Reviews for In the Heart of the Canyon


Kirkus Reviews 2009 June #1
A neophyte crew of amateur adventurers embarks on a perilous rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.Hyde (The Abortionist's Daughter, 2006, etc.) applies her flair for creating fully realized characters and adds a dash of invigorating peril set in a striking landscape. Unfortunately, what starts as a fast-paced, highly readable consideration of travelers facing a hostile environment is derailed by an overabundance of players and one very dubious plot device. The book chronicles the 13-day Colorado River passage led by JT Maroney, a laconic whitewater guide with 125 successful trips under his belt. JT senses trouble from the beginning, mostly due to the diversity of his charges. The especially inadequate rafters include Peter Kramer, an unemployed lecher with the hots for Dixie Ann Gillis, JT's fellow river guide; a septuagenarian couple masking injury and Alzheimer's; and Amy Van Doren, a seriously obese teenager whose shrill diary entries ("OMG!!!!") disrupt the flow of the story instead of punctuating it. Hyde does a terrific job of crafting her characters; even the less flamboyant of the dozen guests seem very real, if superfluous. The mechanics of whitewater rafting and the challenges faced by seasoned guides are also well drawn, as the petulant clients face heatstroke, emotional conflicts and the constant test of big rapids. So far, so good, until a bewildering medical emergency sends the story tumbling off on a wildly improbable tangent. It's a jarring diversion that threatens to turn a thoughtful portrait of humanity at odds with nature into a Lifetime movie-of-the-week.Well-intentioned but flawed ensemble drama.First printing 50,000. Author tour to Boulder, Colo., Denver, Seattle Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2009 July #1

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.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 April #3

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.

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