Psychological thriller, R.K. Jackson, Random House, Alibi, suspense, Southern Gothic.
Sapelo Island, Georgia, a tangle of salt marsh and sand that you can get to only by boat, is a model for the novel’s fictional Shell Heap Island. Sapelo holds the largest community of people who identify themselves as saltwater Geechees. Sometimes called Gullah people, they have inhabited the nation’s southeast coast for more than two centuries and have long held their land as a touchstone, fighting the kind of development that turned neighboring islands into vacation destinations.
The author was also inspired by his personal interactions with individuals who suffer from schizophrenia, an illness that affects about one in 100 people but rarely leads to violent behavior. Like the protagonist of “The Girl in the Maze,” many people diagnosed with schizophrenia are high-functioning and able to lead normal lives.
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