A promising first installment in a strange blend of theological horror.

The Key

From the The Incarnations of Joe series , Vol. 1

An intriguing supernatural tale in which a young man uncovers a hidden truth about his heritage.

At the start of Weatherall’s tense and atmospheric debut, the first in a projected series, the Magister family—17-year-old Joe; his mother, Madeline; and his loutish, alcoholic stepfather, Will—are driving through a snowstorm in Ontario’s remote Nahanni Valley when they accidentally hit a wolf on the road. The year is 1960, long before GPS or cellphones, and Joe’s stepfather drives off from the impact without a second thought. Joe, however, agonizes at the thought of the wounded animal out there in the dark. He slips away from home late that night intent on finding the wolf—and finding in the process much more than he expected. When he finally stumbles back home, he’s changed—immune to cold, tireless, and preternaturally perceptive. In subsequent days, he encounters a mysterious woman named Tereene who unfolds to him not only his true nature, but also the supernatural underpinnings of reality itself, in which, she explains, souls get stronger as they age and feed on emotions, eventually becoming powerful, angel-like beings, but even so, as his own personal transformation continues, Joe wonders if he’s given his soul to the devil. Weatherall manipulates the many moving parts of this new cosmology with skill and economy. His simply evil characters tend to feel a bit pat, and Joe’s journey from innocent youth to otherworldly warrior is one readers of horror fantasy have seen many times before. But the tale is told with vigor and conviction nonetheless. The novel’s spiritual world—where traditional notions of good and evil are richly confused and complicated—is one the reader must navigate right alongside Joe.

A promising first installment in a strange blend of theological horror.

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-46-026629-8

Page Count: 264

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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