The book was better than the blurb! I started it with some trepidation, but soon found myself involved. I've read hundreds of SF books and this still had some novel themes. I actually wanted the deputy to win through, and occasionally the lead character too. I think the mother's illness was supposed to explain some of his less logical actions, but it got in the way a bitter was also a little too much stereotyping of characters. Nonetheless, the plot has enough twists to keep you entertained and looking forward to the next chance of reading a few chapters.