Atria Books | 27 June 2023 | 334 pgs
At its core, this book revolves around secrets, deceptions and missing persons mainly set in Yosemite National Park.
Cassie Peters is leaving her past and shedding her old identity as she made her escape to her old hometown in Mammoth Lakes, California. Who she's running away from is a mystery in the beginning but that'd unravel as the story progresses. Cassie used to work with Yosemite Search and Rescue many years ago but left due to an incident which still haunt her today. Given this circumstances she'd have avoided going down to that route but desperation could drive a person into making hasty decisions so she's back to join a group of fellow seasonal workers and making new friends as well.
During her work on different occasions she meets two young women, Petal and Jada. Petal lives in a trailer with her partner; an older woman who keeps things to herself and remains aloof to others. Petal, on the other hand, is more vocal though she only write her inner thoughts and the daily occurrences on a journal (part of a narrative which I enjoyed reading aside from Cassie's between now and then). Jada is a college graduate who goes on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend while documenting their journey on Instagram but later both go missing. This turn of events set the story in momentum, as the reader will learn that these three women harbour secrets of their own and any one could have a hidden agenda.
I loved the atmospheric backdrop of Yosemite National Park; through the author's descriptive writing I could imagine the beauty and the adventurous trail it entails for the hikers. I also enjoyed reading more about the role of the Search and Research team and how perilous their job can be. The characters are well-portrayed and flawed; and the dynamics between these three characters are explosive as the story unravels. The ending was a good twist, though it left some threads hanging in my opinion but I suppose that'd be at the disclosure of each reader's imagination. I'm a fan of Catherine McKenzie and though this isn't my favourite, I love her writing style and her crafty suspense that always left me intrigue.
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