Judith Sheffield is a young teacher, burnt out from her experience of working in a tough inner-city school in LA, who receives an offer of a job back in the small New Mexico town she grew up in after the current maths teacher has a stroke; the offer couldn’t have come at a better time and she accepts eagerly.
When she arrives in Borrego Judith finds it much the same as she remembers, and she reconnects with old friends, but as time passes she discovers, especially after a big company takes over the oil refinery run by her ‘Uncle’ Max, that there’s something sinister going on below the surface.
It becomes a race against time for her and her boyfriend’s son to figure out what is happening in their town and stop it before they, and a lot more people, get either hurt or killed.
Sleepwalk is a quarter of a century old now, and that shows in a variety of small ways as you read the book, but the plot remains relevant, it might even be more relevant now, given the advantages in technology and medicine. That relevance makes it possible to look past the dated elements and enjoy this.
There’s not quite enough character development for my tastes, no-one is fleshed out quite as much as I would like, but there’s enough for the reader to care about them, and what happens to them. The writing is decent, and the scene-setting good, I can actually picture that blazing heat (I’d quite like to feel it) and the ending is both satisfying and contains more than a trace of poetic justice.
This is a nice book overall and I recommend that you don’t let the age of it put you off.