Her farmer protagonist is one of the more finely drawn characters. He is based on a real person, and this gives the reader a fuller sense of his personality. His interactions and perceptions color the novel and keep it grounded.
The author combines such diverse elements as the aforementioned almond field, a small town, a maximum security prison and a hospital. This serves to keep the story moving forward, and to give a more complete picture to frame the events.
The book is as much about the mystery as it is about men forming friendships and even familial bonds. The book touches on loneliness, isolation, and connections formed under extreme circumstances.
This book offers up one of my favorite and most memorable lines from a mystery novel. I won't tell you what it is, but will give a clue: You only die once.