Cover Image: Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon

Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon

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Member Reviews

DNF-ed - this didn't start off very well and went downhill. The characters didn't feel real, the situations, really nothing did. It was not for me
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If you like mysteries that happen in the middle of nowhere (the Grand Canyon), this is the book for you.

A group has been brought to the Grand Canyon to raft the rivers and conduct research, the last thing they expect is a murder.  There are many suspects and the leader, Jenny must join forces with Ray, a ranger, to find out who committed the terrible crime.

Wonderful  descriptions of the Grand Canyon make you feel as if you are there and the tension  as the crime is investigated leads to a well told novel.

I would recommend.
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I appreciate that BSB gave the opportunity to read this book and review it before its publication date, but I have to give an honest review.

I love stories set out in the wilderness. Give me someone who is lost and/or hurt in the wild and I tend to devour these tales. However, I struggled with Patton's story not just because the characters were formulaic and clichéd, but also because there was not enough suspension of disbelief that could get me through the decisions made regarding the body.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

was excited about this book as i have been to the grand canyon and also watched an informative video about the pioneers who investigated the grand canyon in their little boats...but this isnt a bit like that at all

have to say i struggled with this one as it was very deep and descriptive on mud and plant life which i didnt feel added much to the storyline sorry to say...

sorry to say that i dnf as it was to to much and hadnt pulled me into the storyline at all sorry
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From this book, I expected a locked door mystery with hints of romance but this wasn't quite what I got. The story was a good idea that fell flat in execution. Unlikeable characters and undeveloped subplots. I expected more and I wouldn't highly recommend this book, but for mystery lovers, it might be worth a try.
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Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon by Lee Patton is definitely written as an homage to the Grand Canyon.  The language is very full of superlatives but the Grand Canyon deserves all of those.  The relationships are done with great care and the geologic descriptions of the trip down the river add to the enjoyment of the book.
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1/5 stars - did not like. The only good thing about this book was the beautiful description of the setting. The characters weren't very developed (or likeable), especially not the relationship between Ray and Duke suggested in the synopsis. For most of the novel, they only meet and exchange words a few times. The murder mystery was not really mysterious at all. I never felt any tension about the two things that interested me in the synopsis - neither about the murder, nor the interpersonal relationships/romance. 

I really wanted to enjoy this as someone who grew up hiking in the American southwest and as someone always looking for more lgbtq+ literature. Unfortunately it was a real letdown. Nearly DNFed and had to force myself to keep reading. 

Thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC.
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My thanks to Bold Strokes books, Lee Patton.and Netgalley.
This sounded like it was going to be great! But, it was absolutely awful! I haven't the words! 
Actually, I have a lot of words, but if it were a t.v. show, then all would be bleeped out. 
Sorry. Great concept, but editing or author?
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Very nearly DNF this.  SPOILERS

My initial reaction: this book made me a little angry. Category-wise, it was billed as a mystery. The summary makes it seem a mystery. Do not be fooled. It is not. Well, most of it is not. And the people...

Ray O'Brien volunteers to go on a rafting research trip with his pal Jenny Bridger, who is leading a science-gathering, after she winds up a man (person) down. It's a trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. His role? Not much: just help out. His stepfather was some kind of psycho, so of course his academic life is consumed by studying the neuro effects of that. He meets Duke first, who is skinny dipping in the same water hole he just got out of. Of course there's an instant attraction. Two tropes: violent, abusive past, and instalust if not instalove.

The larger group: Jenny, the team leader, who of course is apprehensive about her first team lead job, feeling guilty about missing her daughter Amelia's graduation, because the trip has to start the same day. Trope: working mother has to choose between job and family. Other trope: she's divorced.

Carol Carne, longtime activist volunteer and pediatric nurse, and her husband Jack, fat, rude insurance salesman, and of no value to the trip, really. Trope: alcoholic, bigoted, horndog husband ogling a teenaged girl; saint of a wife who abides him.

Duke, Park Ranger, who served in the military as a peacekeeper in the Balkans and lost his left arm there. Trope: Tough guy with a sensitive heart of gold. And also PTSD.

Annette & Tess, two female students,also volunteers. Trope: Sexy Tess draw's Jack's eye.

There are a few bigoted RVers next to the crew as they get feed and do final prep for rafting.  Of course they are crude, and Jack joins in with them. One of them calls Tess a n******, and Duke a "crip", furter suggests there are quotas being met. Trope: the bigotry of the world one might think to escape on a rafting trip, but alas, rude,crude, bigoted Jack is along for the ride.

Glen, the river guide, who is given over to pontificating about how people are destroying the planet. Carol does this as well, but it seems Glen is the one carrying the trope of ecoterrorist onto the river.

Tycho, an oarsman, brought by Glen. Trope: the cute boy the girls moon over. Also given to ecorants, because he lives with Glen.

Hannah Pinch, camp cook and Jenny's soon-to-be ex-mother in law, with whom she has a better relationship than she does with Faith's son. Trope: yeah, that.

Faith Brittle, director of a Montana college's Women's Studies Program, oarswoman and guide. Trope: Militant feminism and demonization of men.

Take all the tropes, put them on boats, and send them down a river. Have Trope Bigoted Jerk get tossed out of his raft on the first rapids sequence. When they stop for the night, get a little lecture about Trope Men are B-A-D, have some discussion about bullying, how people are ruining the planet, and discuss Duke's enlistment in the Army and deployment. Oh, throw a little science in there now and again, since that's supposed to be why they're there.

Wash, lather, repeat.

Finally, at the 70% mark, get around to the murder that's featured so prominently in the blurb. Jack's either had his head hit, or he's hit his head while falling/stumbling or something. Tess is on the beach, and for some reason her bikini top is loosened or off. Duke is first to the scene, and he reties Tess' top, then for some odd reason, drags Jack's body about ten feet or so. And this is the part where I got mad, after sitting through all these social things the author clearly wanted to say. o they need to be said? Yes. Are they important things? Absolutely. Did they need to be said like this, instead of in, say, a nonfiction book, instead of with a half-hearted murder thrown in? Nope.

In a world obsessed with images and videos, and the one time you would absolutely want to take either pictures and/or videos, and preferably both - like when there's been a murder (maybe) or a death by misadventure (maybe) - no one in your entire party thinks to do so? Or at least, with all the science nerds in the group who are used to drawing mud layouts or strata, at least make some sketches of the scene, not a single brainiac thinks to do so? Come on. Nothing at all is done to preserve the scene. But you know what does happen?

Everyone with the ability and in the right place to do so wants to take the credit/blame for the murder of a terrible man. Carol, his wife, she wants the blame. Then Glen, then Duke. There's even a brief discussion of Tess having done it, without remembering. Jenny decides she and Ray will talk to everyone, but by this time, they've all been talking amongst themselves, and both of them act like they're never spoken to another human being in this instance.

In the end, they dig a shallow grave - the "Fresh Grave" of the title - put Jack in it, and move on, intending to get to a particular spot in the river, which is the next it of civilization (sort of, it's the next station on the river). There is a Canadian group about a day behind them. Do they wait and say anything to the Canadians, or ask them if they can use their satphone to call ahead (Jenny's crew lost theirs into the water when shooting some rapids; Duke finds it, but it's a goner)? Nope. They let the Canadians go ahead an then they mount up and head downriver.

Keep in mind, this is all at the 70% mark when Jack is killed. That leaves next to no time, book-wise, to get to the bottom of it, and the only bottom of it we have is a bunch of conflicting confessions. in the end, no one is blamed, they report Jack's death as misadventure, and that's it.

I wanted to like it. Small group, killer among us, rafting in sometimes dangerous conditions, with a hundred things that could go wrong, and basically cut off from civilization? That should be a great story. Unfortunately, we got a lot of social justice and environmental stuff, and the afterthought of a murder. None of the characters really moves past the trope tied around their necks except, ironically, Jack, who winds up killed because he's the epitome of a bunch of things wrong with the world today.

As a sidenote: the Ray/Duke romance is not, really. They share one kiss, and usually snuggle up in their sleeping bags when stopping for the nights, but every other chance to be alone is interrupted. There's a slight hint of things going somewhere at the end, but Ray lives elsewhere, so who knows. This is an undeveloped subplot.

It seems the author couldn't make up their mind as to what they really wanted to write. If it was about all the social stuff, I'd give it maybe 3.5 stars. As a mystery, I'm giving it two stars out of five. Sorry.

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.
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What an interesting story idea.   You're on a rafting trip and there is a murder along the way.  Who did it and why? Is it someone in your party or is something else out there? 
These are questions the team is asking.  Can you trust anyone's answers? 
This is the first book I've read by Lee Patton and the story plot is what drew me to it but it seemed like there wasn't much character development.
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