Review: The Hawley Book of the Dead

Title: The Hawley Book of the Dead: A Novel by Chrysler Szarlan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 352 pages
Format: Kindle

I received an advanced ecopy of this book from the publisher through

Synopsis: Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

(12)Review:This book had me up late at night desperately trying to read just a few more pages.  Filled with edge of your seat suspense this book takes you for a wild ride into the past, present and beyond time's boundaries.  If you are a fan of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe or A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness, this book should be added to your "to be read list".

While trying to protect her family and recover from the tragic murder of her husband Reve returns to the town she grew up but lives in the abandoned town of Hawley five corners which is steeped in mystery.  The locals think its haunted since 5 children disappeared from there many years ago and then quite soon after the entire town disappeared without a trace with food still cooking, laundry mid wash and dishes half cleaned.

What Reve learns when she gets there is that her past and her present are very connected and the history of Hawley Five Corners has a deep connection to her family and the very real mystery she finds herself in today.

I found the history of the mysterious abandoned town and Reve's family so interesting, I just wanted to keep learning more. Then there was a crazy flea market that appeared out of nowhere that I would love to learn the origins of and where exactly it goes.  In a way there were elements of The Night Circus by Erin Morenstern the way things disappear and reappear and the magical elements that are hard to explain yet tie everything together.  Its hard to say more about this book without giving too much away.  Suffice to say I loved it and for a debut I'm very impressed. This is an author to keep an eye on.