February 19, 2021

Hawthorn Woods

 

By Patrick Canning
Thriller

πŸ“•My Review


About to depart on a European holiday, Francine's sister has asked her to house-sit while she's away. Newly divorced Francine sees it as an opportunity to recharge her batteries and get her life back on track. At first glance, her new surroundings, Hawthorn Woods, is idyllic but things quickly take a downward slide as she becomes entangled in a series of mysteries.        

Set in the Summer of 1989, Hawthorn Woods was a good read. The writing was excellent and flowed easily. Being British, I struggled with some of the American-isms but a quick search on Google soon set me straight. For instance I've never come across the term 'blacktop' before. In my world this is a black-coloured t-shirt (lol) but I've now discovered it's also a North American term for an asphalt or tarmac road surface 😊. 

What I did find slightly jarring was the 'cozy' storytelling style when compared to the 'heavy' (Nazi war criminal) subject matter. Being perfectly honest I would have preferred a less light-hearted approach. There were also a couple of animal cruelty incidents which readers may find upsetting.  

That being said, the characters were a wonderful eclectic mix of personalities and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. Some played a much larger role than others but the author succeeded in making them feel real. The questionnaire/personality quiz at the start of each chapter was a nice touch and I loved how it tied-in with the outcome. There were plenty of red herrings along the way and the final, unexpected twist was fantastic — I never saw it coming! A very entertaining read.         

Book Source: Review copy from the author
My Rating ⭐⭐⭐

Paperback: 299 pages
Publisher: Independently published (16 July 2020)
ISBN-13: 979-8663487979
Genre: Thriller

πŸ“—The Blurb


Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

πŸ“˜The Author



Patrick Canning is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee (2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Some of his favorite authors include Bill Watterson, Liane Moriarty, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his Australian Shepherd, Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.

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