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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

The Hawley Book of the Dead  tells the story of Reve Dyer, who comes from a family in which all of the women have magical powers, some mundane, some rather exotic.

Reve and her husband are illusionists with a very successful show in Las Vegas, but when someone substitutes a real bullet in a prop gun,  Reve shoots and kills her husband.

Devastated, Reve must go on; she has three daughters, and although Reve grieves, she must do her best for her girls.

When it is apparent that whoever switched the bullets is also stalking their family and leaving photographs as proof, Reve does everything she can to "vanish," leaving no trace of where she and her girls have gone.

They go to Hawley Five Corners, a family estate, hoping they have escaped the intruder's reach.  But there are other strange events, past and present, waiting in the house.  When Reve finds the Hawley Book of the Dead, she must discover what is necessary to save her family.

The novel has been compared to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches.   Since I didn't care for The Physick Book, I'll accept that comparison, but since I really liked A Discovery of Witches, I'm going to suggest that the only thing Discovery and The Hawley Book have in common is a supernatural element.

It was OK; it passed the time, but it didn't truly engage me.

read in June; blog review scheduled for Aug. 

NetGalley/Random House-Ballentine

Supernatural/Mystery.  Sept. 23, 2014.  Print length:  352 pages.


  1. Doesn't sound like something worth rushing out to read.

  2. I like the premise, and the characters in this novel remind me a bit of Alice Hoffman's work. It's a shame it didn't engage you. Sometimes an intriguing premise and interesting characters can fall flat.

  3. I think the premise is quite interesting, so do the characters. Will think about this one.

  4. Kelly - I'm glad it was free.

    Irene - An engaging premise, and there will be plenty of people who love the book. I wish I could have liked it better.

  5. Haha! I loved your statement: "Since I didn't care for The Physick Book, I'll accept that comparison . . ." It's too bad this one wasn't better. From the description, it sounded like it had the potential to be really good.

  6. Wendy - I liked the title and the blurb--which I had enjoyed the book as much. On the other hand, I'm sure a lot of people will love it; I'm kind of a peculiar reader.