Something coming back from the dead was almost always bad news. – David Wong
Well, if I didn’t know it before, I know it now. Jordan L. Hawk has definitely taught me that dead things just need to go ahead and stay dead, dammit. This book made me channel my inner Haley Joel Osment, “I see dead people”, now just let me go to sleep without seeing boogie men when I close my eyes, thank you ever so much.
Just like Widdershins, Hainted once again offers a healthy dose of mythology and the macabre, though this time it’s in a contemporary rural North Carolina setting, where Dan Miller, resident Walker, has given up carrying on his ancestral legacy in favor of being a full-time surrogate father figure to his brother and sister, Virgil and Bea, following their parents’ untimely deaths. It’s a circumstance, though, that was destined to change sooner or later, because we all know better than to think a man’s destiny gives a rat’s furry arse about his good intentions, don’t we?
Dan becomes an unlikely accomplice to the new stranger in town, a beautiful and edgy and enigmatic man who shows up on the doorstep of Hoary Oak Hill Farm looking for Simone Miller, Dan’s mother. Leif Helsvin needs some serious help; no, actually, he needs a freaking miracle, but since help is the best he can hope for, hope will have to do. It’s the only prayer he has of catching and killing a mad man bent on raising the dead and creating his own special brand of hell on earth, an army of reanimated corpses entirely under his control. It is a nightmare of epic proportions and it’s up to Dan and Leif, and Dan’s friend and fellow Walker, Taryn, to protect the living from this megalomaniacal plot.
Two men, one who has given up on the idea of a relationship because he is now bound to a hometown to which he’d sworn never to return; the other, a man for whom the idea of a relationship is an entirely foreign concept because relationships mean intimacy and intimacy means attachments and attachments mean the possibility of spilling all the horrific secrets in his past, form an alliance and find a way to fall in love amidst the threat of what amounts to a zombie apocalypse waged by a man to whom Leif is regretfully attached. Both men carry their share of burdens and they can either help each other lighten the loads they bear, or they can both be crushed under the weight of their respective pasts. Their choices could mean the difference between success and failure, and the fate of humankind will hang in the balance, if complete trust is not something they’re willing to risk.
Yeah, zombies. Go ahead and say “Ick” because the walking dead are super-icky, and Jordan L. Hawk writes in such perfect imagery that there’s no mistaking your imagination has plenty to work with. If I never see the word “ichor” again, it’ll be too soon. ::shivers:: See? Even that word has the “ick” sound in it, and there’s plenty of it to go around as these manipulators of the physical and practitioners of the metaphysical play at creating and controlling chaos.
This book was another big score for me. It was a great blend of the supernatural and the gruesome, and the perfect harmonizing of a tenuous love story set against a climate of the impossible and the improbable and, ultimately, in the end, one blessed by the divine, though there was plenty of deception and betrayal and fear and danger to overcome first.
Anyone who’s read this book and thinks there ought to be a sequel, raise your hand. ::raises hand:: Uh-huh, count me in.
Be sure to stay tuned, because Jordan L. Hawk is coming up next week with a new release, answers to some questions—both serious and not so much—as well as the chance for one lucky reader to win a copy of Widdershins: Book One in the Whyborne & Griffin series!