Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

The Hiking Trip, by Jenny Blackhurst

5 out of 5 stars. Slow burning suspense and a matryoshka doll of deceptions.

5 stars
5 stars

I hope you’re ready for this hiking trip. A tent is purely optional, but make sure you’re armed. Those woods are dangerous – and I’m not talking about bears and wolves here. The predators in this book are human – and have a bad conscience.

This review is part of LoveBookTours – check the other hosts!

The story is told in a twofold way, with Laura telling the story of today in first person, and a third person narrator telling the part of the story that happened twenty years ago. That structure is intriguing, and also purposefully misleading. But I can’t tell you more, that would be too much of a spoiler. (I saw that particular twist coming right from the start, but that’s due to the fact that I had a hunch and I have read quite a few thrillers by now, and I think a lot about plotting and dramaturgy while reading.)

By the way, we have an interview with Jenny!

There’s good news, bad news, and nausea inducing news. Laura has to cope with the third category.

Laura is a great hero. She’s a loving mother, and she’s tough – really tough, although she’s not showing it. And that’s not her only secret, but the other one is twenty years old – and is suddenly threatening to bring down her whole life when she stumbles upon a news article.

Now Laura has a problem. She’s stalked by a man from her past, a man who was convicted for a murder he’s not guilty of, and Laura can’t go to the police because that would mean revealing what truly happened twenty years ago. But if the man thinks he can threaten her and her family, then he miscalculated. Laura will literally kill to save her family – after all, she’s done it before …

You should NOT get on Laura’s bad side.

THE HIKING TRIP is not a high octane thriller, but it is high suspense. Jenny manages to tell the story twofold and keeping it tense in both timelines. I would describe it as slow burning suspense.

And there’s a psychological side to it, and it runs very deep. As the reader, you’re quite aware right from the start that Laura is leading a pretend live, and that not all is as it seems. And this, before everything else, is the main theme of the hiking trip. Things are not what they seem. Supposedly brother and sister are not siblings, the innocent wife and mother of two is a murderer … Or isn’t she?

Very, very suspicious things are going on ’round here.

Jenny plays tricks on the mind of her ensemble, and that includes you as the reader. She’s good at leading you down one path, but you have to ask yourself why this past timeline skips over the actual murder part. It’s because there happened something that could be seen as different from what everyone believes, but for a while we readers are dependent on the hints were given. Oh, I can smell there’s something fishy, I even begin to suspect Maisie might not be a murderer, that she might have been gaslighted all along. Things are not what they seem.

And that remains true until the end. Whenever I thought I caught a whiff of the truth, I realized I just caught a glimpse unto the next layer of lies. The truth in this story is hidden in a matryoshka system of lies. (Although I can brag that I’ve seen some things early on, but it took me to 80 percent to realize my hunch was right and to see how the timelines fit together. Then again, there’s at least one person whose true identity I haven’t realized in time.)

So, this is a thriller that will keep you up. The characters are well written, the plot twists at all the right points, the slow burning suspense will get you. This is the perfect book for a long, dark and cold night

Disclaimer: I’ve received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy and am leaving this review voluntarily.

By Stefan

father of two, not enough time to read everything I want to read

3 replies on “The Hiking Trip, by Jenny Blackhurst”

Well done, Stefan!!! Now I want to read this one! I love a thriller that keeps you guessing right to the very end! Your excellent review totally sold me on this one!!

Liked by 1 person

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