A genre-blurring murder mystery/coming of age story ... Ann is constantly trying to figure out where she stands in the shifting and complicated dynamic. As readers, we’re kept compellingly off balance right along with Ann ... Hays’ atmospheric descriptions of the exhibits, the gardens and the interior spaces enhance the mysterious and menacing interactions among the characters.
Moody and suspenseful ... Readers will be fascinated by the evocative setting as well as the behind-the-scenes glimpses into museum curatorship and the cutthroat games of academia. It makes for an accomplished debut.
Hays sets the stage well for what might have been some truly creepy scenes, but those looking for chills should seek elsewhere. In the end, the plot and characters feel too formulaic and familiar to really surprise ... Murder! Occult! Obsession! The pieces are there, but the drama just…isn’t.