By C. B. on November 17, 2016
As usual, Lonna Enox’s development of her main character, Sorrel Janes, is extremely believable, as are all her characters, major and minor, with flaws and normal human behaviors. The author manages to develop them less with descriptions and more with actions, interactions, and dialogue that lead us to get to know them well. Sorrel and her primary friend Chris Reed, share their thoughts with each other and the reader and these help move the story along. All of the characters, however, including Sorrel herself, Chris Reed, Sorrel’s friends, her editor, and the intern who shares her adventure (or misadventure), are multidimensional and contribute to rather than divert from the story line, enough so that even their behaviors add to the mystery and confusion for both Sorrel and the reader, so that we are all puzzled and frustrated and afraid of what might happen next; this is the perfect position for a reader to be in when reading a mystery.
The New Mexico environment itself exists almost as another character as it influences behaviors and choices by all the characters, even the “bad guys.” Sorrel’s two cats and the stray dog she befriends help present a softer side of Sorrel, too, which both the reader and other characters can relate to. As the title and the book jacket suggest, however, rattle snakes figure prominently in this story, which could, I suppose, deter some potential readers. However, this is taken into account by the author as she includes Sorrel’s healthy wariness of the reptiles, noting she is not particularly fond of them, especially as the mystery unravels while simultaneously becoming instruments of threats toward her. Throughout the story, however, there are detailed reassurances woven into various conversations that put the reader (and Sorrel) at ease, and though their presence is an integral part of the story, their presence is truly not overwhelming but, rather, one more facet to be understood.
Therefore, this book amounts to a well-crafted, well-executed, well-developed mystery with realistic characters, a fascinating locale, and meandering hints that keep the reader constantly questioning, trying to figure things out, and on edge. As a result, the book is extremely difficult to put down and once the reader finishes it, there is hope that more sequels are on the way.