Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LOST CANYON by Nina Revoyr


by Nina Revoyr

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-61775-353-4
Publisher: Akashic

Revoyr (Wingshooters, 2011, etc.) sends four Angelenos mired in First World angst to confront the wilds of California’s Sierra Nevada range.

A more disparate group of left coastals would be hard to assemble. Grieving and near burnout after a promising client’s suicide, Gwen counsels troubled Watts youth. Latin-American realtor Oscar rode the housing bubble into BMW-Rolex country and then down to near-bankruptcy. Todd’s a Century City attorney, a farm boy–turned–star athlete who married old money. Tracy, their trainer and trek organizer, is an intense woman fascinated by her Japanese-American grandfather’s tales of Sierra escapes from Manzanar’s internment camp. Weaving in character back stories, Revoyr travels LA’s patchwork neighborhoods—delineating gangs and money, color and prejudice—and nicely sketches "the grand, untamed Sierra," all isolated peaks and frigid waters. While the reluctant partners trust neither their own abilities nor each other’s competence, Tracy, "kicked up into a weird, uncomfortable gear," urges them to tackle another trail after officials report fires on their planned route. An old ranger suggests an isolated, near-forgotten trail beyond Owens Valley. As they push past their perceived physical limits, Tracy takes a wrong turn, and the quartet stumbles onto a high-country cartel-run marijuana farm. They're taken prisoner and forced to make hard choices—to cling to civilized morality or to make a brutal but practical decision. Injured, without food, the four forge across wilderness and over a pass two miles up, "the place where storms are made," seeking help, all the while pursued by armed killers.

Like Deliverance, a tense and sometimes-violent morality tale formed in the crucible of physical duress.