I read this book about 4-Feb-2002. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1998. This note was last modified Thursday, 19-Dec-2002 16:24:59 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I picked this as a semi-random new mystery author (pulled books from the shelves at random until I had one that looked interesting). I think it was a successful choice.
This was sort-of over in the Thomas Harris part of the field. No super-villain to the level of Lector, but definitely about the aberrations produced by childhood abuse or trauma of various forms. There's one person who might, loosely speaking, be considered sane in the book.
Not splattery or anything, though.
The primary viewpoint character is a trauma victim and badly damaged, but she's getting better and the overall outcome is good for her.
There's also a very nice use of her father, who's part-way down the Alzheimer's ramp. A number of times, you don't know if he's figured out the current piece of the mystery, or is babbling and just happened to say the right thing. Same with actions a couple of times. And at least once when he does a fairly crucial right thing, he pretty clearly didn't know what he was really doing.