First Sentence: “Don’t get too near the fire, Stella.”
Seven years ago, a perfect day at the beach became a family’s worst nightmare when young Stella disappears from her home during the night. Now, a teenaged Stella has reappeared with a story of having been taken by a company of Travelers; extraterrestrials who communicated telepathically. Detective Cheever, who has been working the case the whole time, searches for answers while another mysterious group is tracking Stella as well.
Russell’s voice is that of a true storyteller, almost simplistic in tone. But that doesn’t diminish the story we’re being told. He starts off with a classic summer scene and the telling of a ghost story, giving us a true sense of Stella; who she is and what matters to her. But placid quickly turns into panicked.
The portrayal of the family is sensitively handled. The twist is well executed. But then….there are the seeming villains, or are they? One is not quite certain, but we do know their code names for everyone becomes rather confusing. One, however, can’t help but like Det. Cheever and his girlfriend psychiatrist Rachel Stern—“Rachel nodded. “I believe it was Obi-Wan who said, ‘Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view’” “And that’s what makes you so exceptional,” said Cheever. “Any shrink can quote Freud. But how many can quote Yoda?” “It’s not something I typically advertise,” she said.” How nice it is to have a good cop.
The information on desert communities and the Salton Sea denotes an author who has done his research. It’s also a fascinating inclusion. Aside completely from the story, are gems of truth—“Because nothing is constant. Because you have to accept the blessing of those people who are part of your life and who make your life special, just as you have to accept their absence. In the end there is always the hope that you will meet up in some way and at some time in the future.”
“The Homecoming" is a wonderfully unpredictable book. It is a mystery, a fantasy, a love story. It is fascinating if one can let go and just enjoy it.
THE HOMECOMING (Susp/Pol Proc-Stella/Det. Orson Cheever-SoCal-Contemp) – G+
Russell, Alan – Standalone
Thomas & Mercer - June 2017