Who is Grant Franklin Tavish V? “A murderer.”
The son of a Virginia senator, Grant’s life is mapped out to the smallest detail: his affluent community, his friends, his girlfriend. And thanks to his father’s connections, Grant can walk away scot-free from the fatal car accident he caused. The guilt, however, proves too much. When Grant sets off on a caving excursion—a tradition that all Tavish men undergo before high school graduation—he plans to take his own life as a form of recompense. Except that a cave collapse traps him underground along with four other teens. Now the group must explore the cave system together in order to escape its hellish embrace while also evading something sinister lurking in its shadows. Situating readers squarely within Grant’s anguished point of view, Liggett (Heart of Ash, 2018, etc.) builds up Grant’s stifling, privileged life. The other teen characters represent the less fortunate, a group plagued by poverty, bad home lives, and other stereotypes. Unfortunately, Grant’s cave companions offer little beyond a single purpose: to feed into his self-development. Still, the author excels at weaving a tightly-packed narrative. As the teens struggle to find a way out, bonding during the ordeal, the cave starts claiming its victims. The story soon reaches its predictable, but somewhat satisfying, finale. One character is implied Latina; otherwise a white default is assumed.
A gruesome, superficial subterranean tale of redemption. (Thriller. 12-18)