Another audiobook for this week’s Throwback Thursday. The Homecoming was released in June 2017 by Brilliance Audio and is performed by Luke Daniels.
Set in California, Alan Russell opens the story with several couples and their children having a Valentine’s Day BBQ at the beach. A ghost story told by the fire, sworn to be true by the teller, fascinates Stella but makes the adults uncomfortable. Introducing Jason’s story lays the groundwork for what was to come.
After such a lovely get together Eleanor and Duncan Pierce had no idea their lives were about to shatter. That night seven year old Stella Pierce disappeared from her bedroom. Stella’s bed didn’t look slept in and nothing was out of place. She had disappeared without a trace.
Her parents closed the door as they left. Even though it was late, Stella didn’t feel sleepy. She listened to the murmur of their voices outside the door.
The stars were bright. They looked so close she almost felt like reaching out to them. She saw something else in the night sky, too. It was lit up, but it didn’t look exactly like a star. Stella climbed out of bed to take a closer look.
After a frenzied local search, her distraught parents contact the police. Detective Orson Cheever, first introduced in Multiple Wounds, heads the investigation which initially leads to convicted paedophile, Guy Wilkerson. He has been stalking Stella and Cheever finds damning evidence, although not enough to convict him. However, he has broken the limitations of his parole and is jailed.
Eleanor never fully recovered from Stella’s disappearance but Duncan channeled his energies into becoming a congressman and their son, Michael, in resisting the constraints placed on him by the now over protective Eleanor in a variety of, sometimes dangerous, ways. Stella’s sudden return seven years later, with special abilities and at a crucial point for Eleanor, causes a sensation, her incredible claims of space Travellers attributed to the trauma she has suffered.
Cheever, however, isn’t swayed by opinions. He just wants to uncover the truth and find out what actually happened to Stella, even though the results of his investigations produce more questions than answers. The case hasn’t been far from his thoughts for seven years and he wasn’t about to give up now.
Excellent writing and characterisations have been my experience while enjoying several of Alan Russell’s books. This was no exception and, needless to say, Luke Daniels’ narration was faultless. It’s a fascinating, different and totally unpredictable story, a suspenseful and compelling tale with mysterious threads woven through the narrative, leaving an open ending; either for the individual to decide or perhaps a sequel. Whichever, I hope we’ll see Orson Cheever in future books.
About the Book
Seven years ago, young Stella Pierce vanished from the face of the earth. Now her grieving, broken family—along with Detective Orson Cheever, who never stopped working her case—is stunned by her mysterious return.
The now-teenage girl claims to have spent her missing years in the company of Travelers—extraterrestrial nomads—voyaging through space.
Despite her family’s effort to keep Stella’s incredible tale secret, the story becomes a national sensation. Most people want to discount her story, saying it’s the result of trauma; only Detective Cheever seems to want the same thing Stella does: the truth.
The enigmatic Stella finds herself in the eye of the storm while vying forces—some visible and some not—swirl around her. Is it her tale that is incredible, or is it Stella? As new questions surrounding the girl gain terrifying urgency, Cheever learns that there is nothing—and no one—he can trust.