I have never seen any of the Saw movies. As a Horror Virgin, they are SO FAR out of my range of tolerable movies, as determined when I barely made it through a viewing of The Hostel (how was that even a thing they could MAKE?!). I felt like the torture and death was too much for my sweet little eyes and ears to bear, and therefore will continue to live my life having none of it. None of the Saw.

It only made sense then to read Endurance (read that in sarcasm font please). Set in the forested hills of West Virginia where probably nothing safe happens, the Rushmore Inn Bed and Breakfast has a room service menu, and your terror is on it. We follow four stories as they intertwine and mingle and try their damnedest to check out alive.

Runners signed up for the nearby Iron Woman event find themselves re-routed to this inn when the main hotel was suddenly and suspiciously overbooked. The Rushmore Inn, and its creepy innkeeper/matriarch, Eleanor, are not only foreboding, but downright terrifying, Once you get past the abnormally decorated lobby and rooms (each themed to a different president to the nth degree), paranoia kicks in. There’s no TV. No phones in the rooms. The curtains cover shuttered windows that turn out to be not real at all. Is the framed Lincoln poster across from the toilet looking at me? Did the hangers in the closet just rattle? If there isn’t a window there, why did the curtain just ruffle? DIDN’T I PUT MY SUITCASE ON THE BED HOW DID IT GET BACK ON THE FLOOR HOLY SHITBALLS YOU GUYS.

I was reluctant to give too much away on this review. Let me instead be relatively vague and tell you what it includes without too much detail. Creepy people in period costumes and football helmets? Yes. Cattle prods? Yes. Amputations without anesthesia? Ew. yes. Incest, bloodletting, rats biting people, and people being fed rats through a meatgrinder/tube combo? Yes, yes, yes and I want to become a vegetarian again. Birth defects, suicides, kung fu, fingers in fox traps, pitch black corridors and locked cells, strappado, desperation, Corvettes, and a damn mountain lion. And that’s just a part of this tangle of fear.

I found myself willing my eyes to read faster in order to find out what would happen next. Despite the horror of the events, you really also get to know these characters personally, to feel for them, and you want really badly for them to make it out alive. And, like in reality, when faced with what they fear is their last opportunity, you hear their deepest confessions, almost in hopes a lightening of their spirit will give their legs the strength to run five more paces to escape the woods and the Rushmore Inn.

Now that I’ve made it through my stay at this bed and breakfast, I don’t have to see the Saw franchise. I feel like I lived it through these pages.