Book Review: “The Hike” by Susi Holliday

Having enjoyed the The Last Resort and “Violet“, I was quick to get a copy of “The Hike” by Susi Holliday when it came out.

In the acknowledgements, Holliday comments ‘Moral of the story: never go to dangerous places with a crime writer.’ I’m not sure that going to safe places with crime writers are necessarily any better, but clearly Holliday knows how to make a great story out of a holiday (sorry ;-)) that has an element of risk with it.

This is another novel – not that I have read many that have done it – that does not run away from the impact of COVID-19 on people and travel plans in 2020 and 2021. This may end up dating it (in fact this may already be the case), but it doesn’t overly detract from quite a ride of a story.

As usual with my reviews, I don’t want to say much about the story itself (you can get sufficient from the book summary on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.), but there were a few lines that stood out for me that I’d like to comment on. For example,

It’s weird though, isn’t it? I was so desperate for normal things, then when things started to normalise, it was almost like it never happened.

While this comment was in relation to the lockdowns of COVID-19, I think there can be a more general application of thought in relation to some issues discussed below around memories and other people’s feelings.

Maybe she should forget about what she had planned for later. Was bringing everything out into the open really going to solve her problems?

While I’ve never put myself in the position of the main protagonist (the text does switch between the four main people as it goes along) in the book, there is something I can relate to in the question that she asks.

need to find a way to scrub the events of the day from their heads, and move on.

If only it were that easy. How many times have we done something which we wished could be completely forgotten? Unfortunately, I tend to dwell rather than erase such things. Further, one character is

drawn to the fish tank. He often spends time just watching them. Swimming back and forth, around in circles. No clue where they’ve been just a minute before. He envies them their short memories, because sometimes memories can break you.

Absolutely they can. Memories can be great – but they can also be awful.

She’d had enough of people walking all over her. Thinking they’d get away with it because she was kind. Well, maybe being kind was overrated. She’d been played for a fool by all the people she’d thought she was close to, and it had caused her to harden her shell.

Isn’t a shame that such a situation can exist?

I think it’s fair to say that no one really knows anyone else, do they? No one can read anyone else’s thoughts.

Definitely… but equally, isn’t it good that we can’t read another person’s thoughts? A problem can be when people won’t open up when asked, or someone doesn’t know how to ask the other person about their thoughts, and, instead, they are left in a limbo not knowing what the other thinks and, possibly, avoiding that person when the situation can be easily resolved.

Stress and pressure can do a lot to people, you know. You shouldn’t think you’ve failed because you didn’t spot the signs

This one really made me stop and think. I always thought I could ‘spot the signs’. But I’m not sure any more. I think I’m easier to read – but I suppose that’s for others to discuss with me and judge.

Overall, I really enjoyed “The Hike” and got through it very quickly. I did think it was building to a different ending – not sure whether that one would have worked better or not, but I did like the ending nonetheless.


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