- Author: Brett Battles
- Published: July 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Category: Science Fiction, Thriller
Something happened that night in the woods at Camp Red Hawk. But all Joel and Leah can recall is sneaking out for a late hike with five camp friends, and that only the two of them and their friend Mike returned.
In July 2005 a group of friends from Camp Red Hawk decided to go on a night hike. The camp’s security was weak, the counsellors more interested in drinking beer and smoking pot after curfew than keeping an eye on the kids. Joel Madsen, Leah Bautista and Mike Hurst, along with four other friends, hiked into the woods. Dooley, one of the group, had found an old, restricted government property the previous summer, which was surrounded by a chain link fence. Now they could see an opening. Despite some slight reservations they entered. What they found there changed their lives forever. Three of the group returned with no memory of their leaving camp or anything that happened afterwards. And they have no memory of each other or their other friends.
The woods. They had gone on a…on a…secret night hike. He and Leah and Mike…and…and..
He looked around again. “Where are the others?”
Leah scrunched her nose. “What others?”
When he tried to answer, he couldn’t remember their names. “The others. There were others with us, weren’t there?”
“With us where?”
“We went on a hike. Dooley…”
That’s right, Dooley. He was one of the others. Whatever Joel was going to say about him, though, was instantly forgotten when a deep, elongated whisper filled his mind.
In the following years it becomes obvious something in Joel’s and Leah’s make up has altered drastically. They are able to do things that should be impossible and it’s a huge effort to cope with the unsettling turn their lives have taken. Somehow they have to find each other, and Mike, in order to work out and try to understand what happened that night in the woods.
I’ve enjoyed several of Brett Battles’ books (both the Eden Project and Logan Harper series) and, as this is a departure from the thrillers into the realm of science fiction, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t need to worry. It definitely has a thriller element alongside the sci-fi and I was drawn in from the start.
Short, snappy chapters from alternating points of view move the story along at a cracking pace, following Leah and Joel as they struggle with their altered perceptions and search for the truth. With a bit of a stretch, the science fiction aspect of the story isn’t beyond the realm of possibility and I like the fact the reader’s knowledge of events unfolds with the characters’. I guess that’s why the suggestion is to read the companion book, Mine: the Arrival, after reading Mine. Mine: The Arrival is a novella, it’s a quick read and I did enjoy reading what came before.
The characters are well defined, developed and realistic. The behaviour, characteristics and dialogue exactly as you’d imagine. The way the personal challenges and morality issues in the wake of the night hike are dealt with is credible and convincing. It’s an interesting, compelling and well written book.
About Brett Battles
Brett Battles is the author of over twenty novels and several short stories. His novel THE DECEIVED (part of his Jonathan Quinn series) won a Barry Award for Best Thriller. He is one of the founding members of Killer Year, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. He lives and writes in Los Angeles.