I don’t even know where to start. Alright, well I kinda do – one day Ben decides to go for a walk. He’s a family man, out-of-town for a business meeting and staying in a small, sketchy motel in the woods of Pennsylvania. The lady at the desk says there isn’t a path to hike on, but there is. Ben walks for a while until all of the sudden, he sees two large men wearing the skins of rottweiler faces as masks and dragging a young girl’s body, and then he’s running, running, running until he no longer knows where he is. But it’s made very clear that he must stay on The Path – leaving the path means certain death. Staying on the path means only extremely likely death.
This book is BANANAS. So, Ben doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, what’s real or not real. It seems unreal that there could be an enormous cricket taking up an entire room in an otherwise abandoned house, or that his crush from his college years is in a tent with life-saving supplies, or that a foul-mouthed crab would be his best and only assistant on this weird journey – but it feels real, and Ben quickly learns that his only hope of getting back home to his family is following this damn path through to the end. This story has a very video-game feel to it, with the mostly one-way adventure and successive obstacles to overcome. It also had a bit of a Wizard of Oz feel – some of the horrors that Ben faces seem to come from his own subconscious, but this definitely isn’t a dream.
I think I enjoyed this book for the absolutely bonkers ride that it is, and I read it entirely in one day, but I’m not sure if it’s a book that will be on a favorites list or anything. I still love the author’s first book, The Postmortal, and The Hike can’t even really compare to that. Still, this was a fun, bizarre read so if that’s the kind of thing you’re in the mood for, then this is the book for you.