The book centres on Beck a hotshot corporate lawyer who moves with his children from Chicago to a small town in Texas after the death of his wife. The book is superficially a detective novel and description of Beck’s return and settlement to the town he left as a teenager vowing never to return to. On a deeper level it is a political novel about the machinations of small town life.
I’ve read novels before that show the perfect small town, only then to start throwing up all of the nasty secrets, intrigues and deceptions that sit under the surface. (Stephen King often does this well). But this was different. Although the town seems like the perfect down-home, slice-of-apple-pie, 4th-of-July-parade town, right from the outset Jimenez describes the support Bush stickers, teenage girls dressed as if they’re at "a hookers convention", the contempt for outsiders and the lack of coloured faces.
What I felt this book was really about was the prejudices and dreams of Middle America, and the costs of these. This book most reminded me of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, but brought bang up-to-date with references to Katrina kids, ICE raids on illegal immigrants and modern teenage life.