Southerners versus the rest of us.
Kinfolk get respect. So do neighbors. But outsiders who pop into Dacus, S.C., are led on wild goose chases, sometimes even murdered. The ghosters, three investigators of paranormal phenomena, are merely sent hither and yon by the tongue-in-cheek townsfolk. Things go less well for Neanna Lyles, come down from Atlanta to reopen the investigation of Wenda Sims’s 1985 death, who ends up dying in an eerily similar manner. So Neanna’s best friend Fran hires lawyer Avery Andrews (Hog Wild, 2007, etc.) to uncover the truth, which wends past good old boys, a granny and a humongous life-insurance policy. In the fullness of time, drugs will be dealt, a square dance will be held at The Pasture and the ghosters will mistake lightning bugs for psychic orbs. The resolution makes about as much sense as those ghostly apparitions; Avery needs more substantial plots to win a wider readership.
Pickens continues to roost a rung below Joan Hess’s small-town eccentrics and Margaret Maron’s Southern charm and tight-knit mysteries. But she may get you through a boring train trip or help when you’re stuck between flights.