Panic Rising

Brett Nunn, Author Sasquatch Books $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-57061-350-0
Nunn's third-person recounting of others' real-life scrapes with death in the great outdoors will make even seasoned adventurers think twice before testing Mother Nature's limits. Nunn, a contributor to Audubon, compiles 20 tales of outdoor recreation gone wrong in his native, northwestern corner of the U.S. Activities from snowmobiling to surfing have disastrous consequences for their enthusiast perpetrators, but there's good news: as revealed by the book's subtitle, these are survivor's tales. Everyone gets rescued in the nick of time, thanks to well-coordinated displays of individual grace and rescue patrol heroism.""Sheer luck and the selfless courage of strangers are all that stood between them and death on that day,"" ends the chapter""Swallowed Up,"" which tells the story of a mother and daughter whose impromptu sledding adventure leads to a horrible accident. While it's a relief to know that everyone ends up more or less okay, it also takes the suspense out of reading the stories. By the fourth one, they begin to feel formulaic, despite their varied topographical and adventuresome elements. The crisis points and potential for resolution are clear by the second page of each chapter: the stakes are laid out and since the ultimate outcome is known, they're not even all that high. There's nothing inherently wrong with front-loading the action and accelerating the drama like this, but when the end of each story is expected, it makes for a repetitive, if not cliched, work.
Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!