Davidson is a master of the slow burn. He does an effective job of interspersing Chris's daily life in rural Virginia with the "dark side" of his life, centered on the treasure. We get a thorough introduction to Chris's large and often oddball family, such as his mother taking food to her soon-to-be-ex son-in-law since, as an artist, he couldn't take care of himself. Best of all is the growing romance with Sophia, described with tenderness. The large cast and complex plot will often prove challenging to keep up with for readers who haven't read the first book, but the setting and main characters are always engaging.
As the treasure plot gradually unspools, the book gets darker, with Chris's life becoming more complex and hints that something is very wrong here ramping up the tension. Davidson toys with readers’ expectations, leading us to believe that a seemingly inexplicable death is a tightly held secret, but then jolting us with the truth, all as greed threatens to tear the family apart and Chris comes ever closer to collapse. The resolution is a great surprise and perfectly plotted—a wonderful catharsis that will have readers cheering for Chris.
Takeaway: Sharply plotted thriller of family, treasure, and secrets.
Comparable Titles: K.P. Gresham, Reavis Z. Wortham.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-