Caleb Hawkins can never forget what happened at The Pagan Stone twenty-one years ago - and neither can Hawkins Hollow. For every seven years in July, the locals do unspeakable things, and then don't remember them. The collective madness has given the town the reputation of a village possessed, and draws reporter and author Quinn Black. Cal, descendant of the town founders, has agreed to talk to her. It is only February, but he has already sensed the stirrings of evil. The signs have never been this strong before. He will need help, from his best friends Fox and Gage, and from Quinn.
I want to start this with a comment about the names or more precisely about one name - Quinn. I could have sworn that I have read a novel by Nora Roberts that had a character named Quinn it. I was sure that it was a male character (and I was pretty sure that it was in the last trilogy), and as I read this novel it really distracted me to think that an author would recycle a name in books that were published so closely together. Quite frankly, I should have known better than to doubt Nora Roberts - it was me that was an idiot! The vampire in the Circle trilogy was Cian (note...not Quinn), there were no main characters called Quinn in either Angel Falls, High Noon or The Three Fates, or in the In the Garden trilogy or the Born in Trilogy. The only thing I can think of is that I was getting confused with another character from another author's book maybe from the Sookie Stackhouse series (unlikely), or the other possibility is that I was getting muddled with the surname of the boys from the Chesapeake books by NR. (Mmmmm....Cam Quinn!) Whatever it was, it really bothered me all the way through this book.
So far I have enjoyed just about every Nora Roberts book I have read. I love the relationship that build between the hero and the heroine, I love the friendships between the other characters, I love the family dynamics. In some ways I wonder if I love the comfort of a Nora Roberts book. What I did feel this time though, was that I had read parts of this book before, most particularly in the Circle trilogy. We had a group of people coming together to fight a paranormal fight where they had to learn not only about each other. They become isolated from others, and basically have to learn to rely on themselves as they fight. They quickly and neatly pair off into couples who share either similar or complimentary skills or talents, and it certainly feels as though there was a showdown against the enemy at the end of this book, and I am expecting one in the next book, before there is the almighty showdown at the end of the trilogy.
And yet, this book is different in many ways as well. Where the aforementioned Circle trilogy was definitely a foray into the paranormal, this has more of a horror feel to it - both supernatural but with different elements. Even just in this book there were some truly horrible things happening to the characters and to the town. I can't wait to see what she has in mind for the next two books. Fortunately many of the people in the town cannot see what is really happening...otherwise real estate prices would be going way down really quickly!
Caleb, Fox and Gage are more than just best friends - they are blood brothers. Unfortunately when they swore their oath to each other at Pagan Rock in the woods near their hometown, they let loose an entity that visits again each seven years, causing a temporary madness to descent into their small hometown of Hawkins Hollow - a temporary madness that leads to death and chaos all round. With the next seventh anniversary almost upon them, the signs are already there that this is going to be the worst visitation yet.
Into this world comes Quinn Black. She is an author/writer who specialises in writing about those small towns that seem to be just a little off-centre, for whatever reason. Now, she wants to write about the events that happen each seven years in Hawkins Hollows.
The relationship between Quinn and Caleb is well characterised. I totally bought Caleb as someone who had in some ways held himself distant from love because he didn't want to take the risk of having someone in his life too precious to lose during that one strange week in July. In the trilogies I have previously read by Roberts there has usually been some sense of build up in the tension between at least one of the other couples, but I really didn't feel it all that much in this book. Maybe a little instant attraction between Gage and Cybil, but really not a lot between Fox and Layla. I am sure that that issue will be resolved in their own books!
Aside from the fact that I had name issues, I did really enjoy this book. The one downside now though is that I have to wait for months for the next book in the trilogy to come out. I really should have waited until they had all been published to read this!
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