Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Backwoods-Jill Sorenson

Backwoods Jill Sorenson Harlequin HQN, May 27 2014, $7.99 ISBN: 9780373778720 Though backwoods hiking is not at the top of her list, San Diego Seaside Retirement Center Director Abby Hammond accompanies her teenage daughter Brooke on a trek in the High Sierras. Abby decided to come because she distrusts her ex-husband, plastic surgeon Ray Dwyer, showing up for his daughter though he is a good father when he does his commitments. Accompanying Ray are his second wife Lydia and her college-age son Leo from her first marriage. Leo is at the cabin when mother and daughter arrive. As Leo and Brooke go for a ride on his motorcycle, recovering alcoholic former Major League player Nathan Strom comes to the cabin hoping to reconcile with his son; though his baseball career and visitation rights died after Leo uploaded on YouTube his drunken state. Abby muses that she and Nathan shares one thing in common; their respective spouses cheated on them with each other. Leo explains Lydia sprained her ankle so Ray opted out to be with her; ergo they sent him instead. As the tense quartet hike, the two teens angrily pronounce revelations re their parents. However, when Brooke vanishes, the rage turns to fear as two adults and a teen desperately search for her. The angst is higher than the range that the foursome hike as each has issues going back to the affair (though in Nathan’s case he believes alcoholism drove his then wife to another man) that changed the two families. The tension is already stratospheric when Abby’s disappearance raises it beyond the troposphere; yet it also enables the adults in their frantic search to get close. Although the ending feels wrong for this otherwise strong family drama turned thriller, fans will appreciate the hike. Harriet Klausner

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