By Nevada Barr
"All isn't good in grizzly country...Barr's pink herrings and sly twists culminate in a single large payoff." (Entertainment Weekly)
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Rory's father and stepmother are camped at Fifty Mountain," Joan said into the radio. " "We'll work on it," Ruick promised and Joan left it at that. They followed directions, eating as much as they could, resting, then hiking down to the trail. The day shared its misery, cool and rainy: warm enough that rain gear left one overheated and sweating, cold enough to give a severe chill if one got thoroughly wet. A day without a whole hell of a lot to recommend it, as far as Anna was concerned. Shortly before noon they met up with the search party and led them the three quarters of a mile back to their camp.
The searchers fairly chortled and glowed over the airwaves. Everyone needed to quip, joke, to say some clever thing. Understanding this phenomenon, Ruick let the good times effervesce at the cost of radio discipline for exactly two minutes. Anna saw him look at his watch timing it. Then he cut it off with orders. Since he and Anna were closest to where Rory waited with the hikers, they would cut cross-country from West Flattop to Flattop Trail, bypassing Fifty Mountain Camp, and collect their truant Earthwatcher.
Motherhood was an alien world. Who could predict which forms of insanity were fostered there? "Hot drinks," she declared, naming the universal panacea for all wilderness ills. "Shouldn't we ... We've got to . " Joan cast vaguely around for an action. Logic won. " Glad to be doing something, Anna headed to the far side of what had been their stargazing rock and now looked unsettlingly like a sacrificial altar, to where they'd hung the bear-pack. Each step closer to the black beneath the trees drove fear up into her innards.
Blood Lure by Nevada Barr