Blaylock's books in the last few years have slowly taken on a different tone and direction . . . all for the better, I say. Gone are the goofy scenarios with almost ridiculously comedic characters and bizarre fantasy situations that just happened to be set in a world we all might happen to recognize . . . those were darn entertaining but I think Blaylock would have undermined himself had he continued to write in that style. Instead he evolved and grew to the point where he's at now, writing a sort of "fantastic realism" where engagingly real people interact just barely with a world they barely understand and come into contact with things that don't make a whole lot of sense. The "magic" stuff is kept as far into the background as possible and the focus is squarely on people and how they treat each other and what makes them tick and what separates a "good" decision from a "bad" decision. In this novel, Phil Ainsworth winds up with custody of his niece after her mother dies but along the way becomes embroiled in an ongoing scenario a century old that might have something to do with the odd well on his land. The plot is gripping but not all that frightening, it's more tense than anything else and it's fascinating to watch people undone by simple obsessions and the lengths that those obsessions will drive them . . . by the end you're just reading rapidly, watching as they people circle each other and close in, ready to collide in something you know is going to be ugly. Blaylock evokes both the mystique and the wonder at the heart of magic while bringing to life a little corner of California. Night Relics is probably still his best book, the psychology cuts much deeper there, the characters have slightly more depth and the evil just a teensy bit more frightening but you would have a hard time going wrong here and it's really not that bad a place to start with him. I'll be looking forward to seeing what he does next.