Karin Slaughter does such a good job of tying into the timelines of the previous books in the series, yet a new reader could pick this book up without reading the others and still understand the story line. Also, in opposition with some crime thrillers, the author does a good job of producing a new case in each book while also the fine detailing of each character’s personal lives and what is going on with each of them. This tactic leaves you captivated in the happening of each character almost as much as questioning what will happen next in each case.
This particular book investigates the lives of a very religious family and their “cult like” ongoings at their farm in which they take in vagrants and introduce them to religion while providing them with work and shelter. This all starts when Dr. Sara Linton and Chief Jeffery Tolliver happen upon a young woman in a grave which leads them to a family with many secrets that are yet to be revealed.
The storyline of the book keeps you questioning who has the most to hide and who could possibly be capable of the brutal activities that keep popping up. While investigating the crimes and the members of the Ward family, you also get further insight on one of the series most compelling characters, Lena Adams, a detective in Grant County. You are allowed further appreciation of her ambiguous feelings toward her ongoing abusive boyfriend, and maybe even a glimpse of understanding of her actions.
While I would recommend reading the 4 prior books in the series, a reader could appreciate this book on its own. In my opinion, it is not the most compelling books in the series, it does hold your attention throughout and keeps you guessing until the very end. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone who is up for a somewhat gritty in the details book that takes you down many twists and turns.