Friday, February 23, 2018

The Hush

The Hush by John Hart
St. Martin's Press: 2/27/18
eBook review copy; 432 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 978125001230

The Hush by John Hart is a highly recommended thriller. It is also a sequel to 2009's The Last Child, although it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Johnny Merrimon and Jack Cross are back. It's been ten years since the events from The Last Child (Johnny became a national celebrity after capturing the man responsible for murdering his sister Alyssa and their father). Johnny, now 23, is living a solitary life on the six thousand acres called Hush Arbor in North Carolina. He struggles to keep his life private, despite the fact that a book has been written about what happened when he was thirteen. Jack is now an attorney and has returned to Raven County to practice law. He and Johnny still have an unbreakable bond and connection to each other.

Johnny has been fighting a legal battle to keep the land that he inherited five years ago. Cree Freemantle, a young woman who also has a claim to the land, is challenging him legally for ownership of the property. Johnny won the initial suit, but the case has now reached the appellate court.  Johnny is land rich, but cash poor and he needs Jack to help him fight the legal battle for the property. Jack wants to help Johnny, and tries to arrange a more qualified attorney on a pro bono basis to handle the appeal. But he also senses an unseen menace and feels like there is something dark and sinister living in Hush Arbor. He also questions Johnny's ability to heal so quickly.

There is no doubt that Hart has written a very compelling novel in The Hush. The quality of the writing is excellent. The setting is described picture-perfect, creating an atmospheric setting for what soon heads down the path of magic realism and a supernatural presence.  It does start out rather slow, but soon events take off, violently. There is some shifting back and forth in time in the narrative as characters connect to others who lived in the past. "There is no normal in the Hush. There is only story and magic."

I haven't read The Last Child, although I'd like to after reading The Hush. While it is true that this novel can be enjoyed without reading the previous novel, in some ways I feel like I would have enjoyed The Last Child more than The Hush. Once the novel headed down the magic supernatural dark forces path along with the tie-in to events that happened in the 1850's, I began to question why I was reading it. Still, it is a satisfying story and well written, which matters a great deal to me. I didn't particularly like the ending, but it does bring the story to a conclusion. 3.5 rounded up

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

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