This was my first read of this series, and coming to it at #15 makes me a bit late to the party. Nevertheless, I felt the book worked well as a stand-alone and I was able to pick up on what had gone before in the series. The characters were completely human – decent, complex – and seemed to be a product of their small town setting. I suspect the characterization would have been more jaded and hard-edged had they lived in a large city. I got quite engaged in the plot until near the end where there were so many twists, turns and backtrackings that it felt like Penny was trying to stretch it out. Ultimately my credibility quotient was stretched with the final outcome.