“Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”
—John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
—John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
Author: John McIlveen
Publisher: Macabre Ink, a division of Crossroads Press
Published: June 27, 2015
Jacket design: David Dodd at Crossroads Publishing
Author photographer: Tony Tremblay
"This book was provided by John McIlveen in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."
Seven year old twins, Hannah and Anna Amiel witness a horrific crime in their own home in Elm Creek, Nebraska and they have to "Ruuunnn!" to their "safe" place only to find their sanctuary gets violated too.
Two years later and fifteen hundred miles away Isaac Rawls, a self-labeled trash jockey, was making his rounds when he discovers a cold, dirty, and shoeless girl behind a Dumpster. Instantly an anger shot through him - Who did this?! After dialing 911 he took the child into the warmth of his cab and awaited for the authorities.
Debbie Gillian, a case worker for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, gets the case of the small catatonic girl found behind that Dumpster.
Days later, Debbie "reaches" the girl and finds out her name is Hannah. Not only does Debbie reach the girl, she finds while digging into Hannah's background her reality is slipping away. Or is it?
Detective Phil Davenport, Riverside Police CACU (Crimes Against Children Unit) has everything I would expect from a cop who wants nothing more than the bottom line: needs to work on patience, social manners, respect for victims feelings, etc..
He comes with news - Hannah Amiel is a twin and, her sister is missing too. And now the story becomes complex.
This novel is flooded with social issues of child abuse, child neglect, drug addicts, murder, and love. With a dash of hope. John McIlveen writes about the horror these girls went through, including his sub-plot with Debbie Gillian, in a sympathetic way. The way he wrote, in a supernatural/reality prose about victims of trauma and (at times the anguish) of people trying to help is sublime.
You really can picture the scenarios.
As Hannah’s secrets of her past come to light, John McIlveen takes the reader into a fantasy realm where reality is there as long as you believe in yourself.
What I really loved about this read, McIlveen takes the narration on a plane of balance. The supernatural/paranormal topic could go anywhere the imagination could go, yet, he writes with reality being a solid foundation. His off-the-wall humor he throws in is timed perfectly I will add.
His characters are believably real. Each having their own make up and flaws and most importantly, their humanity as human beings intact (minus the antagonists). Loved this read. My favorite character in this novel - having been born and raised on the shores of Lake Erie - I enjoyed the red cardinal.
Oh, the mystery element? As you curl up with your favorite drink and have your comforter surrounding you, I know you all will have that "hope" going through you as John McIlveen makes you turn the page. The urge you'll have in finding out the mystery, oh you'll have the urge alright.
The ending is quite satisfying knowing there is a smile with relief as madness sets in.
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Most enjoyable read folks - highly recommended.
Here's where you can get your fingers on HANNAHWHERE:
- Amazon ~ Kindle $4.99 ~ Hardcover $ 26.99 ~ Paperback $15.99 USD
- Barnes & Noble ~ NOOK $4.99 ~ Hardcover $26.99 ~ Paperback $15.99 USD
- IndieBound ~ Support your local book stores
John's inspiration for the novel
John McIlveen has also authored two story collections:
Welcome to the world of John McIlveen. Enter, please, but be warned… here you will find tales that blur the lines of horror, vengeance, humor, sorrow, and humanity. You will encounter broken people with dark secrets and darker desires.
Meet Justice, whose art exposes your soul.
Ride along as a man’s search for his daughter reveals that sometimes the best way to heal old scars is to make new ones.
Go on vacation with the Seth’s, who are forced to play a game that is every parent’s nightmare.
Play a Sunday game of softball with the most unusual team imaginable.
You will experience the foulest parts of humanity, as well as the funniest and sweetest. Some of these stories will make you laugh, some will anger or shock you, but all of them will affect you. You will love, hate, and sympathize with the characters, possibly at the same time.
The collection includes an introduction by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden and an afterword by James A. Moore.
Short stories included in this collection:
Paint It Black
Make a Choice
A Mother’s Love
The Confession of a Confirmed Has Been
Hell to Pay
What If …
A Perfect Man
In Defense of …
Playing the Huddys
In the novelette Jerks, Kelly learns that men are indeed beasts, first hurtfully, then shockingly, and ultimately, seductively.
In Playing the Huddys (based on a true story) we encounter the dark side of a New England family during an impromptu, Saturday morning softball game.
In Signs, two redneck buddies' life-long friendship is tested when they read the signs.
In A Perfect Man, Jake, in his search for perfection, finds that taking the wrong road still can lead to perfection.
With Saddled Vengeance, you encounter a West that never was... hopefully.
Praise for JERKS …
“With one book, John McIlveen has reversed the intellectual growth I’ve acquired from every classic work of literature I’ve ever read. In fact, even everyday tasks like tying my shoes have become a challenge, thanks to my newly eroded brain. Oh, sure, JERKS is funny as hell, but it has ruined my life. Screw you, McIlveen.” – Jeff Strand, author of WOLF HUNT
“McIlveen’s writing is always dark and wicked. Now, in JERKS, he shows off his wickedly dark sense of humor, a love of human absurdity, and a keen eye for the bizarre details of life. The man has a twisted mind, which is perfect for our twisted world.” – Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author.
“There’s dark fiction. There’s dark humor. And then there’s John McIlveen, who combines the two in the mirthfully macabre JERKS. Funny as hell!” – Brian Keene, author of CLICKERS and DARK HOLLOW
Visit John McIlveen
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