Title: The Hike
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 4, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Romance, Contemporary
Page Count: 206 Pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Ashley James and Tucker Lee have been friends for years. They are city boys but long for life on the open trail. During a three-hundred-mile hike from the Southern California desert to the mountains around Big Bear Lake, they make some pretty amazing discoveries.
One of those discoveries is love. A love that has been bubbling below the surface for a very long time.
But love isn’t all they find. They also stumble upon a war—a war being waged by Mother Nature and fought tooth and claw around an epidemic of microbes and fury.
With every creature in sight turning against them, can they survive this battle and still hold on to each other? Or will the most horrifying virus known to man lay waste to more than just wildlife this time?
Will it destroy Ash and Tucker too?
Ash and Tuck have been best friends since high school until one tequila-soaked night in Tijuana, Ash wakes up (“my ass hurting that good kind of hurt”) in a Motel 6 with “Tuck snoring and drooling against my shoulder while one of my hands rested on his furry butt and my other hand cupped the back of his neck, holding him close.” Things have become complicated, with neither man bringing up that Tijuana night, and now Ash and Tuck and their dogs Hannah and Cho are heading out on a 3-week hike across the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake, roughly 300 miles.
Inman does a great job of balancing Ash and Tuck’s hiking adventure with exploration of their feelings for one another. I liked how each man knew he loved the other, without any excruciating “does he love me or not?” angst or miscommunication. There are a few nicely done sex scenes and Inman also does a good job of foreshadowing the viral epidemic with comments about animals acting strangely and weird encounters, and then really brings it with a nail-biting conclusion. At times the pace felt a bit slow, but really picked up once they are dealing with the viral outbreak. My only complaint (as with other Inman books I’ve read) is that the main characters, who are both 25, read much older (perhaps 40 or so?). A solid 4 stars for The Hike.