Agree with the comments that this book gets back on track--the last few, following Never Go Back, have been peculiar or worse. One area in which Child excels (beyond gratuitous violence, of course) is his portrayal of physical settings. Here he created a fictional Wyoming environment that is fully palpable--you feel as if you've really been there. (In fact, I HAVE been there: Mule Crossing is actually Tie Siding, Wyoming, where I also went into the flea market to ask directions, just like our Jack. Child's depiction is right-on, other than suggesting a lot more trees and topography than can be found along the actual dirt road extending off to the southwest--you can follow it on Google Earth). In addition, Child viscerally portrays addiction from the addict's perspective. Never really understood how it must feel until reading this. And as a final closure [spoiler]: the image of Arthur Scorpio tumbling inside a clothes dryer turned on high is indelible.