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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Hawley Book of the Dead

ISBN: 9780345545022
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Publication Date: 9/23/2014
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.
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.
Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.

My Review

A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan, a spellbinding mix of mystery, contemporary romance, and a haunting magical supernatural fantasy ---for a suspenseful debut novel of history, revenge, betrayal, love, and family secrets.
Revelation Dyer (Reve) and her husband, Jeremy are acclaimed Las Vegas stage magicians, known worldwide with three daughters: twins Grace, Faith age 15, and Caleigh age 10. During a performance (“Defying the Bullet” trick), Reve accidently shoots her husband with a blank; however, the blank has been replaced with a real bullet and Jeremy dies on stage. Now Reve has to protect her family, no matter the cost while grieving her husband, someone is out to destroy her family.
Reve has a connection along with her family to ancient magic, and many of the women have been named Revelation. All of the Revelations and their descendants have magic powers. Reve takes the girls home to Massachusetts, to stay with her maternal grandmother where the Dyers have lived for many generations in the Town of Hawley Five Corners, the New England Village was founded centuries ago by one of Reve’s relatives.
Reve soon realizes she is being stalked by the man (Fetch) who changed the bullets in her gun. When he sends her an email telling her he is going to find her no matter where she runs, she is scared for her life; however, is unsure the motive? What happened in the past to cause his need for revenge?
Reve’s best friend from childhood in Hawley (Jolon) is now the Chief of Police and they were once close and now have not kept in touch after she moved away. Jolon is very familiar with the family situation and agrees to help her, as he is well aware of the special gift the Dyer women possess, as Reve can make herself disappear. The Dyer women all have supernatural abilities, and Reve can vanish at will from the world.
Hawley Five Corners has a reputation in the nearby town of Hawley Village – people disappear in the Corners, buildings are haunted, and all is mysterious; however, Reve believes this is the only place to keep her family safe. As the story progresses, Reve finds outs out her parents and grandmother have kept secrets from her, which would have helped her determine more about herself and her powers. One of the secrets involve a mysterious book, “The Hawley Book of the Dead,” with the power to unveil truths with four sacred objects to protect her.
This novel is a cross between reality, supernatural,and enchanting fantasy with connections to ancient myths, illusions, and magic. You root for Reve as she takes the adventure of discovering more about her life and the journey of Fletch getting to the reason behind the stalking. Chrysler Szarlan skillfully crafted characters each with their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses for a contemporary romantic suspense debut.
Not typically my type of genre; however, would recommend to those who enjoy horseback riding, and more of the haunting magical, supernatural flair, and mysterious family drama adventures. The book reminds me a little of Karen Harper’s Cold Creek series.

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