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Lora's Rants and Reviews

My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing. I DO NOT accept review requests but only review books I choose to read and I don't post reviews on Amazon. I'm also persnickity about genre and plot.

Currently reading

The Illumination of Ursula Flight
Anna-Marie Crowhurst
Progress: 6%
Paris: The Novel
Edward Rutherfurd
Progress: 54%
Unnatural Creatures
Maria Dahvana Headley, Neil Gaiman
Progress: 40%
Don Quixote
Roberto González Echevarría, John Rutherford, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Progress: 64%

The Hawley Book of the Dead

The Hawley Book of the Dead - Chrysler Szarlan

by Chrysler Szarlan


The beginning grabs you right away. Both poetic and shocking, the reader is brought into a world of a woman (Reve) and her husband who do a stage magic act, their twin daughters, and an incident with a gun that went wrong. Overshadowing it all is the unexplained scent of lilacs.


It continues as a story of a woman dealing with bereavement and police suspicion and quickly becomes a mystery when a mysterious man in a black suit stalks the widow.

From there it slows down rather a lot. There are teasing moments when a different kind of magic is hinted at and locals are reluctant to go out to Hawley five corners, but apart from depressing doom and death it's mainly a story of the widow and her daughters settling into their new home, Reve's childhood home.


I have to admit that I glazed over about a quarter of the way through, still waiting for something significant to happen. The occasional teases never seemed to bear fruit and if they eventually did, my mind had wandered and I missed it. There was a lot there that could have been a gripping story, but it just went on about day to day details of normal life for far too long and lost my interest.