Leave No Trace - Hannah Nyala For Tally Nowata a trip to Australia was supposed to be a well deserved vacation. She was looking forward to spending a little quiet time with her lover Paul. Instead, the trip turns into her worst nightmare. Paul left to pick up his daughter at the airport fourteen days ago. He was only supposed to be gone a few hours. Stranded alone in the scorching desert with very little water and even less food Tally must seek out the nearest town (which is an insurmountable length away) in order to survive. As a skilled Search and Rescue Wilderness Ranger in the Rocky Mountains, Tally has had extensive training in survival methods. Unfortunately, Tally is out of her element and all of her survival training is virtually useless in the desolate desert.

As Tally leaves the relative safety of the camp she and Paul had built she soon stumbles upon the grisly truth behind Paul’s disappearance and realizes she’s in far greater danger than she ever anticipated. Hidden in Paul’s ruined vehicle Tally finds Paul’s young daughter (from a failed marriage) Josie who has managed to survive on the meager supplies left in the vehicle. The discovery of Josie gives Tally a reason to carry on even when grief threatens to undo her. She must, at all costs, get the girl to safety.

Gripping from page one “Leave No Trace” only intensifies as Tally must not only struggle to survive against impossible odds but finds herself running for her life. Though tense and filled with suspense the book shines as Tally and Josie, initially wary of each other, get to know each other on a level most people will never experience. Both need each other to survive and forge a bond that gives them the drive to needed to get through the endless days and nights. The characters experience incredible growth and Tally, especially, finds it a life altering experience.

I’ve never had to struggle to survive nor have I been stranded in a barren desert but the author brings the terrifying experience to vivid life. The things Tally and Josie must do in order to survive are sometimes disturbing and are gruesomely described but never for shock value. The story slows down here and there but never for any tedious length of time. Just when it seems like everything will be okay another overwhelming obstacle is thrown in the way. The desperate search for food, the delirium, exhaustion and unexpected wounds and, again, the careful attention to character development make this book an unforgettable experience.