An excellent mystery with lots of suspense. Laurie King writes books like no one else. This book was first-class.
Psychological terror-intelligent, good read-
Well-written suspense novel. Professor with knowledge of religious cults who serves as an FBI agent to infiltrate a suspected community.
Very engaging. University Professor Anne Waverly investigates alternative religious movements ("cults"). Although she has vowed not to take another assignment, she learns of hundreds of children living in the Change Movements compound in Arizona. Now she decides to confront the demons of her past while trying to save the lives of innocent victims in this bizarre and dangerous religious cult.
I picked this up at one of those perpetual book-sale-for-charity tables at my doctor's office for half a buck, and I wouldn't say I overpaid... but almost.
This was my first Laurie King and while overall it was well-presented, it left me feeling a bit empty. First, the good: her ability to paint a picture is amazing. Much of the action takes place in Arizona, and her representation of Sedona, Prescott, Jerome, and their surrounding landscape are spot-on (at least as far as I can recall from my 2008 AZ tour). Her characters are also well drawn, especially (and most importantly) her main protagonist/ antagonists. And the main premise! Who'd've ever thought you could have an alchemy theme in a modern setting? She pulls it off well, not really stretching credibility at all.
The bad: she writes the protagonist as if she's a continuing character. Too often, events from the past are referred to so peripherally, you can only presume they're from another book. Bit by bit these pieces get filled in, but in the end, never completely. At least, not enough for my taste. Lastly, the ultimate showdown seems to be rushed. Whereas in the Arizona branch of Change all her actions appear to be cautious, sensible, and purposeful, her attitude at the branch in England borders on reckless. They lead to a throroughly unsatisfying and disastrous resolution. So unsatisfying, in fact, I had no idea I'd read the last sentence of the book until I turned the page and there was nothing else there.
Overall impression: a decent read for the imagery and characters, but a tad lacking in structure.
I am a new reader of Lauri R king's work but this novel was very well written and the characters developed nicely, i would recommend this book to those interested in cults and how they affect us all.
Laurie R. King is in my opinion the master of women's suspenseful mystery today. This is one of her best. She has the ability to take what is going on in the heroine's mind, twist it into the plot, and tweeze out what might be hiding in your own mind....you'll see....
First book I have tried by this author. Couldn't get with it.
Anne Waverly, a respected University professor who specializes in alternative religious movements, goes undercover again to learn more about a community called Change that has branches in Arizona, England, and Japan. She found it easy to get into the community when a young girl, who looked a lot like her dead daughter and who hadn't been speaking took an interest in her. The young girl spoke to her and even laughed. She learned about her brother Jason and found herself determined to keep these children safe. She was slowly learning the secrets of the Change community in Arizona but not enough to call in her FBI counterpart to take over. Then she, along with the two kids and one other child were sent to the England branch for more advanced training with Jacob. They quickly realized things were not the same at the England branch and she was scared for herself and the kids and decided she needed to contact Glen with the FBI and fast! The problem was, he had no authority in England.
This book was slow moving but held my attention until the end but the ending was very abrupt and left me with a lot of questions.
Did not feel this book was one of her best! Was a little disappointed.
A respected university professor, Anne Waverly has a past known to few. Yeras ago, her own unwitting act cost Anne her husband and daughter. Fewer still know that this history and her academic specialty, alternative religious movements, have made her a brilliant FBI operative.