Having enjoyed J. A. Konrath's first two forays into straight out horror, Afraid and Trapped, I was looking forward to this third title he released under the name, Jack Kilborn. The afterword reveals that his editors wanted significant cuts, but he refused to give up on it, and his desire to see it released in the form he intended led to him expanding into ebooks.
Well, good for Konrath/Kilborn, but truth be told, I can see why his editors had their issues.
Endurance depicts the tale of several female triathletes who fall victim to a group of backwoods types who happen to run a very out of the way inn. It might not be anywhere near California, but it's definitely the type of place where once you check in, you can never leave. Though I won't reveal the whys and whereto-fores, it's all fairly bog-standard stuff. Except for the interesting variation Kilborn brings to his cast of (mostly) women in soon to be distress. As triathletes, you expect all of the women to be stronger than the typical characters in this type of novel, and they are, but one is an amputee, and others form three generations from the same family, all of which make for more interesting than usual dynamics.
I've said it before, but Konrath is the emperor of teasing character mysteries and then only dolling out critical answers when it mattes most. He also ends every chapter on a cliffhanger, which did begin to grate after awhile, but had the desired effect of making me say "Just one more..."
Aside from being fairly pedestrian in its narrative, my other bugbear about Endurance was how one-note and interchangeable almost all of the villains of the piece were. I quickly lost track of who was who - other than the matriarchal maniac leading them - so never cared when one or another met their end or did something that might have seemed significant. Less would definitely have been more when it came to the cast of antagonists.
All in all then, Endurance is the lesser of Kilborn's trilogy, but it still passes muster and is worth checking out - especially for those planning to continue on with the next book in the series, Haunted House.
3 Face-Marring Bone Growths for Endurance.