An inventive, thoughtfully constructed, chilling fantasy.

THE WILD DARK

A former cop becomes haunted by more than just her past in this dark fantasy series opener.

Liz Raleigh is staying alone in a cabin in the middle of the New Hampshire woods, 30 miles from the nearest town, so when she hears footsteps on the porch late one winter night, she can’t help but go into cop mode. She’s not on the force anymore—she left her job at a coastal Maine police department after her actions unintentionally led to the death of her partner, Brody Aritza. Then her relationship with her photographer fiance fell apart, and now she’s hiding out in this remote cabin, trying to clear her head. But that’s easier said than done. Local New Hampshire forest ranger Hank Feld is sniffing around for a missing person—a man who happens to look a lot like Liz’s dead father—and she has been imagining that she sees and hears Brody everywhere. Or at least she thinks she’s imagining him. Then things start to escalate. Liz and Hank get in a car accident when a shadowy figure steps into the road. She staggers to the nearby ranger station, where she finds broken furniture and a lot of blood. The people in the nearby town erupt in panic. It turns out that the ghosts of the dead have come back to walk the Earth—and they’ve brought some very bad things with them. Silva’s prose writhes with angst and urgency, as here where Liz witnesses the chaos in town: “Cardend was a throbbing heart of anarchy. Mothers and fathers sprinted down the road toward us, cradling their children. Others yanked them behind like rag dolls. A man in an oily jumpsuit smashed a car window with a crowbar on our left. I slowed the Jeep, trying to make my way through the human thicket.” The author mixes horror and crime elements with some imaginative worldbuilding and a satisfying psychological element. Though they at times adhere to type, her characters are well defined, and the audience will have no trouble getting caught up in Liz’s emotional plunge through the dark. Readers will look forward to seeing what lurks in the next volume.

An inventive, thoughtfully constructed, chilling fantasy.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-578-95370-0

Page Count: 364

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.

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THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES

Things are about to get bloody for a group of Charleston housewives.

In 1988, the scariest thing in former nurse Patricia Campbell’s life is showing up to book club, since she hasn’t read the book. It’s hard to get any reading done between raising two kids, Blue and Korey, picking up after her husband, Carter, a psychiatrist, and taking care of her live-in mother-in-law, Miss Mary, who seems to have dementia. It doesn’t help that the books chosen by the Literary Guild of Mt. Pleasant are just plain boring. But when fellow book-club member Kitty gives Patricia a gloriously trashy true-crime novel, Patricia is instantly hooked, and soon she’s attending a very different kind of book club with Kitty and her friends Grace, Slick, and Maryellen. She has a full plate at home, but Patricia values her new friendships and still longs for a bit of excitement. When James Harris moves in down the street, the women are intrigued. Who is this handsome night owl, and why does Miss Mary insist that she knows him? A series of horrific events stretches Patricia’s nerves and her Southern civility to the breaking point. (A skin-crawling scene involving a horde of rats is a standout.) She just knows James is up to no good, but getting anyone to believe her is a Sisyphean feat. After all, she’s just a housewife. Hendrix juxtaposes the hypnotic mundanity of suburbia (which has a few dark underpinnings of its own) against an insidious evil that has taken root in Patricia’s insular neighborhood. It’s gratifying to see her grow from someone who apologizes for apologizing to a fiercely brave woman determined to do the right thing—hopefully with the help of her friends. Hendrix (We Sold Our Souls, 2018, etc.) cleverly sprinkles in nods to well-established vampire lore, and the fact that he’s a master at conjuring heady 1990s nostalgia is just the icing on what is his best book yet.

Fans of smart horror will sink their teeth into this one.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68369-143-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Real events like the Vietnam draft and Stonewall uprising enter the characters' family history as well as a stunning plot...

THE RULES OF MAGIC

The Owens sisters are back—not in their previous guise as elderly aunties casting spells in Hoffman’s occult romance Practical Magic (1995), but as fledgling witches in the New York City captured in Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids.

In that magical, mystical milieu, Franny and Bridget are joined by a new character: their foxy younger brother, Vincent, whose “unearthly” charm sends grown women in search of love potions. Heading into the summer of 1960, the three Owens siblings are ever more conscious of their family's quirkiness—and not just the incidents of levitation and gift for reading each other's thoughts while traipsing home to their parents' funky Manhattan town house. The instant Franny turns 17, they are all shipped off to spend the summer with their mother's aunt in Massachusetts. Isabelle Owens might enlist them for esoteric projects like making black soap or picking herbs to cure a neighbor's jealousy, but she at least offers respite from their fretful mother's strict rules against going shoeless, bringing home stray birds, wandering into Greenwich Village, or falling in love. In short order, the siblings meet a know-it-all Boston cousin, April, who brings them up to speed on the curse set in motion by their Salem-witch ancestor, Maria Owens. It spells certain death for males who attempt to woo an Owens woman. Naturally this knowledge does not deter the current generation from circumventing the rule—Bridget most passionately, Franny most rationally, and Vincent most recklessly (believing his gender may protect him). In time, the sisters ignore their mother's plea and move to Greenwich Village, setting up an apothecary, while their rock-star brother, who glimpsed his future in Isabelle’s nifty three-way mirror, breaks hearts like there's no tomorrow. No one's more confident or entertaining than Hoffman at putting across characters willing to tempt fate for true love.

Real events like the Vietnam draft and Stonewall uprising enter the characters' family history as well as a stunning plot twist—delivering everything fans of a much-loved book could hope for in a prequel.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3747-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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