Stacy and Cory Freeman set out for a remote area of Northern California on their last camping trip of the season, but they can’t imagine the terror that awaits.
Cory, an expert camper and rock climber, is up for any challenge. Stacy, who’s learned to love camping, is a more reticent participant, and when she’s injured, they seek help at a nearby fire tower. There, they encounter the sinister Brock Tillotson, who brutally murders Cory and holds Stacy captive. It’s unclear who Brock really is, but one thing is certain: He’s diabolical. Driven by pain, grief and rage, Stacy transitions from Brock’s terrified victim to a physically and mentally formidable adversary. As her attempts to escape are thwarted again and again, resulting in more torture, readers may also yearn for relief. The author provides a break from the violence inside the tower by describing, in beautiful passages, the natural setting outside and by including Stacy’s memories of her loving husband and family. Blenkush’s (Reddition, 2012) second thriller holds the reader in its terrifying, suspenseful grip from the first day the couple sets up their campsite all the way to the explosive climax. With Stacy, Blenkush has created a memorable protagonist who’s appealingly courageous and strong-willed; a deeper understanding of her character and more back story, apart from her relationship with Cory, would be welcome. Where does her strength to persevere come from? The story begins and ends with her waiting for news of her newborn son’s paternity—is the father Brock or Cory?—which seems like undue torture piled onto the already brutalized mother; the novel would work just as well without this subplot and with less graphic violence.
A suspenseful novel with flaws that may go unnoticed as the pages fly by.