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Rock Bottom (Em Hansen Mystery #11)

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Rivers, oceans, streams, lakes—it doesn’t matter what shape it takes, Em Hansen is terrified of the water. She hasn’t shared her phobia with her new husband, Fritz, and when his best friend, Tiny, organizes a month-long, private, white-water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon as a wedding gift, she can’t tell him how awful the trip sounds. Fritz and Tiny cobble together ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published November 22nd 2011)
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Didn't like the protagonist at all. Aside from the fact that she persisted in referring to her husband's 13-year-old son as a "lad" at EVERY possible opportunity, the dialog is stilted and non-realistic.

Furthermore, she never missed a chance to pontificate - at GREAT length - about the sacred science of geology, and she considered it her task in life to rescue the afore-mentioned "lad" from his belief in God over science. Expressing one's beliefs is one thing. Being patronizing and offensive ab
This was a very good mystery by Sarah Andrews featuring her “forensic geologist” Em Hansen. I liked how the story was told via two separate paths, out of time with each other, and using different ways to tell the story. So while the primary story involved Em, her new husband Fritz and her stepson Brandon going on a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, we learn early on, through the eyes a National Park Service investigator, that one of the party has been murdered. In the meantime, the rafting par ...more
Caveat: My first major in college was geology; I always head to the new books section in the Library first. I just took a floating trip down the Grand Canyon with a geologist! Years ago, I passed up a chance to float the Canyon with the Department of Earth Science (Montana State University) geologists on one of their annual trips.
This story was well-done from the scientific point of view: the narrator was explaining the geology to a thirteen-year-old boy, which makes a complex topic more underst
It's great to read another Em Hansen book. Some new bits of geology that lend to Hansen's well-rounded experience. But geology, much less forensic geology, isn't really a significant part of this story compared to many of the previous books. And when geology comes up in the book, it comes across as deliberate, interspersed to continue the geology underpinning of the series. I also would have liked to see more depth to the characters - there remains little explanation of much of the antagonist's ...more
I really looked forward to reading this book, mainly because of the location. Unfortunately, I found the protagonist so thoroughly unlikeable, even the location couldn't rescue this book for me. The writing was competent, but the plot was slow and plodding, and the supporting cast of characters never did come to life. The protagonist's relationship with her stepson created the first big hurdle for me. She was so cold and unfeeling toward the kid, I just wanted to pack him up and send him home to ...more
I saw this in the new books section of the library and was instantly pulled in by the topic (Grand Canyon rafting) and lead character (female geologist). But I didn't know it was book 11 in a series, so I missed all the references to previous characters and events. However, I liked it well enough that I started over at book 1 in the series. I might have to read this again once I've caught up in the series. It was an entertaining story of a rafting party through the Grand Canyon - probably someth ...more
This is the first in the series I've read. I think there are about ten earlier ones. I picked it up because it's set on a self-guided Colorado Rover trip through Grand Canyon. On our 20-odd trips we've joked and played around with scenarios for murder mysteries set there but have never got very far. She has plotted out a reasonably convincing tale with some good sub-plots, science-geology vs religion-creationist and while there is maybe a tad too much explanation about the workings of a river tr ...more
Sheppard  Hobgood
Sep 14, 2012 Sheppard Hobgood rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes outdoor adventure
This book is a natural for someone who has taken a few geology courses and multiple trips down sections of the Colorado River. I liked it. The only mystery I read previously was the Maltese Falcon and I'll add to my mystery reading in the future. There is always at least one super jerk on any river trip with ten or more people and there are always people who will go to any length to spend as much time on the river as possible. Although the bad guy, Wink, may seem a bit unbelievable, his ilk are ...more
Jeanne Applegarth
Jan 24, 2015 Jeanne Applegarth marked it as to-read
Lots of books
Mary Ellen
I regret that I have not yet been to the grand canyon and I have never taken a geology class. So I forgive the author for, what some reviews call, an excessive edification agenda. I actually appreciated the science background and the travelogue of the river rafting trip. I will read another in this series.
This was a good mystery that gave away some answers early on, but still had a few surprises in store as the story progressed. I particularly enjoyed it because it brought back memories of my raft trip on the Colorado River a few years ago. There was enough geology to keep rock fans happy, without scaring off people who were not interested in geology. It may have been a little hard on some religious groups,but had some good insights into how teenagers think and feel.

In this latest Sarah Andrews book her series character Em Hansen, a forensic geologist, is off on a month long white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. She is on the trip with her new husband and his 13 year old son. The rest of the party is made up of fourteen people and one last minute addition to the party who is not quite what he claims to be. This book has wonderful descriptions of the breathtaking scenery and geology and who done it mystery.
Good story line that appeared to die at the end. Solution to the mystery seems to be put together quickly s a way to end the book. I like the geology and the main character--- the author puts a lot of work into these areas. This story line pits the science of the Grand Canyon versus religious fundamentalism but does it in such a way that is not preachy. Again, I liked the book but the ending left something to be desired.
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I have read all the Em Hansen books and have loved them. It has been a long time since the last one and this one was worth the wait. She weaves the mystery with lots of talk of geology, ecology, and evolution/creationism. Sometimes it was a lot of geology, but it was all interesting. I have not been in a raft in the Grand Canyon but I am familiar with the area and that made it more special.
Curt Stratman
After 4 or 5 years away, geologist Em Hanson has returned! This is simply another in a long line of great reads by geologist/author Sarah Andrews, and although the wait was long, it was well worth it. By all mean, buy this book! Then, after you've read and thoroughly enjoyed it, go back and start at the beginning of the series. There are eleven more great reads, just like this one!
I just finished a 9 day canoe trip down the Green River in country with very similar geology and river life without the rapids. I enjoyed the descriptions of the river and the formations. However the story was a little weak and the dialogue/ interactions were not very satisfactory. It got poorer towards the end with a bit far fetched ending.
Robin Bailey
Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Made me want to raft-trip down the canyon. Enjoyed the brief delving into science vs belief discussions.

Merged review:

Loved the descriptions of the geology of the Grand Canyon--probably one of the few things I've read to make me want to take that rafting trip myself (without the bad guy along, of course).
This is one of a mystery series, with the main character being a geologist, hence the title name. There were some interesting characters and story line here, pretty much your basic murder mystery. A few places here and there that made me say, "Hmm...", but I don't have to agree with everything I read.
Carolyn Haley
The latest in this geologist-based mystery series. See my review at New York Journal of Books:
Donna Herrick
thanks for explaining the geology to me in the midst of an unfolding mystery! i would have lked to see this book illustrated with photos nd rough sketchees
Feb 13, 2013 Jan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Good enough for me to look for more in this series. Some of the geology explanations were eother over my hrad or I wadnt interested, not sure which
Carol Alexander
I enjoy the series but since I do not have a foundation in geology some of the descriptions are beyond me and distracting.
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Sarah Andrews is a geologist who writes mystery novels about a geologist.

She currently lives in northern California and invests her free time on community pursuits and flying, skiing, and sailing with her husband and son.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Sarah Andrews...

Other Books in the Series

Em Hansen Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Tensleep (Em Hansen Mystery, #1)
  • A Fall in Denver (Em Hansen Mystery, #2)
  • Mother Nature (Em Hansen Mystery, #3)
  • Only Flesh and Bones (Em Hansen Mystery, #4)
  • Bone Hunter (Em Hansen Mystery, #5)
  • An Eye for Gold (Em Hansen Mystery, #6)
  • Fault Line (Em Hansen Mystery, #7)
  • Killer Dust (Em Hansen Mystery, #8)
  • Earth Colors (Em Hansen Mystery, #9)
  • Dead Dry (Em Hansen Mystery, #10)
Bone Hunter (Em Hansen Mystery, #5) Tensleep (Em Hansen Mystery, #1) Fault Line (Em Hansen Mystery, #7) A Fall in Denver (Em Hansen Mystery, #2) In Cold Pursuit: A Mystery From The  Last Continent (Valena Walker, #1)

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