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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

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Maggie O'Farrell
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The Last British Dambuster: One man's extraordinary life and the raid that changed history
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The Tent

The Tent - Kealan Patrick Burke What an amazing story from an author at the top of his writing ability. In "The Tent" we are introduced to Mike and Emma and together with their son Cody they embark on a little camping expedition...

"In his youth he'd gone camping with his father a few times, and those occasions were some of the best moments of his life. He had hoped in keeping with the wildness of the location, he could create the spirit of those cherished trips..."

The only problem is the tent that Mike purchased from Walmart is of rather poor quality and within a few hours is carried away by a storm...great start to a little family bonding in the wilds!...oh Mike silly mistake and you'll pay for that later...won't he readers :)) So now we have have three disgruntled and disheartened campers alone against the elements in the deep woods and if that was not enough Mike and Emma are having a somewhat "stormy" period in their marriage. As is hoped for in a story with few word KPB's writing is taut, descriptive and never lets the readers attention stray with glorious, gripping and snappy dialogue.....this is how Mike views his wife after many years...

"That blonde is not as pretty now, and he knows not all of that can be blamed on the weather. Her red slicker clings to a body made shapeless by the years, the disappointment, and the stress of being married to a man crippled by the ever increasing weight of his own failure and unrealized dreams. Her hair, which has lost its luster and faded in synch with her expectations of him, is pasted to her pallid face, but not enough to hide the doubt from eyes made darker by the shadow of his presence in their marriage."

And just when you thought...shit surely it can't get any worse!....Cody vanishes...

"Emma, what-?"
"Cody," she all but screams at thim, the rain streaming down her face making her look as if she's melting before him. His confusion evaporates as he looks over her shoulder...The boy is gone....

Emma in one beautiful explosive episode lets out all the pent up frustrations...

"The colour has returned to her face, the fury warming her from the inside out. Her breath steams in her face as she rages; her eyes glitter like elliptical shards of volcanic rock. "So here I am, a prisoner of my own cowardice, trapped in a marriage of habit, forty-seven years of age with my looks gone to shit, my weight all over the place, and i'm stuck in these goddamn woods with you. My son is missing, none of us even wanted to be here...

Isn't that just brilliant exciting writing, mum and dad hating eachother, as the bad weather closes in their own personl storm is ignited, and then young Cody is missing...can anything else can go wrong...but his is horror and usually the explosive and visceral arrive to entertain! A light is spotted in the distance,a glow inside a tent. Mike and Emma travel towards what they hope is rescue and exit from this living hell.

"Emma. The tent. I can't explain why so please don't ask me. It just feels wrong, feels like someone drew us here on purpose. One light in the whole damn woods, in a part of the woods nobody's supposed to go, and it leads us here, to a tent with nobody in it. It just feels wrong"

And naturally as in all good horror stories we proceed into a bloody, original and thoroughly entertaining conclusion. Kealan Patrick Burke is an author who writes exciting taut and visual prose and The Tent is certainly one of my favourite reads of 2013.

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