Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning to review, which is a very different genre to his previous book The Colonel and the Bee which I read a couple of years ago.

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning

Here is the book blurb.

Seeking to rediscover herself after a divorce, a detective-minded woman embarks on solving the small mysteries of a Midwest neighborhood, only to learn the secrets hidden there are more horrifying than she could have ever imagined.

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

This story is set in 1989 when Francine house-sits for her sister Ellie, whilst trying to get her life back on track after a messy divorce. Before Ellie and husband Pete leave for their own holiday, they throw a party introducing Francine to all their neighbours.

Francine bonds with Ellie’s best friend Laura-Jean and elderly Roland Gerber at the party, but why does Magdalena throw a cocktail in Francine’s face? Following in the footsteps of her heroine Nancy Drew, this is the first mystery that Francine tries to investigate. She gets Laura-Jean to give her a gossipy tour of the neighbourhood, which helps to build a picture of all the characters. The neighbourhood feels very much in period with the time it is set.

But one thing leads to another, as Francine makes more discoveries. There are certainly some very unexpected twists that I didn’t see coming.

Initially I wasn’t sure what to make of this story, but it certainly grew on me as the storyline developed.

Hawthorn Woods is available on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle format. A psychological suspense filled mystery.

About the author

Patrick Canning is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee (2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his dog Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.

To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

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