From start to finish this book was just bad, the characters didn't seem authentic. They seemed like characterizations of standard romance fare. You have the man who left home who never came back, the stoic local who teaches him what home is and then the two abused boys just add a dash of spice to a rather bland stew. First the points of view switch from Cord the man who left home and the 7 year old abuse victim. Cord's voice is pretty typical and rather dull. The 7 year old, Jem, who it's unclear as to whether he was abused or not but he certainly is over sexualized.The reader's introduction to him is when we 'hear' him waxing on about his brother and his brother's body, in a very vivid and graphic way. At fist I thought this was a case of brothers being lovers, which I wasn't expecting but I don't mind but then it became apparent that the speaker was 7. It was creepy and the character's voice didn't improve. Then we have the drug addicted mother and her pimp daddy kiddy porn peddler who comes back to 'get what's his'. Seriously the book just fell apart towards the end with shoot outs, ransom and porn rings. It was all too much and not quite enough at the same time. It seemed to me that the author had several ideas and just didn't tie any of them together. In the end the book was bland with a touch of the absurd.