Rim to Rim: Death in the Grand Canyon
by Jeanne Meeks

Chart House Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-492-13024-6.
Reviewed by Pat Bean
Posted on 09/22/2014

Fiction: Mystery

I often choose mystery books to read based on their settings, which is exactly the reason I chose to read Rim to Rim by Jeanne Meeks. This book takes places in the Grand Canyon, a landscape I love, and where I've hiked often, and twice floated through its Colorado River canyon floor.

It was clear from the author's first descriptions of the canyon that the author was truly familiar with this awesome wonder. Her descriptions of the landscape let me take the "Rim to Rim" hike with her.

This is a book in which the landscape is as much a protagonist as the woman who came to the canyon to discover who she was after her husband of 29 years left a note for her saying he had gotten a divorce lawyer, and advised her to get one as well.

The book (which one reviewer called "chick-lit") is a first book for Meeks. She says that it was inspired by her love of the outdoors and her late-bloomer backpacking experiences. Writing Rim to Rim, she said, "was a way for me to jazz up and fictionalize my outdoors adventures."

While I found the mystery a bit on the weak side through most of the book, this lack was made up for by Meeks' take on the Grand Canyon adventure itself, making me eager to keep turning pages. The book's characters, who besides the villains and protagonist, include a dewy-eyed young woman, a seasoned Grand Canyon ranger, and an experienced lesbian backpacker, all rang true. I have met real people, like the fictional ones who hiked through the pages of Meeks' book, many times in real life. And in the end, as good mysteries should do, all the loose ends tossed out in Rim to Rim were tied up in the final chapter in Agatha Christie fashion.

I will definitely read Meeks' second book, Wolf Pack: Mystery on Isle Royale, which was recently released.

Jeanne Meeks has a bachelor's degree in business, and ran a video surveillance business with her husband for 28 years. She became enthused about backpacking in 2005, and thinks of her outdoor mystery books as a way to fictionalize her adventures. She and her husband spend summers in a small town southwest of Chicago and winters on the southwest coast of Florida. She has two sons and five grandchildren and thinks that "life is good." Visit her website.

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