" While I enjoyed the first half of the book or so, as I continued reading, certain issues got under my skin, issues that magnified my dislike of the conclusion. The writing style is very heavy-handed, and after a while that began to irk me. The highly-detailed, long-winded descriptions I could live with, but the long, rambling, emotional inner monologues got to be tiresome, especially when they were from minor characters. There was gratuitous violence, gore, and sexual episodes for shock value, and I couldn't help thinking that the story would have been more chilling and effective if some of the story was pared down. Certainly the mental breakdown of Joan could have been handled with a lighter touch, because it became just too much like something for a television show - too quick and too much, because you only have so much time and you have to be sure your entire audience 'gets it.' The only characters were one-dimensional ones, and again, while I can put up with that for a while (especially for a short work), eventually it's tiresome in a longer novel. Lastly, a few logistical issues to the mystery really bothered me, one especially. This will be an odd sentence, because I'm trying no to give anything away: When you have a
few chapters inside of the head of one of the sane characters who can give a real solid clue to the mystery, and the reader sees all his or her thoughts, and he or she is even thinking about the subject of that clue, it does not make any sense at all that they don't think of the clue. It just doesn't. When I reached one part of the reveal, and it's clear that character had known about this particular puzzle piece, I felt that either there would be another twist, negating the new evidence, or that the author had messed up and forgotten to put the clue earlier. But having finished the book, now I can tell that it's a third, worse alternative. John Saul was trying to milk more suspense out of the story, and to do that he cheated the reader. Even more irksome is that this particular clue would not have ruined the main mystery. Saul clearly wanted every reveal to be at the end, all the real clues to come in a jumble together, to surprise the reader as much as possible. But to do that he sacrificed some believability, something that, in my mind, he really couldn't afford to do. "
— Jennifer, 2/7/2014