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ISBN: 978-1-940222-44-8
300 pages

$14.97 in softcover
$4.97 in ebooks

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Mark Willen

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Hawke's Point

by Mark Willen

Jonas Hawke, a recovering alcoholic with bouts of crankiness and unmitigated orneriness, may be past his prime but he's still a damned good lawyer. That's why everyone in Beacon Junction turns to him for advice as soon as something goes wrong. And plenty does – murder, adultery, corporate conspiracy – everything you'd expect from a sleepy Vermont town.
      A mysterious stranger arrives in town to question Jonas's handling of a decades-old murder trial, forcing him to confront an ethical lapse in his past. When evidence surfaces that a heart stent made by a local company may be deadly, he is drawn into an ethical quagmire that will determine how he'll be remembered.
      Hawke's Point is the story of a broken man who gets a second chance to do the right thing, a novel with a potent mix of complex characters, life-and-death problems to keep them busy, and a page-turning plot.

Praise for Hawke's Point

An inspiring read, Hawke's Point was elegantly and tightly written and told a story not just of tense situations, but the people in them. Highly recommended.
      ~ Frances Carden, Reader's Lane reviews
See the full review at Reader's Lane reviews or here.

At the beginning of Hawke's Point by Mark Willen, Beacon Junction, Vermont, is a sleepy little town. Jonas Hawke, a retired lawyer and proprietor of a B&B, is one of the town's most prominent citizens, and Harrison Medical Devices is its largest business. But several things happen that threaten to upset the apple cart. A high-level employee at Harrison confronts his boss with his suspicion that a stent that the company makes may have been responsible for at least a dozen deaths. At the same time, a mysterious young man comes to town to do research in the archives of the town's weekly newspaper, which is run by Jonas' son Nathan. The young man, Steven Delacourt, turns out to be the grandson of Harrison's founder and the son of a man who had once been accused of murdering him. Jonas Hawke, as an attorney, had cleared Steven's father's name—or had he?
      As one who has friends in Brattleboro, a real town that, in the book, is near the fictional Beacon Junction, I can testify that Mark Willen gives a very realistic depiction of Vermont small-town life. More importantly, he is a master of depicting family dynamics. While the Hawke family is a comfortable one, it is also problematic, having seen the death of one of Jonas' children and an affair on the part of his wife. This is not a courtroom drama—we don't see Jonas in action as a lawyer until near the end of the book—but Willen does a good job of showing why Jonas is so respected in his professional capacity. Willen also gives his story a Peyton Place kind of flavor by giving the B&B's cook another job—that of a hooker. All in all, Hawke's Point is a well-written story of small-town intrigue.
      ~ Raanan Geberer for Readers' Favorite

First, I should note that I won this book in the Giveaway. Second, I understand that this is the Author's first published novel. Disclaimers aside, I must state that I would have gladly purchased this book and I eagerly await Mr. Willen's next work.
      Hawke's Point explores timely moral themes in a small Vermont town. While the main characters, namely Jonas, Emma, and Mary Louise, strike a familiar chord, don't assume they're always predictable. Willen loves complication; his story lines, human dynamics, and characters reverberate within layers.
      Mr. Willen develops the story gradually, complete with twists (and a couple of knots) and ethical questions. Along the journey, he introduces each character as though he or she is a neighbor or co-worker. The main character, Jonas, is a wonderful combination of intelligence, sadness, trustworthiness, loyalty, and regret. He leads the reader through a set of circumstances that demands confronting the past while charging into the future.
      I thoroughly enjoyed Hawke's Point; Willen's initial work is worthy of recognition it will undoubtedly receive.
      ~ KC Smith, Goodreads Review

What a storyteller; I loved this and was caught right up in it. Quiet, "normal" community with so much actually going on among a wide range of folks. Several lines rippled in directions I hadn't anticipated, so that it became quite a page turner.
      ~ Constance Fullerton

Almost every day people are forced to choose between right and wrong. Usually these decisions involve minor issues, but sometimes they can be life-altering. Taken together, they define who we are. In Mark Willen's new novel, Hawke's Point, an accumulation of decisions, past and present, build characters who hurt, yearn, regret, and still hope as deeply as your wife, your brother, or yourself. They are real, which means as a reader I struggled with them in every choice they had to make.
      Sometimes I agreed with what the characters did and sometimes I didn't. But I was always intrigued and rooting for them to do the right thing. In this way, Hawke's Point is haunting. Is anyone ever completely sure they made the right decision? I don't know if Willen's characters always made the right decision, but they gave me a lot to think about, and that's the kind of novel I like. I'll be thinking about these people for a long time.
      ~ Sally Whitney, The Blog

"As Mark Willen explores life in a small Vermont community he addresses large themes: guilt, forgiveness, familial loss, love, ethical dilemmas of many kinds. Vivid, complex characters like Jonas Hawke, retired lawyer and repository of many of the community's secrets, engage the reader and move the narrative along at an energetic pace. This is a novel so rich in humanity and situation that the world of Hawke's Point will continue to beguile long after the reader has turned the last page."
      ~ Margaret Meyers, author of Dislocation and Swimming in the Congo

Click here to see all the reviews for Hawke's Point!

An Excerpt:

      The cold rain suited Jonas Hawke's mood. He didn't like large gatherings, and he especially hated funerals.
      "Everyone hates funerals," Emma reminded him. "Have you ever heard anyone say they liked going to a funeral?"
      "Undertakers, maybe."
      "You're giving the eulogy, for heaven's sake."
      "Only because I couldn't say no."
      "Stop it. He was your partner for twenty-five years."
      Jonas frowned as he buttoned his white shirt and tied a full Windsor in his gray speckled tie, both remnants of his four decades as a lawyer. The tie was a little too wide to be fashionable, but no one in Beacon Junction was likely to know that. Folks might notice, though, that the shirt collar was too big, exposing the loose skin on his neck.
      Jonas wasn't vain, but he couldn't help being aware of how time had treated him. In his prime, he cut an imposing figure, with huge hands and clear blue eyes that could be either charming or intimidating, depending on his mood. When he was thirty, Jonas stood six feet, two inches tall and weighed close to two hundred pounds, a hard man to miss and even harder to ignore. He was well liked, despite a natural shyness at odds with his professional demeanor.
      He was also well respected-both for what he'd accomplished and for all he would have accomplished if it hadn't been for the accident, which had set him to drinking more and doing less. For a while, people believed he would get over it and go back to being who he was. Eventually, he did recover somewhat, gradually emerging from the fortress he'd built around himself. But never completely, and now, at seventy-three, his appearance matched his retreat from life. His curved spine and shabby posture meant the top of his almost bald head was little more than six feet from the ground, and his one hundred seventy pounds hung loosely from his bones. One of those blue eyes was glazed over with a milky cataract, and his once-powerful hands were marked with arthritic lumps.
      Emma helped him with his jacket, and he realized she was ready, just waiting on him. It had always been the other way around when they were younger.

Mark Willen grew up and attended college in New England before embarking on a journalism career based in Washington. He has been a reporter, editor, producer, columnist, and blogger at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. He has published and broadcast hundreds of nonfiction articles from datelines as varied as New York, Concord, N.H., Moscow, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, South Africa.
      Mark retired from full-time journalism in December 2010 to devote his energies to writing fiction. His short stories have been published in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. Hawke's Point is his first novel.
      Mark also leads a writer's workshop for teenagers, and serves as a volunteer tax preparer for elderly and low-income clients. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

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