I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Hiker by M.J. Ford
Published by Avon Publishing on November 10, 2022
ISBN: 9780008453367
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Thrillers, Small Town & Rural, Family Life, Siblings, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General, Suspense
Pages: 394
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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four stars - The Hiker by M.J. Ford - REVIEW

In the wilderness, it’s kill or be killed...
MISSINGWhen Gemma Kline is reported missing after setting off on a solo hike in the remote Pennines, her sister, Sarah, is dumbfounded. How can someone disappear without a trace?
PRESUMEDTravelling to the isolated town where Gemma was last seen, Sarah discovers it’s not the first time a young woman has vanished from the hills in mysterious circumstances. As she digs deeper, it quickly becomes apparent that neither disappearance is what it first seems – especially when unwelcoming locals share chilling tales about what’s really lurking on the moors...
MURDEREDWhatever has happened to her sister, one thing is clear: this town has secrets someone would kill to keep. But even on the fells, nothing stays buried forever...
A gripping and atmospheric crime thriller set in one of the most remote corners of the British wilderness, perfect for fans of Chris Hammer, Jane Harper and Michael Connelly.
Readers love The Hiker:
‘Now this was GOOD! What a story! Brilliantly gripping!’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I loved this book... gripping with atmosphere and tension. Twisty, creepy, and unpredictable.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Full of unexpected twists and turns... it really keeps you guessing till the last page.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Engaging and menacing... nothing and nobody are what they seem.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘So, so, so good! Eerie, beautiful, haunting, shocking... the writing was absolutely superb, bringing the incredible setting and shock-factor alive. Excellent thriller!’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘This twisty storyline had me hooked and I tore through the pages... kept me on the edge of my seat.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Dark and foreboding... A great read.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘An excellent crime thriller... held my attention from start to finish.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘A real page turner! Five stars.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘This book kept me on the edge of my seat with twists and turns throughout... impossible to put down!’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘A fantastic read full of mystery and suspense. And that ending.... I did not see that coming! Highly recommended.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘The many twists and turns had me gasping aloud. I could not put this book down... And I have firmly decided I will never be going on a solo hike again!’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Hiker has it all – suspense, mystery, and tension. A small-town mystery with the nostalgia of midsummer murders or Jonathan Creek. Not one word is wasted.

Well strike me down – The Hiker is a story that you will not want to read in the darkened shadows of the countryside. It creeps into the mind’s darkest recesses and makes its home; it lays down roots and leaves you searching for the answers.

The prologue set the scene perfectly – a sense of mystery and fear that creeps into the reader’s peripheral vision. I held my breath and attempted to count to ten, I have to say I found it difficult. My body resembled a steel rod, I was wrought with tension, and I was a coiled spring ready to jump. I knew something was going to happen but the where and when was questionable. This is one story in which you find yourself racing to the end to discover the answers to the deep-seated questions that spring up from the actions of questionable characters.

Sarah lives an enchanted life – engaged to her fiancé, Doug, and her wedding is just around the corner. She has a fulfilling career as a divorce lawyer, predominately helping women get their own back on husbands that toss them aside. It hasn’t always been that way, she had a very difficult childhood, with an alcoholic mother and a difficult relationship with her sister – Gemma. She was forced into a parental role, caring for her younger sister, cooking, cleaning, and helping her cross the road, it wasn’t easy and as time passed the two sisters grew apart and the killer blow came at their mother’s wake. She hasn’t heard from Gemma since, until now, when it appears she has gone missing in a small town far from home.

Gemma’s life has been anything but a bed of roses. Her life after departing ways from Sarah has been difficult. She has a job as a care assistant in a residential home for the elderly. Her partner, Mark has got them into a bit of financial difficulty, and they owe money for multiple months of missed rent arrears. They are desperate, they don’t have the financial stability that Sarah has. Mark has the ploy to blackmail some questionable people up north, Gemma has her reservations, but Mark assures her it’s a foolproof plan.

Now you might think you know where this story is going to lead, we’ve seen this path before, rest assured this path is littered with booby traps and red herrings. It’s not a simple case of bad vs good, no, The Hiker is more complex than that – it’s two different sets of circumstances colliding. Gemma felt more fleshed out than Sarah but the discovery of something catastrophic in her personal life added a new layer to her character. Life experiences were explored, and we had the backgrounds of both protagonists it was down to the reader to decide just how black and white they both were or whether there were elements of gray thrown in for good measure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image 1 - The Hiker by M.J. Ford - REVIEW

M.J. Ford lives with his family on the edge of the Peak District in the north of England. He has worked as an editor and writer of childen’s fiction for many years. You can follow Michael @MJFordBooks.

MJ FORD

four stars - The Hiker by M.J. Ford - REVIEW