**Contains minor character spoilers**
I received a copy of this book for free through NetGalley
This is a story about a broken family and a wild misadventure
There is nothing darker than the woods, until you meet your worst fear.
Jackson Bower has a lot on his mind lately. His younger brother hasn’t been the same since his mother’s death. His father’s drinking is out of control. Then there’s Jackson’s girlfriend and the grief that ties them together even as it threatens to drive them apart. He distances himself, hoping for a little perspective at the family lodge. But when their father gets drunk and dangerous, he and his brother escape into the woods.
Night creeps in, and the rains come fast. Artie slips down a ravine. He’s wounded and the brothers seek shelter in a cave, only to find someone else already taking refuge there. A desperate man with plans to destroy their town. Jackson must get him and his wounded brother out of the cave and over the mountain to warn everyone in time. Without getting them both killed first.
This is a really short book set in the wilderness so of course, a mini adventure ensues. Jackson and his brother Artie are dealing with the emotional aftermath of their mothers death, a drunk and distraught father, a broken yet loving girlfriend and a strange man who lives in a cave. It’s a lot to take on in a few days.
There are two distinct settings in this book: the woods and a hospital. Both are equally ominous.
In terms of characters, I really like Jackson and Artie and I thought they balanced each other rather beautifully. It is extremely sweet to watch Jackson be so protective of Artie and the unconditional love these two share is consuming. The strange cave man who comes to rescue them when Artie is hurt is shrouded in mystery from the outset but as the boys spend more time with him and his life unravels in front of their eyes, his demeanor becomes unsettling. I definitely liked him as a broken character and I thought his portrayal as a grieving father, while extreme at times, was very heartbreaking.
The boys father and Jackson’s girlfriend both exude a certain amount of guilt and grief that manifests differently. While their dad Rick is emotionally distant and impatient with the boys after their mother’s death, Jackson’s girlfriend becomes clingy and tolerant of his pitfalls after her own little tragedy.
What I did think was pretty cool was the way in which the author weaves tales from the past in to Jackson’s stream of consciousness.
As this is so short, I’m not sure enough happened for me to be able to give it a higher rating but it definitely is a pleasant read and deals with some great themes.
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