Pat Barker is a very gifted writer. She writes about her characters like she has known them all her life and her portraits of them are intimate and complex. All her books have a smattering of damaged and/or twisted characters. She can create these characters without even a hint of a false note. They are not the rabidly violent killers than seem to inhabit most thrillers. Rather, they are people who have a more pronounced dark side than the average person (a point she does not fail to emphasise by exploring the dark sides of the more 'normal' characters in her stories).
This book is another in a series of exceptional books she has produced. A fantastic read from start to finish with more than it's share of surprises, right to the very end.