The owner of a dysfunctional company arranges a mandatory team-building exercise at the Survive or Die survivalist camp, once the setting for a defunct reality TV show. When he receives a death threat, what surprises employees is not that someone wants their lecherous, hard-drinking boss dead. The surprise is that he’s not the first casualty.
The unexpected demise of a coworker’s husband barely causes a ripple. The annoying photographer’s death is attributed to natural causes. The excitement comes when the boss announces the winner of the week-long game will receive a raise, and the loser will be fired. Most employees dig in with grim determination. A few have other agendas.
Timid junior accountant and dedicated eco-warrior Sotheara Sok searches for evidence that toxic waste is being dumped illegally on the ranch. Aubrey Sommers plans to rekindle romance with her husband, despite her resentment at being stuck in the shabby camp. Factory laborer Jeremiah Jones stalks his coworkers in search of a woman with wide child-bearing hips to share his mountain man dream.
Their plans become derailed when unlikely accidents plague the camp. Tours of Going Batty Days and the Cannibal of Carver Pass Museum in nearby Lodgepole provide pieces to a disturbing puzzle. The three join forces with an old lady version of Chuck Norris, and a city-girl computer geek, as the week deteriorates from mock survival games to a fight for survival in the Colorado wilderness.
What I loved most about this book was that it flirted with potentially political hotbuttons, yet retained an objective viewpoint. That’s refreshing in this polarized world. Dilts gives a lot of respect to her characters. Next to that, I loved the idea of a has-been reality show becoming more real than itself. Lots of cool plays on theme and language; my cup of tea. The book flows well, with only a few hiccups when it comes to some score tally. I’m a visual guy and I would have loved to see some sort of graphic depicting the scores. But that’s just me. Folks who have dealt with team-building exercises, company rumors, and office drama will get some hearty laughs at the expense of the poor Bender Clips crew. It’s a wild mystery with endearing characters.
Wonderful mystery and adventure. Storyline anyone could read and enjoy.
[I received an electronic review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.] A twisty story with harrowing survival challenges, quirky characters, and murder. What a wild ride! Tons of characters felt like too much at the start, but in the end the story settles on about 10 or 12 with most of the action. Three POV characters also took some getting used to – I wasn’t sure who was the “sleuth” I was supposed to be tracking. But it’s necessary for the story which takes place over a vast setting and with all of the teams and motives and such. Once all the major pieces are in motion, I was comfortable with the structure and settled in for the twisty story. The action – survival challenges at a dilapidated camp – was engaging, and I didn’t want to put the book down as it raced towards the conclusion. There are some CRAZY twists in this one. Great for mystery fans who like stories with a lot going on – characters, challenges, motives, etc.