LitHub/CrimeReads best new debut selection Popsugar Book Club best new thrillers selection Winner of the 2020 American Fiction Award for Thriller: Crime from American Book Fest Sins of the Bees
blends natural majesty, mystery, and compelling characterizations to present the lives of two very different women and their tumultuous interactions with a dangerous doomsday cult.
Other than her bonsai trees, twenty-year-old arborist Silvania August Moonbeam Merigal is alone in the world. After first her mother dies and then her grandfather--the man who raised her and the last of her family--Silva suffers a sexual assault and becomes pregnant. Then, ready to end her own life, she discovers evidence of a long-lost artist grandmother, Isabelle.
Desperate to remake a family for herself, Silva leaves her island home on the Puget Sound and traces her grandmother's path to first a hippie beekeeper named Nick Larkins with secrets of his own, and then to a religious, anti-government, Y2K cult embedded deep in the wilds of Hells Canyon. Len Dietz is the charismatic leader of the Almost Paradise compound, a place full of violence and drama: impregnated child brides called the Twelve Maidens, an armed occupation of a visitor's center, shot-up mountain sheep washing up along with a half-drowned dog, and men transporting weapons in the middle of the night.
As tensions erupt into violence, Silva, Isabelle, Nick, and the members of Almost Paradise find themselves disastrously entangled, and Silva is forced to face both her own history of loss, and the history of loss she's stepped into: ruinous stories of family that threaten to destroy them all.