The narrative unravels through multiple viewpoints that encompass both central and periphery figures. This is an effective tool for rich character development and the escalation of tensions, as even bit players are given their due before meeting their (potential) demise. The author excels at inhabiting the gray areas that exist between good and bad, right and wrong; consequently, ethical and moral dilemmas abound, the complexities of which underscore political power in and around the aptly named Purgatory Bay ... an eerie, evocative thriller that succeeds as both a standalone and a continuation story. Gruley combines the instincts of a journalist with the intuition of a novelist, skillfully contrasting the timeliness of technological advancements with the time-tested provocations for murder and martyrdom. This one is hard to put down—and even harder to forget.
Even by Gruley’s irrepressible standards, Purgatory Bay is pretty loopy—a monster movie dressed up as crime fiction ... Purgatory Bay is more calculating than emotionally driven. The plot design tends to outrace and in some cases shortchange the characters. But any thriller in which the villain is motivated by the writings of Flannery O’Connor is not to be dismissed. And Purgatory Bay plugs neatly into the history of bureaucratic corruption, land schemes, dysfunctional families and grudge matches Gruley has sketched out in previous efforts. The new novel beckons readers to come on in, even if the water’s not so fine.
... an ambitious revenge plot ... action-packed ... There’s so much happening in this novel...that it’s easy to lose track of a few more resonant themes ... It takes a long time...for any of the characters to earn our sympathy because of all the driving action, so for most of the novel, there is little human depth or connection. Give up all suspension of disbelief; this is one crazy ride.