The question has to be asked; is Raven losing his edge? He even asks it himself. There he is, in the middle of the final battle with the diabolical William, and he finds he just doesn’t have the jam he used to. Where is the hate? Where is the anger that used to drive him?
I won’t spoil your read by telling you what happens next, but I will say that there is a satisfying and appropriate denouement to his problem and to the novel. Maybe even a happy ending?
The writing of this novel is likewise softer. There is less internal conflict within the team. Old prejudices are dying. The only team member who might provide some good old interpersonal conflict is shuffled off quickly and never heard from again.
The plot is likewise more straightforward. There are fewer of the twists and turns of the earlier books in this series. William is still the incredible nasty he always was, and the horror of his deeds still chills us. But Raven and his friends are no longer afraid of being blindsided by their own people. They are still cautious of authority, but not concerned about the law threatening their personal safety or completely derailing their plans. Freed of that fear, they can concentrate on the main threat: William.
The interesting part of the story is that Ravenscroft, now looking for a kinder, gentler and less lonely life, comes up against the disadvantages of the empathy he develops. His relationship with Adam, the son of the insane Eric, is complex and touching, and provides the deepest character portrayal in the book. It also sets the scene for his final confrontation with William. As usual in a Reppert story, the personal, interpersonal, and external conflicts are tightly woven together. Thus when any one of them gets out of balance, the whole thing begins to unravel, providing great conflict and suspense.
A book for fans of the series to relax and enjoy the characters we have come to know and love, but without the level of sharp interpersonal conflict that some of us appreciate.(4 / 5)