The story is based around Juliet who is obsessed about her mission to rescue her sister, Zoe, from Craig and his diverse community in the South West of England. Zoe has fallen under the spell of Craig and is unlikely to be persuaded by anything that Juliet can uncover in her investigative journalism role, or anything that Juliet can tell her.
There is certainly a wide variety of characters in the community, and their backgrounds and interactions are built splendidly all the way through the book. Indded, there are new revelations right up to the conclusion. One struggles to decide which of the charcaters is sane, of any, but this is a deliberate ploy of the author, and it adds a great level of interest to the story, which I really enjoyed.
There are two reasons that this book did not make it to four stars in my eyes.
The first is that it takes so long for the story to wind up to a decent pace. In fact, I would say that it is slow going up to about half way through.
The second is the number of irritating pauses in conversations. Sheila Skillman really overcooks this. "Several moments passed," or variations on that theme, become the author's repetitive and annoying cliche. If I had an electronic copy of the book, I would do a search and count on the word "moment," and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turned out to appear at a frequency of more than one per page.
That thought raises a question that has been on my mind for many years. Just how long a moment is in absolute units of time? So often, I have been asked by a shop assistant or telephone operator to wait "just a moment."
How long do I have to wait?!
Despite this momentary quirk, I really liked the story and found it to be very interesting and captivating. I would certainly recommend it to my friends.