read a review somewhere that described the Getaway as a tense and thrilling story, like The River by Peter Heller. But now I cannot find that review that made the
Getaway sound so intriguing - because I would like to reread that review and see what made this book sound so attractive. This was not a random book that I selected off of the library shelves, this was one that
I ordered out of the catalog because it sounded thrilling. A big disappointment. I would rate it 2.5 stars, which I have quite generously rounded up to 3 stars. I am not inclined to read any more works by Zoje Stage, no
matter how glowing the reviews might be.
Getaway is the story of three young women who decide to take a week long hiking journey down into the Grand Canyon at the end of the season, into a remote area on the Boucher Trail, a rarely hiked
trail that has only limited water sources. Two of hikers, Imogen and Beck, are experienced,
having hiked in the Grand Canyon with their parents when they were younger. The third hiker is Tilda, with no experience in outdoors adventures, but is game to try this trip. Beck has suggested it would be a great way to getaway
and de-stress. Cut off from the electronic universe, to wander and reflect in the beauty of nature. Imogen and Beck are sisters, they close despite being quite different. Beck is a physician, whereas Imogen, the younger sister, is
a novelist with one book to her name, and she is struggling to come up with an idea for what to write next. Tilda is a long time friend that they have known since childhood, she apparently is an aspiring actress and makes money as
an influencer on social media.
The Boucher Trail descends quite steeply from the South Rim, it is supposed to be a challenge even for experienced hikers, so it is a surprising selection by Beck to take newbie Tilda down there for her
first outdoors experience. There is one point where the trail apparently crosses a large boulder before descending sharply around a corner - the hiker must clamber over this obstacle without being able to see the narrow trail on the other
side - and of course there is a steep cliff should you slip. I thought that this obstacle would be a major plot point, but it hardly figures in the story at all.
I found that I didn't like the three women much - I thought perhaps the practical Beck-the-physician would be likable, but after she begins her "I brought you both down here to talk about your issues" speech on the
banks of the Colorado river, I decided that I didn't like her either. Who would want friends like these? Nor did I find the story that suspenseful. I was disappointed by some of the characters actions, which I will explain in the spoilers section.
This book is not recommended.
***!!! Spoiler alert !!!***
Do not keep reading this review if you intend to read Getaway
The character of the villainous Gale makes no sense at all. If you want to flee from the police, why would you park your car at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and hike down into the wilderness when you have
no equipment, no experience, and no place to hide? The Grand Canyon is a vast wilderness, but there are only a few trails, meaning that the options for evading pursuers are limited. It would have made much more sense to abandon his car in a
city, steal another one, and head out for parts unknown.
Why does Gale only steal some energy bars out of their food stash the first night? Gale has no food - he ought to take the entire sack. But if Gale did the obvious thing, then Beck/Imogen/Tilda would have just marched
back out of the canyon the next day and there would be no story. So Gale has to do an inexplicably dumb thing in order for the plot to work. I hate plots like that.
When Gale lets them go, the women hike away a few miles, and then make camp and go to sleep?? Without posting a guard?? What idiots! It is hard to cheer for characters when they are so foolish. Again, Stage requires the
characters be stupid in order for the plot to work.
When Gale has recaptured them and is marching the woman back down the narrow trail, why doesn't the first one up over that boulder obstacle immediately take off running down the trail? Gale cannot see what is going on around
the corner - a fleeing woman could be quite a distance away before he even realizes she has escaped, especially if the other two feign fright about clambering over the rock and stall for time.
When the rafters go by, why does Imogen just stand on the shore and wave to them? She ought to swim out to meet them - Gale is threatening her life, this her chance to escape! It is the end of the season, the water in
the Colorado will be slow and low - swim out and the rafters will rescue you. At least scream and make a scene!
At the end, Imogen grabs the knife-spear - why is Gale so careless with his weapon? I had to reread that paragraph twice - was it really so easy for Imogen to grab it? She didn't even appear to do anything special - just
grab it and stab Gale.