Reagan Darby crams her dad’s urn into an overflowing backpack. His last wish: deliver the urn to Rocky Mountain National Park and release his ashes into Lake Nanita. To find closure, she’ll hike the same route they completed after her latest involuntary stay at the hospital.
But not alone, as she’d hoped. Her cousin Dalton surprises her at the trailhead and insists on tagging along. Soon, his eerie stares and half-volume mutterings set her on edge. As they trudge further into the mountains, dodging moose and lightning strikes, she catches him rifling through her backpack multiple times. She confronts him but he shrugs it off. His claims that he came along for support wear thin, but she’s too deep into the park simply to turn around.
When Reagan discovers a hidden compartment in the lid of the urn, a tiny silver key tumbles onto the floor of her tent. But there’s no telling what lock the key might open. More unsettling, however, is that her lithium has gone missing. With only a meager Swiss Army knife for protection, she’ll have to fend off her cousin, resist the creeping mania, and escape the forest to find the lock. If the man Dalton works for locates it first, he’ll reduce Reagan to the same pile of dust and ash.
A mix of wilderness survival thriller and amateur sleuth mystery, Reagan’s Ashes builds to an unforgettable climax.
Many thanks to author Jim Heskett for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review. He’s also generously donated a copy for giveaway–click the link at the end of the review!
This book is a combination of hiking primer and introduction to the bipolar mind. The descriptions of the national park are breathtaking, and the reader will be able to discern the author’s personal experience with the great outdoors at once. I learned many quick facts about how to prepare for a trip up a mountain, and gained a new appreciation for those that hike on a regular basis.
Reagan is a sympathetic character right from the start. Her emotions at losing her father threaten to overwhelm her, and Heskett paints their relationship beautifully through memories that pop up in Reagan’s mind throughout. You can understand the stability that he brought to her life, via camping, as her recollections alternately overwhelm and reassure her.
As Reagan’s medications begin to wear off, she slowly returns to her disabling manic state, complete with grandiose ideas and racing mind. I was wondering what turn the plot would take from here; would the author leave her in the wilderness, raving and eschewing humanity?
Thankfully he lets the character join the world again, and the story moves on. Reagan and her boyfriend Spoon clash with the evil cousins and other relatives, all searching for the item that the silver key will open. Greedy family members are painted realistically, and the suspense ramps up as the end is in sight. There is a twist that made me exclaim “oh NO!” but then we see what really happened.
Heskett’s writing style is easy to digest and creates interest on every page. The portion that takes place in the park is authentic and full of tension, as a bit of evil is juxtaposed against the beauty of Nature. The plot is a simple one, but Heskett creates tension and emotion in a satisfying way.
You have an opportunity to get your hands on a soft cover edition of the book here! As always, our giveaways take almost no time at all to enter!
Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link asin=”0692368973″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]here[/easyazon_link].