The Hike

The Hike - John Inman Reviewed for Sinfully.

Ash and Tuck are two lovable citiots from San Diego who decide to take a three week hike through the desert, with their two dogs, for no reason other than to spend some time together. At least that was Ash’s ulterior motive in suggesting this trip. The two best friends spent one drunken night in Tijuana having sex a few months back and have awkwardly avoided it since. Ash plans to use this time to reconnect with Tuck and share his deeper feelings. So maybe they aren’t complete citiots; they planned well and outfitted themselves for the trip and Tuck is a bookworm with a vast knowledge of the area’s flora and fauna among other things. This comes in very handy when their trip suddenly turns into something out of a Stephen King story.

The first part of the book revolves around Ash and Tucker’s relationship and they are really adorable together. Tuck is a bit self-conscious of his body, but Ash can’t stop staring at him and won’t have any of Tuck’s shame. Ash is in awe of Tuck’s knowledge and abilities on the trail. The two both obviously want each other, but keep side-eyeing the other and starting to say things and changing their mind until they finally give in and talk about it. They have good banter, and obviously love each other very much. Their trip is going well, even better once they get romantic and decide to become a couple. Good thing both of them thought to bring certain supplies just in case!

The two have stayed off the main trail to avoid the crowded paths, but they do have some human contact including the reclusive Melvyn, who they meet up with off the trail and another hiker, Casey, who also has been avoiding the main path. It’s not long after their detour with Melvyn that they realize things are very wrong with the animals they have come across. It’s here in the second part of the story that the tension ratchets up and the men, their dogs, and everyone else in the area are soon fighting for their lives. I’ll tell you right now, not everyone makes it out of the book alive.

I always enjoy John Inman’s writing. Although the story is told from Ash’s POV, Tuck’s thoughts and feelings were conveyed just as well. You can tell he’s pining for Ash just as much as Ash is for him and when things get rough their protectiveness of each other is also very clear. There were one or two spots where Ash and Tuck made references that made them sound older than their stated ages but other than that I enjoyed their conversations. The nature the men are hiking through is well described from the desert to the hills, to the shacks in the woods and helps add to the feel of the tale.

This was on the less intense side of some of the suspense/thriller stories I’ve read from the author, but it still has its fair share of gore and shocking moments and a climactic, tension-filled ending. The Epilogue of the story wraps things up and it’s a touch bittersweet, but also romantic. Another fine read from John Inman.