Title: The Tent
Author: Kealan Patrick Burke
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Release Date: February 23, 2018
Book Source: Paperback
“The perfect getaway…
The perfect place to hide…
Hocking Hills, Ohio is an oasis for campers, hikers, nature enthusiasts, and for those who just want to get away and lose themselves in the wild. And as long as you follow your guide’s advice and stay within the permitted areas, you can expect to survive the night.
Because deep within the dark woods, something insidious awaits, something few have ever seen, something ancient, unknowable, and insatiable.
If you go down to these woods today, you won’t live to see the sunrise…” – Amazon
This is the second novella (in no particular order) that I’ve read from Kealan Patrick Burke and this dude hasn’t let me down yet! Holy shit! What an amazing and horrific ride! The opening scene sets the tone that things are going to get very bad, very quickly. You know the kind of scene I’m talking about, right? It’s a little cabin in a remote part of the woods with the nearest neighbor in the next county. There’s an older gentleman and his faithful dog sharing the cabin space with him. The dog hardly ever barks… except for tonight. That scene is so simple, yet the magical words in typeset have already left me with the hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up and I’m on page four. Damn you, Kealan!
That particular scene fades out and we’re then introduced to our main characters, Mike, Emma and their son, Cody. Mike is relayed to us as a man who seemingly can’t get his shit together. He’s taken his wife for granted. His professional career is a joke. He promised Emma the world, but has only managed to give her migraines and the doubt of continuing their marriage. Emma is beyond fed up and has unfortunately, begun having an affair on Mike. Mike has convinced Emma to go on an outdoor adventure with him and camp remotely in the woods with the hope of re-kindling their failing marriage. We learn that Mike’s not keen on bringing Cody along as he’s really wanting some one-on-one time with Emma to talk through their problems. He seems to lose that battle and Cody joins his Mom & Dad on their camping trip.
A massive thunderstorm which seems to be of epic proportions rears its ugly head and in the chaos of gusty winds, driving rain, non-stop claps of thunder and consistent lightning streaks across the sky – their tent blows away in the storm. With no tent, their food is wet, they can’t light a fire and Mike has done absolutely nothing to prepare for this camping trip. The situation goes from very bad to even worse when Cody goes missing. This is the proverbial straw that breaks the back of Mike and Emma’s marriage and all hell breaks loose. Together they now focus their efforts to begin searching for Cody. In doing so, they stumble upon another tent deep in the woods and that’s where I’m going to leave this part of my review of THE TENT.
“The tent. It’d be one thing if we just stumbled upon somebody’s old abandoned camping ground, but The tent’s in pretty good shape from what I can see, and there’s a light on, which means somebody used it, and recently. And people don’t just walk off and leave their stuff behind, right?”
My enthusiasm for this book speaks for itself. The writing is superb and the narration is just brilliant. I wanted to scold Emma for being a whiny, self-entitled, selfish loser. I wanted to feel sorry for Mike, but then I wanted to chastise him for not being more prepared for this camping trip. The range of emotions I felt while reading this was downright exhausting. That’s a good thing! I honestly felt like I was on a roller coaster and not allowed to ever get off! I don’t want to give away any spoilers as I simply don’t do that with my reviews as most of you know. I do want you to know that this story is absolutely horrific and considering that it’s just 64 pages in length, it’s so remarkable to me. The story that is spun is magical in every sense of the word simply because the journey you take while reading it is so damn adventurous! If you’re a fan of Kealan Patrick Burke’s, read this. If you don’t know who he is, shame on you and read this. If you love horror, thrillers and being scared, then read this. If you’ve ever camped, enjoy the outdoors or hiking, then you guessed it! You should read this book.
I would be doing everyone a disservice if I did not give this 5-stars. Not only was the story brilliant, but it’s one that stayed with me long after I stopped reading it which is what distinguishes a 4-star vs. 5-star review for me, personally. The story resonated with me and held on with a grip that made it uneasy for me to close my eyes afterwards. I have two regrets: First, I regret not reading this one sooner. Second, I regret bringing this camping with me. Yes, you read that right. I brought this on a camping trip with me because I thought it would make for a cute photo. Dumbest. Move. Evarrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I finished the book and then looked around for someone to hold me. Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Every nearby snap of a twig, every owl hoot in the distance, every mosquito buzzing around near my ear and every wind gust that rustled leaves, turned my eyes as big as saucers and had me mumbling – "Did you hear that?! " I will take this time to re-cap: Read this book. Do not read this book on a camping trip while sleeping outdoors. Highly recommended, fellow horror and bookworm enthusiasts!
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