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Synopsis

In 1977, a group of twelve friends, high tech graduate students, go backpacking on obscure trails leaving from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Several of the hikers are destined to be part of the Silicon Valley elite. The first five days of the hike are wonderful, as hikers go from Big Saddle, down to Thunder River, the second biggest spring system in the Grand Canyon. The hikers walk in streams in narrow canyons, climb ancient rocks, and sunbathe in a shallow pool. On the last morning, as the hikers plan to ascend back up to Monument Point on the North Rim, tragedy strikes. Only eleven friends hike out. Stephen’s death was declared an accident, but not everyone was so sure.

A little over thirty years later, one of their number, Cari, dies of breast cancer and they all gather again for her Memorial. Several of them have gone on to become successful millionaires in Silicon Valley. Some do research at Stanford, while others hold positions in companies like Apple and Oracle. Then another accident occurs.
Mackenzie Cleyborn, aka Zie, a forensic geotechnical engineer, who went on the 1977 Grand Canyon hike, and her Santa Clara County detective friend, Trejean Baptiste, begin investigating. Zie now runs a small engineering firm in Portland, OR, which works to clean up hazardous material spills, but she also is a forensic engineering expert. At 5’ 11” inches, used to negotiating cleanups with oil companies, she’s formidable. Captain Trejean Baptiste has a demanding boss, and must fight for resources with help from his Lieutenant Tara Wilton. He also has to fend off another division in the sheriff’s department, who think the recent event is only an accident, and shouldn’t be investigated at all.

Zie and Trejean suspect that this most recent event was not an accident. They suspect that if the accident was planned, then the perpetrator could be in one of the elite Silicon Valley workplaces, or among the members of the old hiking group and their spouses. As Zie and Trejean’s team start investigating, they must navigate highly competitive Silicon Valley politics, where new technical developments may not be all they seem. The investigating team also soon finds that relationships among the hiking group’s members aren’t so sanguine after all…

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