Today I am delighted to join the blog tour for The Hike, the brand new thriller from Susi Holliday. A big thank you to publisher Thomas & Mercer for the copy for review and to Tracy Fenton and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite to join the tour. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Four hikers enter the mountains. Only two return. But is it tragedy? Or treachery?
When sisters Cat and Ginny travel with their husbands to the idyllic Swiss Alps for a hiking holiday, it’s not just a chance to take in the stunning scenery. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with each other after years of drifting apart—and patch up marriages that are straining at the seams.
As they head into the mountains, morale is high, but as the terrain turns treacherous, cracks in the relationships start to show. With worrying signs that someone might be following them, the sun begins to set and exhaustion kicks in. Suddenly, lost high on a terrifying ridge, tensions spill over—with disastrous consequences.
When only two of the four hikers make it down from the mountain, the police press them for their story—but soon become suspicious when their accounts just don’t add up.
What really happened up on that ridge? Who are the survivors? And what secrets are they trying to hide?
And I thought my family was dysfunctional … If you have ever thought about going on a family vacation with a sibling that you have somewhat of a turbulent relationship with, then you might want to read this book to help you decide if it’s a good idea. Or maybe not – it might well give you the wrong idea too. Pacy, tense and full of conflict, this is family divisions pushed to the very limit … and possibly a little bit beyond too.
I’m not going to lie to you. I didn’t like any of the main characters. It’s possible that I hated them all, and if not all, then most definitely the significant majority. This is a group – two sisters and their respective husbands – for whom it was hard to feel even the lightest bit of sympathy and the compulsion to read on was driven more by Susi Holliday’s brilliant story telling and scene setting, and the way in which, after a very dramatic prologue which leaves us with almost too many questions, she gradually built upon the knowledge that drama is just around the corner, leading us into a story which is as surprising as it is intense. We know that something is coming, that something in this seemingly planned-to-perfection hike is about catastrophically wrong, what we don’t know, and cannot quite see coming, is what and why.
What I really enjoyed about the book is the way in which the author keeps the full truth well hidden. It is easy to see that this is a case of extreme sibling rivalry, the like you cannot begin to digest, and I am thankful that when Mandie and I go walking, we are generally very agreeable and the biggest debate or disagreement we have is over when to stop for coffee and whether to have cake. This pales into insignificance when stacked up against the argument that is brewing between Cat and Ginny, two women who are the epitome of chalk and cheese.
Neither is portrayed in a very flattering light, and I can honestly see many reasons why one might be tempted to take issue with the other, but by god, they both deserved a slap. Susi Holliday has pitched them, and their differences, perfectly, getting under our skin in a way that possibly made me want to read on to see if both of them might suffer some terrible, and this enjoyable, fate. Whether they do you will need to read to understand, but what comes to pass still feels surprising and yet inevitable. We know we are building to some real crunch point, that the story is leading to a very dark place for some of the party, but not the who or why. Even when we think we know, there are still surprises in store so don’t for one minute let your guard down. The book is not done with us yet.
This was a pacy read, partly driven by the desire to know what happened, but also finding that i was propelled on by the sense of jeopardy which is carefully developed from the very beginning of their little expedition. Setting is key, and choosing a route through the Swiss Alps, allegedly easy enough for day hikers, but with a known element of danger, really does add to the atmosphere of uncertainty and danger that fills the pages. Note of warning or a word to the wise – if anyone suggests going on a hike with just an old fashioned ordinance survey map and a vague sense of where you are going (no GPS, mobile phones, or, in some cases, even the right kit), just say no. Go to the pub. Maybe rethink your friends. That’s the kind of suggestion that gets everyone into trouble and just the kind of decision you might (not) live to regret.
Another cracking story from a master thriller writer. Recommended.
About the Author
Susi Holliday grew up near Edinburgh and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years before she started writing. A lifelong fan of crime and horror, her short stories have been published in various places, and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham Prize. She is the acclaimed author of nine novels and a novella. The film adaptation of her Trans-Siberian-set psychological thriller Violet is currently in development.
As well as working, reading, writing, walking and drinking tea, Susi provides mentoring for new crime writers via http://www.crimefictioncoach.com.
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