Yay, I finally stumbled on a good one! (I recently got my third library card – hooray for working and living in different counties – and picked three books I’d never heard of.) This book was a breath of fresh air.
A small family-owned company is forcing their employees to go on a corporate retreat hiking in the Australian outback. Nobody really wants to go, but they have to anyway because Tradition. Because Sexism, the campers are split into groups: Sister COO Jill leads the women’s group, Brother CEO David leads the men’s. They’re supposed to follow trails and flags to pre-arranged campsites with food and water, spend three days bonding in the wilderness, and then meet back at the central lodge. The men make it just fine, but only four of the five women make it out of the bushland, and they’re pretty banged up.
The cops we follow as they try to find the missing Alice are not the usual mystery-book cops. Falk and Cooper are from the finance division, and they’d been working with (semi-blackmailing) Alice to try and get evidence to bring down CEO David, who’s possibly using the company as a front for nefarious things. They’re not sure if Alice’s disappearance is related, or just bad luck.
The chapters are split between the current investigation into the company and the search for Alice, and flashbacks to what happened to the women out there in the wilderness. The characters are crisp, the writing is snappy, and even the red herrings are satisfying. I could have done without the will they/won’t they romance subplot, but overall this was a quick, enjoyable read.