Lost Canyon


Finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award
One of the San Francisco Chronicle’s 100 Recommended Books of 2015

Four people on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada find more adventure than they ever imagined. They are drawn to the mountains for reasons as diverse as their own lives. Gwen Foster, a counselor for at-risk youth, is struggling with burnout from the demands of her job and mourning the loss of one of her teens. Real estate agent Oscar Barajas is adjusting to the fall of the housing market and to being a single parent. Todd Harris, an attorney, is stuck in a lucrative but unfulfilling career—and in a failing marriage. They are all brought together by their trainer, Tracy Cole, a former athlete with a taste for risky pursuits.

After an unexpected change in plans, the hikers start a 30-mile loop on a pristine mountain trail that hasn’t been traveled in years—or so they think. All they have to guide them is a hand-drawn map of a remote, mysterious place called Lost Canyon. At first, the route past high alpine lakes and under towering, snow-capped peaks offers all the freedom and exhilaration they’d hoped for. But then they stumble onto someone who doesn’t want to be found, and this chance encounter leads to a series of dangerous conflicts, moral dilemmas, confrontations with nature, and an all-out struggle for survival.

Moving effortlessly between city and wilderness, Lost Canyon explores the ways that race, class, and culture shape experience and perception. It examines the choices good people must face in desperate situations. It depicts the power and beauty of the natural world. Set in the grand, wild landscape of the California mountains, Lost Canyon is a story of brewing social tensions and breathtaking adventure that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


“An edgy and spellbinding writer with an uncanny gift for aligning human struggles with nature’s glories and perils…With ravishing descriptions of the magnificent landscape, unrelenting suspense, incisive psychology, and shrewd perspectives on matters of race and gender, Revoyr has created a gripping tale of unintended adventure and profound transformation.”

—Booklist, starred review

“Revoyr travels L.A.’s patchwork neighborhoods–delineating gangs and money, color and prejudice–and nicely sketches ‘the grand, untamed Sierra.’ A tense…morality tale formed in the crucible of physical duress.”
Kirkus Reviews

“(A) heart-hammering literary thriller…almost as much of a rush as scaling the sheer, icy rock of the Sierra Nevada.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“While this story takes place in the Sierras, the mental landscape is Los Angeles….Linked to complicated national issues, imbued with layered representations of Angelenos, (Revoyr) has brought us an intellectually adroit, emotionally nerve-wracking, page-turning thriller.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“One of (L.A.’s) finest scribes, with a deep understanding of the city’s histories and textures…the novel pulses with both beauty and terror.”
Los Angeles Times

“One of the city’s great storytellers.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“An exciting, page-turning adventure story…the conclusion will both surprise and satisfy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Revoyr expertly captures the calming effects of forest, creeks, and looming canyon walls on city dwellers…Imagine Deliverance set on the contemporary West Coast.”
—BBC, 2015’s “Best Beach Reads”

“A direct, bangin’ read…The musings of the three (protagonists)…set the tale refreshingly apart from the usual adventure genre crap.”
Library Journal

“One of L.A.’s greatest contemporary novelists.”

“Four urbanites from Los Angeles embark on an uncharted trail, invoking shadows of Deliverance in this fast-paced story which celebrates the mountain world of rock, sky, and woods. Nina Revoyr’s wilderness thriller leaves readers as breathless as the hikers.”
–Ron Carlson, author of The Signal

“Four unlikely Angelinos on a backpacking trip in the High Sierra discover that the perils of contemporary life don’t stop at the trailhead. Rarely have the glories and hardship of backcountry travel, and the grandeur of this landscape, been so effectively portrayed. Revoyr strikes gold with this unexpected, fast-moving tale of high-altitude danger.”
—Janet Fitch, author of Paint It Black

“Nobody knows Los Angeles like Nina Revoyr! Sharp-witted and big-hearted, Lost Canyon shows us what happens when the melting pot boils over. If you’re brave enough to handle the truth about American race relations, this is the book for you.”
–Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow