SECOND GLANCE starts off rather clunky with Picoult introducing at least a dozen characters, all with their own viewpoints. It's hard to know who's really important.
The lead character, Ross Wakeman, is a kind of ghost buster with suicidal tendencies. He wants to join his fiancée, Aimie, who had been killed in a car accident that he feels guilty about. He's already tried to kill himself a couple of times.
Newton Redhook, a development company, hires Wakeman to prove there are no ghosts on property it has acquired from an old man named Spencer Pike. Stephen Kingisms abound. Rose petals fall from the sky, the ground freezes in the middle of August, the town drunk wakes one morning with his straight hair turned curly,
and while Ross is videotaping the place, he meets a woman who seems as mortal as he is, until she walks through a gravestone. But it's too late; he's already fallen in love with another dead woman.
Gradually, very gradually, Picoult begins to connect the people she introduced at the beginning of the book and that's when it gets good. You see, Spencer Pike, owner of the haunted land, had a wife who was apparenty murdered along with her baby daughter and she's the woman Ross has fallen for.
Picoult very adroitly uses historical background to make SECOND GLANCE more than just a ghost story. You see, back when he was a young man, Spencer Pike was one of the prime movers of the Eugenics movement, a "voluntary" sterilization project which the Nazis used as a model for their own program. Pike and his fellow scientists believed criminal behavior was inherited and could be eliminated by preventing these people from passing on their genes.
Throw in a 102-year-old Abenaki Indian with multiple identifies and you've got an enthralling summer read.