M. Robert Grunwald

Award-winning playwright and author

A Helluva Ride

One of my guilty pleasures is the horror lit, and I've just finished a doozy. Drew Magary's The Hike is like one of those "Twilight Zone" episodes that is more profound than it had any right to be. I'll be thinking about this one for a while. Without spoiling anything, the book follows Ben, a husband and father of three on a routine business trip to a hotel in rural Pennsylvania. Before the party he's supposed to meet arrives, he takes a hike on a marked trail he finds behind the hotel. From there, he gets...well, lost. But The Hike isn't a lost-in-the-woods survival story. Or rather, it is, but it isn't. I'm spoiling nothing by telling you that Ben's odyssey includes a talking crab, a smart-mouthed giant, a hovercraft-cum-cruise ship, a cricket the size of a pony, and an exercise in hard labor that would give Sisyphus a run for his money. Suffice to say, Ben ends up a very different man than he was when he checked into the hotel, and it may or may not be for the better.

Since I finished it, I've recommended The Hike to three people, each looking for a good read in a different genre. While it's most heartily recommended for fans of horror and sci-fi, like the best stories, it transcends genre. It's a terrifying, funny, inspiring, heartbreaking, breathtaking read.

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