Everyone can jump down my throat, but I did not think French's sixth novel was as good as the first five.
Two things to keep in mind: anything she writes is about one million times better than any cookie cutter mystery, and I would never drop her from my reading list (far, far from it). But those first five? They have stayed with me, and when I say that, I mean that the feel of them is never far from me. Those spooky, spooky woods; inhabiting someone else's oh-so-odd skin; that close-knit and horribly-knit family; ghostly undertakings on a school's campus; and last but not least (actually the 4th novel), those holes in the walls (and I'd far rather shout that: THOSE HOLES). Every single one of those novels twisted reality, but not so much that the novels don't live in this world. They just inhabit victim's and perpetrator's mentally challenged worlds.
On the other hand, this one was by the book. Not in terms of how it was told - that is still a psychological masterwork - but in terms of the lack of a compelling reveal. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely a reveal. But it's a reveal that doesn't live in a twisted reality, so it doesn't send shivers up and down your spine. On top of that, the ending is decidedly grim but also contains hope, which is usually in short supply at the end of her novels. I have ideas for why French has done this, and I think it stems from a tiny bit of pandering. Pandering to political correctness, to clarify. I could be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but it left an odd taste in my mouth.