By Jim Heskitt
Reagan Darby’s father is dead. His last request was for her to take his ashes and dump them in a lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. She decides to take the route she and her father had taken the last time. Unfortunately, her cousins Dalton and Charlie have invited themselves along. Along the way, she discovers a secret in her father’s urn. Does it have to do with the real reason Dalton is present?
Meanwhile, Reagan’s injured boyfriend, Liam, is stuck back at her stepmother, Anne’s house with his own problems and wanting to investigate a shady character who is bothering Anne. Are there connections? What do you think?
Decent plot. A little mystery, a little quest story, but I think this settles a bit more on the character driven side.
Reagan Darby: 24, father dead, dropped out of college, works at a restaurant, drives a Honda Accord, suffers from manic/depression
Anne: step-mom, alcoholic, drives a Suburu Outback
Dalton Darby: Reagan’s cousin, gaunt face, thin, tattoos on his arm, smokes, used to sell marijuana, was in the Boy Scouts
Charlie Darby: Dalton’s brother, overweight, uses an inhaler
Liam ‘Spoon’ Witherspoon: Australian, fair-haired, Reagan’s boyfriend, using crutches for an injured knee from Australian football, recovering alcoholic, employed a tech support representative, used to box
Some very nice characters although I didn’t have a mental image of a couple characters (Reagan for example) because of a lack of description. Otherwise, personalities, quirks, conditions, and such al combine to round out the cast. I also like that each is distinct. There’s no blending even with the alcoholism shared by Spoon and Anne. You know the good and the bad, the strong and the weak.
Dalton’s voice comes through as do the parts where Reagan starts experiencing her manic/depressive symptoms. Actually, I think every character has a pretty good distinctive voice. Conversations don’t wander but impart some importance either for the present or foreshadowing something later.
Book separated by Days. Chapters and scene changes headed by time. Profanity. I sort of understand why almost two-thirds of the way through the book, the tense shifts from past to present when it’s Reagan’s scenes but it isn’t necessary.
I enjoy when authors are knowledgeable about what they’re writing. In this book, Heskitt give you tidbits into the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Australians, and bipolar disease. (I know, weird combination, right? Lol). The point is, there’s no vagueness or obvious guessing and hoping that what he writes will be believed. It helped me enjoy it rather than wishing he’d get into more detail.
The one thing that stopped me in my tracks-and I won’t be playing spoiler for the rest of the story-is in one scene, Reagan shoulder blocks an attacking moose. Now before you go nuts, I discussed this scene with the author, and he mentioned that his intent was to show the mental state of Reagan at the time and for the reader to pick up on what is going on with her. I hope other readers will understand, but although I understood some of her mental state in succeeding chapters, I didn’t catch the references to or with this scene. Again, that’s just me.
Pretty solid and tight writing. I found two capitalization errors, but otherwise all good. Very enjoyable story by a fundamentally knowledgeable author.