Burke’s tale takes place in the Hocking Hills area of SE Ohio, a place where I have been camping many times. Lucky for me, I have never stumbled upon what Burke’s imagination has lurking there.
A couple clinging to the last strings of a failed marriage are attempting to camp in the secluded woods with their 13-year-old son in tow. It soon turns out to be a bad idea. The husband purchases a cheap tent and is a novice camper at best. The wife does not want to be there at all while their son seems oblivious to all that is going on around them. A storm trashes their tent and they get lost in an attempt to get back to their vehicle. This is where the fun begins. The back hills of Ohio are no place for inexperienced campers to be wandering around in a storm, especially on this night.
Kealan’s novella is well written. The problem I have is with the characters. At first, I felt sorry for the couple on the verge of divorce. As I learned more about them, I cared about them less and less. The husband comes across as a spineless sad sack always apologizing for everything. The wife seems like a bitch and wants nothing to do with camping and you wonder why in the hell she ever agreed to this trip in the first place. We don’t get to know the son very well and he simply seems like cannon fodder, as do the other minor characters in the story. But Burke has an eloquent writing style that pulls you in and I enjoyed the imagination of what was in the woods. Tent had promise, but ultimately didn’t take me to a place where I was hoping it would.
3 out of 5 stars
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