Any book that keeps me up past my bedtime is worth more than its weight in salt. (Gold, salt, you choose.) Way past my bedtime. I couldn't stop reading, as the twists and turns kept coming, and I kept wondering what would happen next.
It wasn't perfect: I think French telegraphs her main "bad guy" pretty strongly. I believe that if you're a woman reading this book, that may be more obvious than if you're a guy, but that's simply a guess based on my strong reaction to the character. I also had a strong dislike to our main protagonist, again maybe because I'm a woman reading this book. At the same time, I found it astonishing that French could inhabit and personalize the experience of the main detective, who is a man, in a genuine and revealing manner. I may not have enjoyed his idiocies (and his constant need to explain how idiotic he was a certain junctures), but he felt like a real person, and that's not easy to achieve.
Mostly, though, I was truly heartbroken at the end. Because, surprisingly, the book isn't about archaeological digs and the reasons to keep them pristine, or the beauty and mystery of woods that we should protect and save for future generations, or politics just sucks all around, no? It's about our main characters, as it should be. And I will certainly be getting the next one of the series out of the library, but will hearing it in Cassie's voice break my heart even further?