The group of women consists of two middle-aged executives who have daughters in the same class at school, two twins who don’t like each other, and the younger sister of the man running the company. She is nominally in charge although the two mothers, Alice and Lauren, claim to have wilderness experience in high school and are older.
The females survive the first day and make it to the designated campsite, tired, snippy, and annoyed that Alice has surreptitiously brought a cell phone. Both mothers want to check on their daughters but there is no cell coverage at the campsite. The men wander over from their site and join the gang that night. Soon the drinking begins although sadly there is no hanky-panky.
The next morning, headaches and nausea aplenty, arguments ensue, especially between the twins—one girl has had trouble with the law and alcoholism while her identical sister is a success at the corporation. Perfect girl resents her loser twin and her very presence in the company.
The women with children don’t like each other because their daughters don’t get along. One kid is beautiful and popular, the other has anorexia.
Stirred into this brew are two federal investigators looking into the finances of the company, suspecting fraud and other nefarious activity. The police, agent Aaron Falk and his sidekick, Cameron, are using one of the women in the group as a source of inside information. Aaron receives a strange text message late on what would be night two of the adventure, garbled as girl hurts. Fearing trouble for their confidant, they set out from Melbourne to investigate.
Naturally the women take a wrong turn on the second day and get lost. They argue over the phone, what to do next, and the amount of food and water left. As the disaster unfolds one woman falls into a river, and later that night the unpopular Alice disappears.
Late on the third day police searchers begin looking for Alice. Under questioning, none has any knowledge of where she went. Stirred into this cauldron is the mystery of a serial killer who once haunted the wilderness area before dying in prison but is rumored to have a son floating around. Harper even paints the gas station attendant as suspicious.
Harper shifts view points between the police and each of the hikers who get their own chance to narrate the story. Is one of them “unreliable”? You’ll have to read to find out.
The book moves along well, and the ending is something of a surprise. But it could go faster and there’s no reason to like the missing Alice. She’s clearly a snob, and so is her kid. Overall, I give it a B-.
Steve E Clark as seen in the New York Times is Author of Justice Is for the Lonely and Justice Is for the Deserving, Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense. You can purchase his books via SteveClarkAuthor.com/BuyBook or request it at your local book store. Want to know more about Steve Clark, read more reviews or speak directly with Steve? Learn more about Steve at SteveClarkAuthor.com