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From the New York Times bestselling author of Prayers the Devil Answers and The Ballad of Tom Dooley, a “fascinating historical fiction novel you won’t be able to put down” (Bustle) based on one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost.

Lakin, West Virginia, 1930: Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P.D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Testing a new talking cure for insanity, Boozer encourages his elderly patient to share his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in 19th-century West Virginia. His memorable case: defending a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride—a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost.

Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897: Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Zona marries the handsome Erasmus Trout Shue, Greenbrier’s newest resident and blacksmith. Her mother learns of her daughter’s death weeks later. A month after the funeral, Zona’s mother makes a chilling claim to the county prosecutor: her daughter was murdered, and she was told this by none other than Zona’s ghost...

With her unique and “real knack for crafting full-bodied characters and using folklore to construct compelling plots” (Booklist), Sharyn McCrumb effortlessly demonstrates her place among the finest Southern writers at work today.

Photograph by David McCrumb

Sharyn McCrumb is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Ballad novels. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Southern Literature, the AWA Book of the Year, and Notable Books in both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. She was also named a Virginia Woman of History for Achievement in Literature. She lives and writes in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, fewer than one hundred miles from where her family settled in 1790.

“Like every true storyteller, she has the Sight.” —The New York Times Book Review

"Woven with legend and carefully handcrafted as only McCrumb can accomplish." —Sherri Brake, author of The Haunted History of the West Virginia Penitentiary

“A chilly retelling of an Appalachian legend finely resurrected under McCrumb’s pen.” —Mountain Times

“McCrumb has a distinctive gift for creating fascinating, complex characters in her novels, as well as remarkable skill for illustrating the mountain folklore of Southern Appalachia.”

– News Tribune

More books from this author: Sharyn McCrumb