Campbell Armstrong. Concert of Ghosts (1992) 244 pp.
Publishers description: Harry Tennant has been trying to forget for more than twenty years—to forget the bitter feud with his father, the wild days of the 60s, the years of drugs, protests, sit-ins, happenings, and demonstrations. His memory is murky, his past all but completely lost to him, as he lives on the fringe of society far from Haight-Ashburys radical hippie culture. Suddenly, though, Tennants tenuous existence is threatened by his brutal arrest by local authorities for growing marijuana. Before he can make sense of his new problems, Harry is visited by a young reporter, Alison Seagrove, who is investigating the whereabouts of the subjects of a famous photograph taken in San Francisco in the spring of 1968. Alison is convinced that Harry knows, or can help her find out, the reasons behind the disappearances and mysterious deaths of the people in the photo. When Harrys decades-old paranoia overtakes him, he flees to upstate New York with Alison in order to avoid prosecution and joins her on a trek across the United States to San Francisco, reluctantly trying to remember why this seemingly innocent picture of a bunch of hippies holds political implications on a worldwide scale. The trail of missing persons is riddled with murders, malevolent CIA operatives, and the half-hidden truths behind the pages of history. As the line between the past and the present blurs, Harry and Alison realize that Tennants lost memory holds the key to how his long-standing disagreement with his own father came head to head with events that rocked the turbulent decade of the 60s and defined an era. Back in San Francisco, Harrys inevitable confrontation with his father brings the drama full circle. Tennants old terrors are brought to life as he struggles to reclaim the horrifying memories that were taken from him, memories that explain how the estrangement between father and son once stood in the shadow of the tragedy of a whole nation.
Setting: San Francisco, upstate New York