The Ghosts We Know is William Dean’s second mystery/thriller novel. The story is set in a small peaceful town. Sunny Slope, the friendliest neighborhood in Two Rivers, Oregon, is suddenly riddled with sinister occurrences. The town’s teens are acting strangely. When one of them takes his own life and another disappears without a trace, fear grips the close-knit community of Sunny Slope.
War veterans Harry Bolden and Fred Von Stiller take it upon themselves to get to the root of the matter as their trust in the police wanes. They start an investigation of their own but soon realize that they are dealing with something more sinister than they are equipped to handle.
The Ghosts We Know has a very authentic feel as it addresses the important and uncomfortable subject of human trafficking and child porn. The story accurately reflects the horrors of human trafficking. I think it was a smart idea to have two 75-year-old war veterans as the heroes. Even though the two protagonists have high spirits, they have the physical drawbacks of age and that makes them more human and relatable to readers.
Dean provided a very elaborate background to each one and developed them into well-rounded characters. The narrative has different POVs, which provided a better understanding of the characters and gave the story a view from different angles.
The story unravels gradually and does not give away its secrets so easily. It keeps you guessing as you embark on the investigation with Harry and Fred. I would recommend The Ghosts We Know for its authenticity, well-developed characters, and thrilling plot. It is a harrowing read as it reflects on a very disturbing societal truth.