I enjoyed Lotz' novel Day Four, and when I saw this new hardcover at Barnes and Noble I couldn't resist it. It centers on Simon, an adventure-seeker in his youth who's now an out-of-shape contributor (and partner in) a web site dedicated to presenting grisly photos and video. When he sets up a trip into a dangerous cave system to try and photograph the remains of a decades-old tragedy there, he has to confront many of his own fears - and the increasingly-disturbing fallout from the expedition.
While his footage does give the web site a great start, leading to massive success and eventual wealth for him and his partner Thierry, it hasn't improved his life - and when, some years later, Thierry urges him to undertake an expedition to Mt. Everest to try for photos of the recently-rediscovered frozen body of a famed and long-lost woman, he doesn't want to do it. But there are reasons why he feels he must - too much would be a spoiler here - and he finds himself learning to live again amid the companionship of the thrill-seeking climbers.
Alternating with his story are excerpts from the journal of a climber whose story eventually dovetails with Simon's. There are fascinating revelations, some having to do with the cost of an avid preoccupation with danger on family and friends, others focusing on the morality of morbid curiosity (something I struggle with - I'm fascinated by dramatic discoveries of mountain-peak mummies, long-lost-in-the-desert skeletons, etc.), and more.
While Simon himself isn't always easy to like, I sympathized with him at times, and overall I enjoyed the story very much. The elements of haunting, of the often-reported hallucination of someone else being present in remote and dangerous places, the personal revelations that change the course of lives... and the impressive details of the expeditions, from the cave to the mountain, all appealed to me. (I was impressed that the author included a bibliography - rare in a novel - with lots of great books on mountaineering and caving, many of which I've read and enjoyed myself.)
I enjoyed this one enough that I'll be re-reading it via audiobook soon!