After Imogen survives a traumatic attack at a synagogue, her twin sister Beck suggests that they join an old friend, Tilda, on a hiking trip through the Grand Canyon's backcountry. On the hike, tensions from the women's shared past bubble up—and someone seems to be following their trail.
... while there are horrific moments, this is a psychological thriller of the highest order. It’s a story that will get under your skin and keep you feeling uneasy right through to the dramatic ending ... It won’t be long before the culprit is revealed…and boy, what an impact this character will have on the tale. At no point will you feel good about the situation and most likely will turn each page in fearful anticipation of what might happen next. I will not spoil the fun in this review, but I will say that Imogen will step up and make a bold choice that will take the book to an entirely different level. Getaway is not for the squeamish ... an unforgettable reading experience.
The insight Imogen admirably displays in Getaway as she battles her demons proves to be the novel’s greatest strength, but also its main stumbling point; It’s hard to believe that anyone would choose a moment when death seems imminent to calmly and even a bit sarcastically dissect old emotional wounds. The focus on character development in the book’s first third that proves so satisfying later grates and slows down the pace in the middle of the novel when the tone doesn’t pivot sharply enough to suit the dangerous situation that develops. When some of the book’s middle sections occasionally prove to be less than thrilling, what will pull readers through are the complex and distinctive characters Stage has created in Imogen, Beck, and Tilda ... Though somewhat uneven, Getaway delivers chilling moments against the stunning backdrop of the Grand Canyon and an unexpected, but totally empowering women supporting women message.
Within the first pages of Getaway, I already found myself at a place of unease. The traumatic event that Imogen survives is essentially a fictionalized version of the Tree of Life shooting, and while there are moments that set it apart from the events that day, in general, it's described fairly closely to the tragedy. Starting Getaway this way creates a problem for me as a reader. When creating a storyline based on a real event, you run the risk of reality clashing with the fiction you’ve created as a writer. The rest of the book, the fear it tries to create, the dread and terror, all pale in comparison to the real-life event on which it is based. I became trapped in the remembrance of Oct. 27, 2018, and couldn’t get out of it to really delve deep into the rest of the book ... I love a good, complex character. But something about Gale’s characterization didn’t sit right with me. Despite Imogen’s struggle to see him as human, he’s ultimately just a boogeyman the women encounter on their quest to become stronger selves. Maybe as a reader, I’m as naive as Imogen, who wants to see the humanity in someone, especially someone who’s been the victim of the criminal justice system. But every move Gale makes seems out of character ... In the end, it reminded me of a horror movie, one I find myself struggling to sit with and wanting to fast forward through because of my discomfort. Stage is a talented writer who knows how to create a world, and I appreciate her adding complexity to her characters, but ultimately, I think the book gets stuck in the first few pages. Wanting to know what evils they will encounter spurns you to read further, but the villain of the Canyon is not as scary as the Canyon itself, or the real-life event the first few pages are based on.