The Hike is half romance, and half mystery, with a bit of suspense, and a bit of horror and gore, when two friends go on a 300 mile hike through the Southern California desert to the mountains of Big Bear Lake, with their respective dogs, a tent, a two-person sleeping bag, cans of Spam, dry foods, and whatever else they might need on this hike.
During the first half of this book, we meet and get to know Ash and Tuck, best friends since forever, who had a drunken night of sex on a previous vacation that was then never mentioned again, but who both want the other but are afraid of fessing up their feelings. For about 50% or so, as they gear up for their trip and set out into the great outdoors, we get to see how their relationship begins to grow, how they confess their feelings, how they get closer and become true lovers. The dialogue flows well, and as usual the author succeeded in creating realistic characters and emotions. The strength of their connection and the love they have for each other is part of what sees them through the horror they're about to face.
There are a few hints in those early days that not all is as it seems, and I couldn't help but start to become more and more concerned as the tension increased. These city boys were missing all the signs, and I just knew that something big was waiting to come down all around them.
Which it does in the 2nd half of this book.
We are introduced to an older guy who lives in a cabin on his own, with just his dog, where our two friends stop for a night.
Ash and Tuck meet a woman hiking the same trail. They camp for a night, and then the next day, all hell breaks loose.
I won't give away the rest of this book, but be warned. It gets scary, really scary, and gory, and I was on the edge of my seat until the climactic ending.
Thankfully, the author gives us a sweet epilogue to bring the reader back down and able to breathe.
Out of all the books I've read by this author, this wasn't my favorite, but it was a solid novel, with a sweet beginning, building great tension in the middle, with a horrifying, tension-filled climax, and a gentle let-down that left me with a smile.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **