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
~ 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
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.
The Question Is Murder is his fourth 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.
Visit Mark's website at MarkWillen.com to learn more
about him, to read his reviews of other mysteries and contemporary novels, and to sign up for his newsletter.