At 3:29 a.m. on May 22, a telephone rings in Orange Beach, Alabama. Breaking the sleepy silence inside the bedroom of New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews, a hastily whispered message heralds the news for which readers have waited seven years. The old man is back in town. And, apparently, he is also in jail.
Jones is tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding his brief incarceration. When Andy arrives to bail him out, he finds another person sharing his room in the gray-bars hotel: twenty-seven-year-old Keely Higgins, who has two master's degrees, more than a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and a massive hangover.
Andy is shocked to discover that his old friend has already opened an unusual business at The Wharf, the resort town's most high-profile shopping district. Jones' Five & Dime seems to always have exactly what visitors are looking for, including visitors such as Keely, whose fate becomes entwined with that of the old man's.
During the course of the summer, other lost souls cross Jones's path and find just what they are seeking: Oliver Sutherland, a thirteen-year-old loner with flame-red hair and a dark secret he has kept about his father, who died when Oliver was nine. The local pastor, who becomes a frequent morning visitor to The Wharf. And Blair Houston Monroe, a Texan who now fancies herself the grand dame of Ocean Beach society, who lords herself over everything within reach except, of course, for Jones himself.
As the town looks forward to its annual Shrimp Festival, a practical joker is becoming bolder and more inventive with every prank that is pulled. Could Jones have really been behind some of it? And what will happen if he was? What's the truth about the table in the Five & Dime? Where did it originate, who moved the four-hundred-pound table into the store, and what is it about the table that compels certain people to gather around it every morning just to talk?
Is anything as it seems? The answers to these questions will be as satisfying as the reader's journey.