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Valerie Sayers[Shreve's] style is brisk and engaging, even tantalizing, particularly in the first half of the book. An air of menace yields to a sense of anticipation as Claire seems about to crack open the mystery of her brother's death. She and her family are vividly drawn: Claire, a graduate student of biology, knows all about the natural world but has been curiously sheltered from men. Her father is a professor of medicine, who retreats nightly to a hangar in the back garden where he rebuilds antique planes; her mother, Julia, whose parents fled both Nazi Europe and Pinochet-era Chile, is angry and vibrant.
— The Washington Post