When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash
It’s Fall of 1983 and Winston Barnes, the 63-year-old Sheriff of Oak Island, North Carolina is awakened one night by the sound of a low flying airplane. When he investigates, Barnes is surprised to find a huge, abandoned cargo plane crash-landed on the local airport’s small runway. He is further surprised to discover the body of a local young Black man, a new dad whose wife says just ran out for diapers, shot dead nearby.
As Barnes begins his investigation, he believes he is mere days away of being voted out of office. His opponent, Brad Frye, a land developer and “good old boy” is delighted when the FBI roll onto the scene to put doubt in the public’s mind that Barnes is still a capable sheriff. Frye is also more than happy to stir up local suspicion that the murdered Black man was part of a drug smuggling ring. Action culminates when the locals begin to threaten and attack the home of the new widow, and Barnes must choose between being popular and doing what is right.
If you are in the mood for simmering, southern atmospheric fiction, with a bit of mystery, pick up When Ghosts Come Home and prepare to be absorbed by this quiet but compelling, character-driven novel that explores themes of grief, greed and racism.