While his skill with prose is subject to taste, David Baldacci can't be faulted in his delivery of what his fans want and expect of a page-turner. Add the return of Special Agent John Puller (from Baldacci's previous bestseller list-topper Zero Day) to the mix and there's certainly enough potential for some suspenseful notes, if not a full-on crescendo.
Fresh from his last mission for the US army's Criminal Investigation Division, John Puller is yearning for a spot of much-needed rest and recuperation.
Unfortunately, the old adage "be careful what you wish for" proves painfully true with the untimely death of his aunt in her retirement-age home in Paradise, Florida.
Wracked with guilt over his lack of contact with her, Puller arrives at the sunny seaside tourist getaway to begin his own investigation of the strange incidents described in Aunt Betsy's last letter.
There is rarely an ironic cliché left unused in Paradise, each of them circumscribed by the town's misleading name.
And as Puller and readers eventually discover, the snakes in the grass are nearer than one suspects.