I’ve never been all that big on camping. I don’t care for bugs, sleeping on the dirt sounds like a total drag, and if I had to catch my own breakfast I’d probably starve to death. But in J.A. Konrath’s Trapped, a 2010 horror novel that truly pulls no punches, these are the least of our heroes’ troubles.
Martin and Sara Randhurst run a center for teenaged scofflaws. It’s a caring, friendly environment the couple has established with the hopes of keeping youths along the straight and narrow. The kids are treated like sons and daughters by the two psychiatrists. They are loved and respected, while still undergoing proper rehabilitation, and at the same time, the couple gets to pursue their passion through social service. It’s a win-win situation.
That is, until the center shuts down.
Due to funding problems, Martin and Sara find themselves out of a job and some of the dysfunctional youngsters they’ve grown to love so much are now facing juvie and federal prison. To make matters even worse, it seems the Randhursts’ divorce may follow right on the heels of the center’s closing.
As a result, the couple opts for one last family jaunt with their troubled teens and hitches a boat ride up to Plincer’s Island – a secluded speck of land smack in the middle of Lake Huron. Perhaps this is just what the shattered group needs: good times about a campfire, roasting marshmallows and hotdogs and swapping ghost tales. Sara even tries to fool herself that the trip may help rekindle her foundering relationship with her husband.
But before Martin can so much as conclude his first bone-chilling story featuring the island’s haunted history, he is yanked from behind into the bushes. The group refuses to fall for Martin’s prank, believe he’s simply trying to pull their legs. His absence stretches, though, and a few of the campers finally get fed up and decide to search for him in the shadows beyond the fire.
From there the trip heads south. And I mean south. It would appear that the psychiatrists and their embattled wards are anything but alone on Plincer’s Island. Think ants can ruin a meal? Try enjoying your dogs and 'mallows alongside feral cannibals, sociopaths, and one very naughty brain surgeon.