I have this tendency to add books to my audiobook queue (I use SimplyAudio because it’s cheap) without really doublechecking that they’re the correct book, which sometimes leads to a pleasant surprise but most often just leads me to a place of confusion and disappointment (aka “adulthood”).
I, like many people, really enjoyed the movie The Descent and I guess when I saw this title come up on my recommended list I just assumed it was the novelization or book it was based on. It’s not.
I guess it doesn’t say much for a book that the first thing I have to say about it is that it wasn’t about something else. Overall, this wasn’t really a terrible book. It’s a run-of-the-mill thriller that focuses on the Courtland family: 17-year-old Caitlin, younger brother Sean, father Grant and mother Angela. The family is visiting Colorado on a last-hurrah trip before Caitlin leaves for college on a track scholarship in the fall. At the opening of the book, Caitlin and Sean wake up early and go for a run/bike in the mountains. The parents later wake up and receive a call from the local sheriff that their son was hurt in an accident. It’s only then they discover Caitlin is missing, and the rest of the book follows the family as they search for their missing daughter.
The bulk of the story deals with the fallout such an event has on the family—and the different (albeit stereotypical) ways such a tragedy can affect those it touches (prize goes to the person who guessed that someone turns to drinking!) There are also a lot of bizarre and frankly unnecessary side plots, like the fact that the mother had a twin sister who died when they were teens, and this weird road trip Sean takes where he attempts to rescue a girl from being raped in an alley.
Which brings me to my real issue with this book, which is the sexual violence against women. It’s just…it’s not that you can’t write a book with rape in it, but I do take umbrage when it’s really just used as a plot device to further the quest of the male characters. When the impetus of your plot is simply: We must save these womenfolk from the hungry predators who are around them at all times! And for fuck’s sake, can we stop using miscarriages as a throwaway plot device to add a touch of INSTATRAGEDY! to books and movies? Seriously.
All in all I would say, it’s a thriller. The violence against women in it is nothing new, so if that doesn’t overly bother you, it won’t in this. Pick it up if you’re seeking something somewhat brainless that’s not going to enhance any viewpoints, beliefs or thoughts you have on life or the universe. Also, if you like beautiful descriptions of mountains, pine trees and snow, this book will definitely be your jam.