The portrait of the city slicker’s arrogance and inferiority complex is scarily realistic causing one to want to smack him at the same time as sympathizing. The cruel and accurate reading of his vulnerability by the unsavoury pump attendant as the last person to see the couple before they take a drive into the unremitting Mojave Desert is very well portrayed, as is his wife’s loyalty and support until she finally needs to act.
The couple’s rental car stops, cuts out in the middle of nowhere in the sizzling heat and the wait for someone – just anyone – to rescue them is moisture-sappingly brilliant. It seems to be more of a road to Hell, but at least Purgatory holds out some hope of redemption. They are finally rescued by a wizened desert hermit who takes them to his isolated caravan and promises to take them out of there when he – and they – are ready. When he decides…
That the pump attendant is a psycho serial killer comes as no surprise. He has a cave way out in the desert with chains plugged into the floor where he entertains his blood lust, and the Devil at his elbow to spur him on.
The two tales take awhile to collide, and when they do, all hell breaks loose.
It took me some time to come to terms with the supernatural aspects of the story, but looking back, I would have it no other way. The title is more than apt; and redemption has its price.
ISBN 978-0-8007-2733-8. www.revellbooks.com
ARC from Revell Publishing of the Baker Publishing Group, via Michele Misiak through NetGalley.