The Mountain Story
Booklist Reviews 2015 April #2
As in her earlier novels, Lansens (The Wife's Tale, 2010) portrays strong, not-soon forgotten characters in this suspenseful, psychologically rich tale. Wilfred (Wolf) and his mostly absent father live in Tin Town, a dilapidated cluster of trailers on the outskirts of Palm Springs. On his eighteenth birthday, Wolf takes the tram car into the mountains above the city, intending to take his own life on Angel Peak, the site of his best friend's tragic accident a year earlier. On the ride up, Wolf meets three women: Nola, a widow carrying her husband's ashes to scatter; her daughter, Bridget, a feisty woman prone to bad marital decisions; and Bridget's daughter, Vonn, who has just made an unnerving discovery. A series of mishaps takes the women off their course, and Wolf, too, after he tries to rescue them within a dense fog. Lansens brings the reader intimately into their plight: four harrowing days with barely any food or water, trapped in a canyon with seemingly no way down. Their ordeal profoundly affects the four survivors and changes the course of each of their lives. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2015 February #1
Writing a letter to his college-bound son, Wolf tells the story of his last visit to a beloved mountain, a journey he had not intended to extend beyond lunch that day. Through a series of flashbacks, he relates much about his life. Eighteen-year-old Wolf, despondent over the loss of his best friend, Byrd, plans to jump from a spot in the mountains near Palm Springs, CA, that holds meaning for them both. However, from his mother, he has inherited a sense of responsibility. When two women approach him, mistaking him for a guide, Wolf reluctantly agrees to lead them. Through a series of minor catastrophes, the group, now four, becomes hopelessly lost. With each new obstacle, the quartet wonders if they will all survive. VERDICT After a slow start, Lansens (The Girls) builds tension by mentioning in Wolf's letter that four went up but only three came down. But her newest offering is more than just a survival tale. It is a story of friendship and loss, but also of growth and hope, and of family bonds that can either tie us down or help us soar. A great read for anyone who likes character-driven, coming-of-age stories with exquisitely described natural settings.—Elizabeth Masterson Mecklenburg Cty. Jail Lib., Charlotte, NC[Page 76]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2015 March #1
Lansens (The Girls) has written a colorful, adventurous wilderness survival novel. Wilfred "Wolf" Truly decides on his 18th birthday during the late 1970s to commit suicide by leaping off the cliffs of the California batholith known as Angel's Peak. The decision comes after a series of personal setbacks, including a serious injury to his best friend Byrd Diaz, the early violent death of his mother, Glory, and the imprisonment of his ne'er-do-well father, Frankie. When the depressed Wolf rides the tram to ascend Angel's Peak, his fellow passengers are three generations of the Devine family: granddaughter Vonn, mother Bridget, and grandmother Nola. He discovers the often sick Vonn has a party-girl streak, the clairvoyant Bridget has trained for a triathlon, and the newly widowed Nola carries her husband Pip's cremated remains to sprinkle atop Angel's Peak. On their trek to reach the summit, with the November darkness falling, the ill-equipped hikers get lost. As they begin a harrowing five-day ordeal in the remote alpine outback, Wolf forgets his suicidal intentions. The realistic details, such as the traditional herbal medicine used to fight Nola's broken-bone infection and the threatening coyotes and vultures, provide the narrative's raw edge. Genre readers will also be swept along as the suspense builds in this first-rate character-driven thriller. (May)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC