Twelve travelers and three guides set off on a rafting trip down the Colorado River in this adventure from the author of The Abortionist's Daughter. Each comes to the trip expecting a life-altering experience, but none is prepared for the events as they unfold, least of all JT Maroney, their veteran guide. It is JT's 125th trip down the river, and he thinks he's seen it all; but a dog, a couple in their seventies, two dysfunctional marriages, and an overweight teenager provide him with challenges that have nothing to do with white-water rafting. Each traveler leaves the trip with much more than he or she expected. VERDICT The reader is swept along with the characters through the strikingly beautiful canyon and the potentially deadly river. Great scenic description and fully believable characters make this adventure story well worth the ride. A good pick as a summer read. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/09.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA[Page 84]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
A group of strangers converges for a rafting trip in Hyde's fifth novel, an astute, engrossing character-driven affair. Assembled for guide JT Maroney's 125th excursion down the Colorado River are Peter, a Cincinnati 20-something; Harvard professor Evelyn; the Compsons, a family of four from Salt Lake City; and three couples: the Frankels, seasoned rafters in their 70s; mother and daughter Susan and Amy Van Doren; and the Boyer-Brandts, both 60-ish. After a cursory safety orientation, personalities emerge: Evelyn is nursing a broken heart; Peter is desperate to hook up with assistant guide Dixie; Ruth Frankel frets over her forgetful husband, Lloyd; and Susan battles inner demons and her overweight daughter, Amy (whose diary entries are interwoven). A stray dog joins the gang as bouts with heatstroke, festering open wounds and capsizing boats threaten to sabotage the adventure, though these seem tame compared to the surprise that hits downriver. The novel succeeds as both a study of strangers striving toward a common goal and as a suspenseful drama filled with angst and humanity. Hyde outshines herself with this wild ride. (July)[Page 25]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.