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Fatal Descent (An RM Outdoor Adventures…
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Fatal Descent (An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery)

by Beth Groundwater

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Mandy and Rob have booked an off-season rafting and climbing trip in Utah's remote Canyonlands. Gonzo and Kendra come along and their hire "Cool" as their climbing expert. When they wake up one morning and find one of their clients has been killed in a bear attack, no one else heard, they know there is more to the story. With no way to contact anyone for help they realize they must continue the trip even though they may be traveling with a killer.

I didn't expect to like this book so much. It was a short read, 277 pages, that I had picked up because I am trying to introduce some new to me authors into my reading. The story moved along at a quick pace, not a lot of time was spent on what everyone was wearing and the characters were likable and believable. I do know now that I read the 3rd book first, but it didn't take away from the pure enjoyment of the story.
( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
“Fatal Descent” by Beth Groundwater

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do—still on my bucket list—is whitewater rafting. But after reading “Fatal Descent,” I know I will take Groundwater’s story with me on the rapids, hoping that the thrill of the fiction doesn’t come to fruition.
Mandy Tanner and Rob Juarez, engaged to be married, enjoy the outdoors and own RM Outdoor Adventures. Together, they entertain and guide clients rafting and climbing to and through some absolutely fascinating and beautiful places.
“Fatal Descent” is set in Utah on the Colorado River where beauty lies along with some pretty dangerous rapids. But the hazardous whitewater they expect to experience is the least of Mandy and Rob’s worries. The rapids—as the reader soon finds out—pale in comparison to the murder that ensues, especially when they realize that one of their clients is the killer and they may be marked as the next to go.
To make matters worse, their radio—their only source of communication to the outside world—has been compromised and is completely useless. Mandy and Rob must figure out who killed one of their clients while curtailing further murderous attempts. But another of their customers almost dies rappelling down a cliff and the risks become greater.
Cascading down the rapids is thrilling, but when there’s a killer in the midst, it becomes horrifying.
A very entertaining read with rich depictions of the Utah area. I will be looking forward to more Groundwater escapades.

Reviewed by Starr Gardinier Reina, author of “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” ( )
  StarrReina | Jul 27, 2015 |
This is a third in the series and I'm still really enjoying spending time with Mandy and Rob. This time they are taking a group white-water rafting down the Colorado River in Utah, to Lake Powell. There is a large people on the trip, Mandy, Rob, Kendra, and Gonzo are all part of RM Outfitters, "Cool" O'Day is a hire from Utah to help with the guiding and climbing, the rest are clients. There is a family of six, a group of three girlfriends and another smaller family of only three.

There are conflicts amongst the families, some minor spats but nothing that truly upsets Mandy and Rob, just business as usual when dealing with so many different personalities that are also cut off from outside influences.

When one member is found dead Mandy and Rob are determined to get down the river to get help but not so fast that they ruin the trip for the rest of the customers.

This one kept me guessing and at one time I did guess the right killer, but it took a while for me to be sure.

Looking forward to more in this series. ( )
  bookswoman | Oct 6, 2013 |
Fatal Descent is the third book in the RM Adventures Mystery Series. Having read all three of these mysteries, Fatal Descent is the best one, but I expected it would be. Any new series takes one or two books to really get started so the reader knows, just for starters, who not to suspect of the crime. So, when I read Fatal Descent, I was familiar with the main characters and without exception liked all of them. Beth Groundwater has structured these novels so that it's almost like reading about a family sharing similar interests and often having similar ideas about what they do for a living.

And what they do for a living is, for me, dangerous. I enjoy reading about the rafting, although I don't see myself ever doing it. Instead, I'll live vicariously through the adventures of Mandy and Rob as they undertake what to me is white knuckle travels often leading a bunch of novices who may do something totally stupid thereby setting off yet more white knuckle moments. That certainly appears to be the case in Fatal Descent.

As though it isn't enough to be facing travel through white water in a raft, there is a killing of one of the members of the rafting party. At the same time, the group's radio, their only link to the outside world, is ruined, so the group not only has to be fearful of what is assumed to be a rogue grizzly bear, but they also have to lug a dead body with them to the end of their trip.

This is a nightmare of the first order, and both Mandy and Rob need to use all their skills, plus a few they didn't know they had, to get the rest of their rafting group to safety. When they figure out that the killing may not have been caused by a grizzly bear at all; that they probably have a murder on their hands, things get kicked up a notch.

The mystery part of this book was well written and plotted. For me, though, that's not the only reason I like to read this genre. Groundwater's descriptions of the scenery, flora, and fauna observed on this trip gave me a sense of being there and being able to picture what those characters saw. I knew very little about what one could expect to experience on these expeditions, and for me, it was fascinating.

I am looking forward to reading book 4 in this series, but in the meantime, there's also Beth Groundwater's next book in her Handbasket series coming out in November. I recommend both series to anyone who enjoys both cozies and adventure series. ( )
  GabbyHayze | Jun 12, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0738734829, Paperback)

Between a rock and a hard paddle

Mandy Tanner and her fiancé Rob are leading an offseason rafting-climbing trip in Utah’s remote Canyonlands. Experienced guides, Mandy and Rob know they have to keep their cool after one of their group, Alex Anderson, appears to have become bear bait. Walled off from the outside world with eleven shell-shocked clients and miles of Colorado River whitewater ahead, Mandy’s nerves threaten to unravel when she learns that Alex’s death was not the work of a homicidal grizzly. Whether it was a crime of passion or the random act of a psychopath, Mandy fears that if they don’t root out the river rat among them, another camper will be running the rapids in a body bag.

Praise:
“A remarkable book by an author who clearly knows and loves her territory. Don’t miss it!”—William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of the Cork O’Connor series

“Once again, Groundwater, mixing mystery with outdoor adventure, comes up with an excursion that will please most comers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A thrilling journey . . . filled with river lore, vivid descriptions . . . and loving depictions of the varied characters.”—Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:50 -0400)

Mandy Tanner and her fianc Rob are leading an off-season rafting-climbing trip in Utah's remote Canyon lands. Experienced guides, Mandy and Rob know they have to keep their cool after one of their group, Alex Anderson, appears to have become bear bait. Walled off from the outside world with eleven shell-shocked clients and miles of Colorado River whitewater ahead, Mandy's nerves threaten to unravel when she learns that Alex's death was not the work of a homicidal grizzly. Whether it was a crime of passion or the random act of a psychopath, Mandy fears that if they don't root out the river rat among them, another camper will be running the rapids in a body bag.--From back cover.… (more)

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