Title: The Hike
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 206 Pages
At a Glance: Once again, John Inman assures his spot as a topnotch horror writer who uses a deft hand to weave in just enough romance to ease the tension and keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Ashley James and Tucker Lee have been friends for years. They are city boys but long for life on the open trail. During a three-hundred-mile hike from the Southern California desert to the mountains around Big Bear Lake, they make some pretty amazing discoveries.
One of those discoveries is love. A love that has been bubbling below the surface for a very long time.
But love isn’t all they find. They also stumble upon a war—a war being waged by Mother Nature and fought tooth and claw around an epidemic of microbes and fury.
With every creature in sight turning against them, can they survive this battle and still hold on to each other? Or will the most horrifying virus known to man lay waste to more than just wildlife this time?
Will it destroy Ash and Tucker too?
Review: Well, after reading John Inman’s latest release, The Hike, I am essentially never going camping again. To say this one was a bit on the scary side, with a dash of realism thrown in for good measure, is downplaying the many heart-in-throat moments the novel caused this reviewer to experience. Right about the 50% mark of this story things began to go south, and the action/anxiety never let up till the epilogue. For those with weak stomachs, there is some definite carnage that is detailed with chilling precision, and one loss of life that may definitely cause you to both gasp in dismay and hate on this author for just a few chapters. But, I must tell you as far as love stories go, the coupling of Ashley and Tucker could not have been sweeter and their adventure could not have been more exciting.
Friends for years, one drunken night led to some rather awkward moments for besties Ashley and Tuck. Now if only Ashley can figure out if Tucker wants to see where their relationship could possibly go without ruining their very close and near perfect friendship, he would be in heaven. So, when the opportunity to spend their vacation hiking to Big Bear Lake takes shape, Ashley is ready to take it on and, hopefully, discover if Tucker wants him as badly as Ash does Tuck. Fully prepared for anything, the two men set out with their dogs in tow, and discover not only love on the quiet trails they hike but also something far more menacing—something that may end their relationship, and their lives, before it even has a chance to get started.
With subtle clues and great skill, John Inman weaves a story that is both sweet and deadly. The blossoming love between Ash and Tuck is clearly the focus of this story, and if only reality didn’t have to crash the party, it would have been wonderful. But, there is something going on in the woods, and it’s truly not till near the end of the novel that the entire mystery comes clear and the real danger is exposed. Done with great care, the horror aspect of this story is really impeccable. I was on the edge of my seat more than once, and was shocked in a really good way by sudden plot twists. The anticipation of how and when the real terror was going to be revealed was actually part of the fun—it allowed for the tension to build oh-so-slowly and was a great payoff in the end.
I was also very happy to see that these guys were not written as clueless hikers who hadn’t done their homework and could have saved themselves from the danger that eventually reared its head. No, the author made these two smart and prepared, and that really added to the increasing sense of unease and genuine feelings of horror at how completely cut off they were in the end. It begged the question that if these hikers could fall prey after all they’d done to assure a safe hike, how could anyone ever survive?
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Once again, John Inman assures his spot as a topnotch horror writer who uses a deft hand to weave in just enough romance to ease the tension and keep the reader on the edge of their seat. He keeps his audience fully invested in the survival of his characters, who are so beautifully written. The Hike will be a worthy addition to anyone who enjoys well-written horror and suspense.
You can buy The Hike here: