Reagan’s Ashes: Nothing Goes as Planned
February 27, 2015
AUTHOR JIM HESKETT takes readers on a vicarious hike with Reagan Darby on the Rocky Mountain National Park’s Tonahutu Loop. But Reagan’s plan for a spiritual sojourn ends abruptly when she is joined by two uninvited cousins.
Reagan is on a mission.
The cousins have an agenda of their own.
Reagan’s boyfriend, “Spoon,” is on a parallel journey with other adversaries. While Reagan deals with the cousins, weather, and wildlife, Spoon has a whole flock of soon to be in-laws with which to deal. If only this were as simple as The Newlywed Game.
Nothing goes as planned.
Both Reagan and Spoon must overcome physical and mental challenges cloaked in the burden of grief. The ensemble cast has been assembled by Heskett as the result of a funeral. We’re reminded of the motley crew from the movie, The Big Chill. In this case, the dearly departed is Reagan’s father and has some surprising connections with each of the others.
A significant sum of money is missing and the urn containing Dad’s ashes is this story’s maltese falcon.
Author Jim Heskett is himself an avid hiker and skier (living in Colorado), and has hiked almost every trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. He says, “I wanted to capture the grit of the trail, to make a book that almost felt like a hiking guide.” He accomplishes his goals in fine style. In addition, Heskett pulls the reader into Reagan’s world of desperation, anxiety, and hallucinations with his deft use of tools available to the savvy author. Sudden and dramatic changes in tense, person, and setting gives readers a sense of what it is like when a bipolar patient misses their medicine for several days.
Reagan relies on advice learned in a mental hospital, “You have one thing you have to do: stay alive and keep on breathing.” Heskett weaves a provoking tale and keeps his readers interested and reading.
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