The Excursion: A Thriller

T.O. Paine

Publisher: Dark Swallow Books Pages: 420 Price: (paperback) $12.99 ISBN: 9798986695808 Reviewed: October, 2022 Author Website: Visit »

In this fast-paced thriller, Charly Highsmith’s past and future collide as she tries to survive an excursion in the Rocky Mountains where people are both predators and prey.

Charly has led a troubled life. Her addict mother is dying, and her father disappeared when she was ten. When her mother reveals her father has died, leaving her a trust fund and a key to the family’s cabin, Charly plans a reunion with her brother and cousins.

It seems everything is about to go right for Charly and her autistic brother, Jacob. But in the snowy mountains, they find the remote cabin already occupied by Randall Thorne, a man determined to stop at nothing to provide his wealthy client with the chance to hunt. What Charly doesn’t realize at first is that Randall has brought his prey to the mountain with him: There’s a man being kept prisoner in the boathouse.

The novel is well-structured. Chapters alternate between Charly’s current and past experiences at the cabin, revealing all is not well between herself, her brother and her two cousins. Events also unfold from Randall’s point of view, and he’s a captivating villain, full of evil intent as well as battling his own demons over his brother’s death and his pressing need to make this “excursion” successful and avoid the wrath of his mysterious employer.

The tension builds as Charly and her family realize Randall’s intentions. Who can she trust? Can she and Jacob rely on their cousins? Or should they escape the mountains and find help before someone gets murdered?

While the minor characters are not as plausible or compelling as Charly and Randall, fast moving events, strong dialogue, cliff-hanger chapter endings, and increasing suspicion that Charly’s past will have a part to play in events in the snowy mountains, keep the pages turning.

Ultimately, this is a satisfying and gripping thriller.

Author's Current Residence
Littleton, Colorado
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