Ghosts Come Home at Amazon

Other books by Wiley Cash:

The Last Ballad read my review
This Dark Road to Mercy read my review
A Land More Kind than Home  


Defi22, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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