We all have roots – and good, bad, or something in the middle, there’s always something to learn from them. Whether it’s understanding why you are the way you are, or recognizing that history is repeating itself and trying to stop that, or even trying to glean new information that might help you moving forward, it all comes back to where you began. And for Rob, that’s Sundial.
Rob grew up with her sister on Sundial, a ranch where their father and his wife hosted college students that ran experiments designed to influence dogs’ behavior via an implanted chip in their brains. There’s really no good way to transition from that last sentence, so I’ll just say that living isolated on the ranch, home-schooled, and only peripherally interacting with the students, Rob’s experiences inform her views as an adult. And when she starts noticing disturbing behavior from her daughter, Callie, Rob feels it’s necessary to take Callie to Sundial, to teach her about Rob’s upbringing. Oh, and to dig up (literally and figuratively) family secrets that she thought she had left behind.
The cover shown here says Stephen King found the book terrifying. It’s not quite as literally terrifying as it is figuratively. Let’s just say I’m not sure I would reach for this book first, if terror is what I’m looking for. It’s more mystery, some thriller, and a little bizarre. But honestly, I feel like there are other mysteries that are more mysterious, other thrillers more thrilling, and other premises more deliciously bizarre than what is offered here.
This was a slow-burn for me. It took me awhile to get into, and I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Ward’s other book, The Last House on Needless Street. I didn’t feel as invested in the characters in this one. Maybe Ward was too successful in making them unlikeable, so I didn’t care as much about them, which, unfortunately, affected how I felt about the book as well.
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