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Hawk Mountain

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An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder. Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water’s edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years, but now An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder. Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water’s edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years, but now seems overjoyed to have “run into” his old friend. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And can he spend the night? What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and cunning. As Jack invades Todd’s life, pain and intimidation from the past unearth knife-edge suspense in the present. Set in a small town on the New England coast, Conner Habib’s debut introduces characters trapped in isolation by the expansive woods and the encroaching ocean, their violence an expression of repressed desire and the damage it can inflict. Both gruesome and tender, Hawk Mountain offers a compelling look at how love and hate are indissoluble, intertwined until the last breath.


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An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder. Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water’s edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years, but now An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder. Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water’s edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years, but now seems overjoyed to have “run into” his old friend. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And can he spend the night? What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and cunning. As Jack invades Todd’s life, pain and intimidation from the past unearth knife-edge suspense in the present. Set in a small town on the New England coast, Conner Habib’s debut introduces characters trapped in isolation by the expansive woods and the encroaching ocean, their violence an expression of repressed desire and the damage it can inflict. Both gruesome and tender, Hawk Mountain offers a compelling look at how love and hate are indissoluble, intertwined until the last breath.

30 review for Hawk Mountain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    . . . Todd searches and searches. But Jack is gone. Except the impression of Jack will never be gone, not really. He's in the dark behind Todd's closed eyes, like an afterimage from staring too long into a burning light. And then, fifteen years later, Todd will open his eyes, and Jack will be there above him again, blotting out the sun. Remember that bully from high school, the one who tormented you for no reason, and made your senior year a living hell? Now imagine having him enter your life agai . . . Todd searches and searches. But Jack is gone. Except the impression of Jack will never be gone, not really. He's in the dark behind Todd's closed eyes, like an afterimage from staring too long into a burning light. And then, fifteen years later, Todd will open his eyes, and Jack will be there above him again, blotting out the sun. Remember that bully from high school, the one who tormented you for no reason, and made your senior year a living hell? Now imagine having him enter your life again fifteen years later. I had no idea what to expect from this little walk on the dark side. I thought there might be more of a reaction from Todd, a verbal confrontation with a rehash of all those old wounds, along with a demand for an explanation, but it never really comes . . . not verbally, anyway. I finished the book still not knowing which characters really deserved my sympathies. The only thing I know for sure is that this was one disturbing, twisty read This title will be available July 5th.

  2. 5 out of 5

    abigail ❥

    4.5 stars Living your life numb and grudged. This was brilliant. Conner Habib knocked it out of the park with this debut! I was engaged from the start. This book touches on topics of bullying, abuse, mental health, sexual identity, manipulation, and grief. Mainly focusing on the effects of what constant harassment and neglect can build within a person. This story follows Todd and his son, Anthony, in the aftereffects of moving back to Todd's hometown to start over and get back to living, five years 4.5 stars Living your life numb and grudged. This was brilliant. Conner Habib knocked it out of the park with this debut! I was engaged from the start. This book touches on topics of bullying, abuse, mental health, sexual identity, manipulation, and grief. Mainly focusing on the effects of what constant harassment and neglect can build within a person. This story follows Todd and his son, Anthony, in the aftereffects of moving back to Todd's hometown to start over and get back to living, five years after his divorce from Livia who walked out on a life with him and her child. When someone from Todd's high school days, Jack, comes barreling back into his life. Piece by piece the suppressed anger and mask slowly chip away. Livia comes knocking—decided she finally wants a relationship with Anthony. Stress, grudges, and accusations cause turmoil and a crack in Todd's state of mind. Will everything he does finally give him ease? Thank you W. W. Norton & Company for gifting me this ARC! This will be published July 5th, 2022!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    Gory? Yes. But so, so good.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Hawk Mountain , Conner Habib's debut novel, is creepy and gory, yet shockingly emotional in places. Todd is at the beach one afternoon with his young son Anthony when a man approaches. He is shocked to discover that the man is Jack, who transferred to Todd’s high school senior year and bullied him relentlessly, causing him to be the object of ridicule by many of his peers. But Jack is apparently thrilled to have run into his “old friend.” Although Todd would like Jack to say hello and keep on w Hawk Mountain , Conner Habib's debut novel, is creepy and gory, yet shockingly emotional in places. Todd is at the beach one afternoon with his young son Anthony when a man approaches. He is shocked to discover that the man is Jack, who transferred to Todd’s high school senior year and bullied him relentlessly, causing him to be the object of ridicule by many of his peers. But Jack is apparently thrilled to have run into his “old friend.” Although Todd would like Jack to say hello and keep on walking, he wants to catch up. And grab dinner. And maybe stay the night? It’s not long before Jack has a fan in Anthony and starts insinuating himself into Todd’s life. His presence reawakens memories Todd had suppressed for years, as well as confusion about his feelings toward his old bully. Little by little, Jack’s presence wreaks havoc in Todd’s life, causing trouble professionally and personally. And as Todd spirals out of control, everything is at risk. This book had intrigued me for a while but it’s so far outside of my comfort zone that I hesitated reading it. It’s definitely gory, but at the same time, it’s a meditation on the lengths we go to hide our desires, and the cruelty we inflict on those we see ourselves in. Todd’s memories of Jack’s cruelty in high school definitely hit very close to home for me. Habib is a tremendously talented writer and this is a very self-assured debut. This is definitely not for everyone but it’s a book that will make you think, and one you’ll want to discuss, even as it creeps you out. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  5. 5 out of 5

    takeeveryshot

    well! okay! yeah sure!

  6. 5 out of 5

    BookChampions

    I haven't read a book this fast in a long time, and I loved every second of it. I found it impossible to turn away from. *Hawk Mountain*, a debut novel by @againsteveryonewithconnerhabib (who also has a thoughtful podcast I've started to listen to) plays out like a thriller but this novel is pure horror. It's expert use of time jumps and foreshadowing and withholding was so effective and unsettling; the gruesome moments left me breathless. And I cared about the main character. A bit of *The Talente I haven't read a book this fast in a long time, and I loved every second of it. I found it impossible to turn away from. *Hawk Mountain*, a debut novel by @againsteveryonewithconnerhabib (who also has a thoughtful podcast I've started to listen to) plays out like a thriller but this novel is pure horror. It's expert use of time jumps and foreshadowing and withholding was so effective and unsettling; the gruesome moments left me breathless. And I cared about the main character. A bit of *The Talented Mr. Ripley* and a heavy dose of the bloodiest of Alfred Hitchcock scenes, *Hawk Mountain* gave me a glorious rush to satisfy my hunger for horror. Plus, it's queer! Plus, it examines masculinity! Plus, you'll want to discuss and argue over the ending. Go read it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Myatt

    First love is the love that stays with you forever (even if you don't want it to) I found this book disturbing, retch inducing, sympathy inducing and all the time I knew something EVEN worse was just around the corner! This book will linger in my mind as I try to figure out just what I've read and if the penultimate part really ended that way....... First love is the love that stays with you forever (even if you don't want it to) I found this book disturbing, retch inducing, sympathy inducing and all the time I knew something EVEN worse was just around the corner! This book will linger in my mind as I try to figure out just what I've read and if the penultimate part really ended that way.......

  8. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I was interested in Hawk Mountain from the moment I read the blurb: ‘a horror novel about partners and friends, fathers and sons, bullies and scapegoats’... It wastes no time in presenting what immediately seems like a true nightmare of a scenario. Todd, a teacher and single dad, has a ‘chance encounter’ with Jack, who bullied him at school. As memories of that time crowd in on Todd, Jack claims he needs somewhere to spend the night – and then won’t leave. The idea of someone who made your life I was interested in Hawk Mountain from the moment I read the blurb: ‘a horror novel about partners and friends, fathers and sons, bullies and scapegoats’... It wastes no time in presenting what immediately seems like a true nightmare of a scenario. Todd, a teacher and single dad, has a ‘chance encounter’ with Jack, who bullied him at school. As memories of that time crowd in on Todd, Jack claims he needs somewhere to spend the night – and then won’t leave. The idea of someone who made your life hell in the past finagling their way in like this, even establishing a bond with your child, is skin-crawling stuff, and Habib does an amazing job of making Todd’s resulting dilemma palpably realistic. But then something happens that flips absolutely everything on its head. And what’s really clever about the story from that point on is that, in a twisted way, it conforms to what you’re led to expect; it just does so in an upside-down way, deliberately playing with the reader’s sympathies and perceptions. It’s a quick, suspenseful read with a devilishly smart core. I received an advance review copy of Hawk Mountain from the publisher through Edelweiss. TinyLetter | Linktree

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

    I was not prepared for the ride this book took me on. You ever watch a scene in a movie where a character just SNAPS out of nowhere and then all of a sudden it shows the character was just zoning out? Well our initial plot twist was so sudden and intense that I genuinely felt that was the case, but I was wrong. That snap heralded such a tone change for the better part of this read to a point that I quite literally stayed up until 2am to finish reading. Read. This. Book. Thank you to NetGalley for I was not prepared for the ride this book took me on. You ever watch a scene in a movie where a character just SNAPS out of nowhere and then all of a sudden it shows the character was just zoning out? Well our initial plot twist was so sudden and intense that I genuinely felt that was the case, but I was wrong. That snap heralded such a tone change for the better part of this read to a point that I quite literally stayed up until 2am to finish reading. Read. This. Book. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    This was extremely disturbing and so horrifying I had to pace my reading. And I’m saying this as a big horror fan who doesn’t squirmish easily. This is the bleakest book I’ve ever read in my life. 5 stars but cannot imagine recommending it to anyone I know.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    First love gone wrong - extremely wrong. Habib got the flow between past and present just right, delicate and non invasive. Another thread that keeps rising to the surface of my thoughts is that no matter how hard we try to give our children a better experience than we had growing up, we still do not get it right. Everything went haywire for Todd in this regard. Even in dealing with his students he found himself in the part of the aggressor in alienating Banner from his friends. Habib shows the cy First love gone wrong - extremely wrong. Habib got the flow between past and present just right, delicate and non invasive. Another thread that keeps rising to the surface of my thoughts is that no matter how hard we try to give our children a better experience than we had growing up, we still do not get it right. Everything went haywire for Todd in this regard. Even in dealing with his students he found himself in the part of the aggressor in alienating Banner from his friends. Habib shows the cycle how the abused end up abusing so very well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    The premise of this book really intrigued me. A man running into his high school bully years later and having to deal with the tense situations that come up sounded interesting. Especially since the synopsis mentions manipulation, murder, and the story being fast-paced. However I unfortunately found this story to be incredibly underwhelming. The book begins in a dual timeline format switching between when Todd and Jack are in high school and when they run into each other as adults. Something abo The premise of this book really intrigued me. A man running into his high school bully years later and having to deal with the tense situations that come up sounded interesting. Especially since the synopsis mentions manipulation, murder, and the story being fast-paced. However I unfortunately found this story to be incredibly underwhelming. The book begins in a dual timeline format switching between when Todd and Jack are in high school and when they run into each other as adults. Something about the way it was written kept me from truly getting invested with the characters or what was happening to them. I felt like I wasn't learning enough about who they were as people. Also, I would say that apart from a few moments there isn’t anything remotely fast-paced about the story until almost halfway through the book. I do think the book has some thought provoking aspects, such as the long lasting impact of bullying and homophobia. But I just wanted a bit more from the characters themselves. There were some fascinating parts of the plot, but I wanted more development so I could feel like I truly understood why the characters were doing certain things. There were some shocking and suspenseful moments that I think were executed well, but the book as a whole didn't quite work for me. Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Cross

    This was the perfect end of summer book to read! I loved how it played with your mind, and the atmospheric writing had me pushing off things to do so I could finish! This will certainly be a contender for my favorite books of the year!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Those four stars are erring on the side of caution, because I don't know how the existential crisis this book inspired will be resolved. I don't have the existential crisis, though . . . the book does. Is it a thriller? Is it a literary novel? Is it a condemnation of homophobia? A treatise on the impulse toward violence in all men, no matter how superficially benign they are? Or just a 300-page blank canvas onto which the reader can project their own agenda? It has the shape of a thriller, with a Those four stars are erring on the side of caution, because I don't know how the existential crisis this book inspired will be resolved. I don't have the existential crisis, though . . . the book does. Is it a thriller? Is it a literary novel? Is it a condemnation of homophobia? A treatise on the impulse toward violence in all men, no matter how superficially benign they are? Or just a 300-page blank canvas onto which the reader can project their own agenda? It has the shape of a thriller, with a menacing figure insinuating himself, Ripley-esque, into the main character's life. As you can guess, it leads to a violent climax, but a couple hundred pages before you think it's going to happen so the real suspense is "will the author stretch out the unraveling for too long?" In my opinion, he does. The slightly elevated prose is more appropriate to a literary novel . . . except during the most brutal passages, when it becomes poetic to the point of florid. These passages call a little too much attention to themselves, but I must admit, they're done beautifully. The internalized homophobia the main character displays is believable, or at least it would be if the book took place in 1992. Now, with so many LGBTQA+ books, podcasts, TV shows, ad infinitum, it strains credulity to believe that a college-educated man in his 30s could be more closeted than a mothball, unless he's psychotic. Then again, maybe that's the point. As for the violence, the book makes a pretty good case that all men are psycho trainers in training, from earliest childhood. Not an uplifting message, but it's not an uplifting book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    •This book took me for a ride. I finished the last page and was left just staring at the ceiling, blinking in silence, unable to grasp what I was left feeling now that I had completed this harrowing and adrenaline fueled work of fiction. Author, Andrea Lawlor succinctly expresses in their blurb of this book that "finally, a horror story that knows cisheteropatriarchy is the villain!" They couldn’t be more right, and for Hawk Mountain to be a a debut novel really makes me excited for Conner Habib •This book took me for a ride. I finished the last page and was left just staring at the ceiling, blinking in silence, unable to grasp what I was left feeling now that I had completed this harrowing and adrenaline fueled work of fiction. Author, Andrea Lawlor succinctly expresses in their blurb of this book that "finally, a horror story that knows cisheteropatriarchy is the villain!" They couldn’t be more right, and for Hawk Mountain to be a a debut novel really makes me excited for Conner Habib’s literary career. I want to say that I loved this story, which I do, but it is so damn bleak it makes me feel dirty for enjoying it so much. You’ve got to pick this up when it comes out in July. Highly recommend for those who enjoy the marriage of literary fiction and suspense. My nerves are shot, yall. Enjoy!

  16. 4 out of 5

    scams

    dnf’d at 50% found todd to be immensely unlikable in an unfun way. i found the exploration of gayness and masculinity was extremely shallow, the homophobic (and racist) bully who is actually gay and in love with his gay presenting target has been so overdone that if i see it in a contemporary space it better be perfect. there were so many odd clichés when it came to the portrayal of characters it made feel like i was reading a story from a fake AITA reddit post. the book takes a turn out of nowh dnf’d at 50% found todd to be immensely unlikable in an unfun way. i found the exploration of gayness and masculinity was extremely shallow, the homophobic (and racist) bully who is actually gay and in love with his gay presenting target has been so overdone that if i see it in a contemporary space it better be perfect. there were so many odd clichés when it came to the portrayal of characters it made feel like i was reading a story from a fake AITA reddit post. the book takes a turn out of nowhere that i assume was supposed to be chill/terror inducing but felt ham fisted and zapped any tension that the first part was trying to build. this may be because i found the adult todd to be extremely annoying. i really was looking forward to this book because it was pitched to me as something different than it was. this story is pitched as a thriller but had a lot of trouble building suspense. i think if i went in with the expectation of it being lit fic i may have held out longer for pay off. i will say habib’s prose is evocative, and he’s obviously a writer of skill. just wasn’t for me unfortunately. very disappointing😔

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ritchie

    (3.5 stars) Here's my Hawk Mountain story. I picked up a reader's copy of this at the same time I picked up a gay Harlequin romance called The Lights on Knockbridge Lane and I was reading both at the same time. There are similarities: both focus on a single father who meets a potential romantic partner, and both have characters suffering from past traumas. But if Knockbridge is like a Hallmark Christmas romance (with a bit of sex), this is like a summer idyll story that turns into a brutal horro (3.5 stars) Here's my Hawk Mountain story. I picked up a reader's copy of this at the same time I picked up a gay Harlequin romance called The Lights on Knockbridge Lane and I was reading both at the same time. There are similarities: both focus on a single father who meets a potential romantic partner, and both have characters suffering from past traumas. But if Knockbridge is like a Hallmark Christmas romance (with a bit of sex), this is like a summer idyll story that turns into a brutal horror movie. My reaction to this was undoubtedly colored by reading Knockbridge at the same time. The first half of this is told in chapters that alternate between the present day, as Todd, the single dad divorced from his wife, is settling into a new teaching job, and Todd's senior year in high school 15 years ago when he was bullied and psychologically tortured by Jack, a newcomer who is clearly dealing with his own family issues. In the present day, Jack turns up in town, seemingly through pure coincidence, and more or less moves in with Todd to escape a bad marriage. The kicker here is that both men seem to be straight, but we soon learn of queer feelings in both. (I assumed that Todd was gay all along, but it was a bit surprising to discover that he has not yet "come out" to himself.) At the halfway point, a major incident occurs that turns this possibly budding romance on its head. Suffice to say that this is no Hallmark movie. It's not fair to criticize a book because it's not what the reader expects, but still, I think that Habib develops both Todd and Jack so well that I was disappointed in the turn the book takes that stops character development cold. The second half is a bit of a slog and the Hawk Mountain incident that gives the book its title is saved till the end. I'm still not quite sure what to think about this book, but Habib is a good writer and I'd definitely read more by him.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anada Werner

    Horrifically strange, deftly crafted exploration of monstrous masculinity. ‘Not for the faint of heart’ is an understatement here. But if you have the stomach for high key queer quease, Habib delivers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Oh. My. God. It took me a bit to understand what this book was doing to me. The dread that permeates this novel is powerful. A dark, DARK story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zaynab

    2 stars, 1 for being a book with words arranged in a generally serviceable, interesting, readable manner; the other bc I genuinely had fun while reading. Some light, minimal spoilers ahead. I think thrillers may just not be for me. I’ve yet to find one that isn’t, under the light of a tiny bit of brain power, super dumb. But this book in particular, was shelved under horror, in fact one of the top reviews on here refers to it as thriller that reads like horror (par)…. No. There’s not much in here 2 stars, 1 for being a book with words arranged in a generally serviceable, interesting, readable manner; the other bc I genuinely had fun while reading. Some light, minimal spoilers ahead. I think thrillers may just not be for me. I’ve yet to find one that isn’t, under the light of a tiny bit of brain power, super dumb. But this book in particular, was shelved under horror, in fact one of the top reviews on here refers to it as thriller that reads like horror (par)…. No. There’s not much in here that’s particularly thrilling and a few overwrought gross descriptions does not a horror make. This book doesn’t even manage to maintain a creepy atmosphere or a sense of dread, it’s just a book that happens to have some (minimal) murder in it. Same could be said of our protagonist, Todd. He’s more cringe than creepy. I suppose his thought processes could be horrifying for, like, someone who has never experienced an intrusive thought. Or you could even argue they hold a certain effectiveness until the you reach 60% and realize that he has acted on almost none of them, and probably doesn’t intend to (at least in an interesting way, nothing ab him being an abusive dad or shit teacher was particularly interesting to me). I thought the ending was dumb. I get an ambiguous ending, I do, but this felt more like a cop out than anything. After the initial murder happens (like, 25%?) a lot of uninteresting threads are introduced and this ending doesn’t even do the bare minimum service of, like, ending them, if that makes sense. Again, I had a fun time, but was it a good book? nah. initial thoughts: rest in piss todd

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Todd, a 30-something single father, is resting on his local New England beach, watching his 6-year old son play in the waves, when he is approached by a stranger—who turns out not to be a stranger at all. It’s Jack, who had bullied him relentlessly in high school, turning Todd from a moderately popular, happy kid into a confused, bruised outcast. Jack seems delighted to have run into Todd, and soon worms his way into his life, inviting himself to stay at Todd’s house. Todd is reluctant but helpl Todd, a 30-something single father, is resting on his local New England beach, watching his 6-year old son play in the waves, when he is approached by a stranger—who turns out not to be a stranger at all. It’s Jack, who had bullied him relentlessly in high school, turning Todd from a moderately popular, happy kid into a confused, bruised outcast. Jack seems delighted to have run into Todd, and soon worms his way into his life, inviting himself to stay at Todd’s house. Todd is reluctant but helpless against the charismatic Jack’s charm, who seems to have no memory or awareness of turning Todd’s life into hell 15 years earlier. What ensues is a Hitchcockian dance, taut with high but unspoken emotion, as Jack seems to be playing some strange game that Todd can’t quite keep up with. I don’t want to say more to avoid spoilers. Suffice to say there is a horrifying peak, then a gradual mental unfurling. One quibble: perhaps it’s meant to be obvious, but I’m a fairly careful reader, and I’m just not positive I understand what happened to the little boy at the end. (I even rewound and listened again.) I mean, I think I know, but…

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Debut author Conner Habib gives readers a fictional, queer spin on gaslighting that although uneven, shows promise for the writer he can become. While I was ultimately let down by the last third, the novel was a gory (mostly) good time that kept me off balance. Habib applies Hitchcockian sensibilities to the story of a bully, Jack, reconnecting with his former mark, Todd, about 15 years post-high school. Todd, a single father and schoolteacher, is newly divorced and starting over in a small New H Debut author Conner Habib gives readers a fictional, queer spin on gaslighting that although uneven, shows promise for the writer he can become. While I was ultimately let down by the last third, the novel was a gory (mostly) good time that kept me off balance. Habib applies Hitchcockian sensibilities to the story of a bully, Jack, reconnecting with his former mark, Todd, about 15 years post-high school. Todd, a single father and schoolteacher, is newly divorced and starting over in a small New Hampshire town. He doesn’t have the patience for Jack and his attempts at atonement and eventually resentment will boil over into violence. Alternating between high school flashbacks and the present day, we get the full scope of Jack’s juvenile wickedness, and the long-term repercussions of those scars – both physical and mental – Todd still carries because of his abuse. Yet, maybe all was not as it seems? The construct and character development, specifically with Todd, were fantastic. Habib plotted the first half with slowly building tension reminiscent of Wes Craven’s “Last House on the Left,” one of the most disturbing revenge films of all time. But after the big plot twist (about 60 percent in), the rest of the novel fell flat. It seems that the author wasn’t sure how to finish the story now that one of the plot-drivers was out of the picture. The answer is never to throw more things into the mix. Never. I also found the final reveal a little lazy and problematic, and I expect - and want more - from queer artists. The audiobook is narrated by the author, and it wasn't great. His pacing was all over the place, and he really didn’t differentiate between characters. In some ways this helped to keep me engaged, because I had to pay close attention to what he was saying, but you shouldn’t have to work that hard to enjoy a thriller.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aisling Doonan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There is just so much to unpack...I started making notes in hope that they would be useful in compiling a review, but there is just so much to say! I loved the book, the tension was uncomfortable and a little sideways, almost like you were being gaslit with Todd as he remembered his past and navigated his present. I was never quite sure about Jack, the whole way through you could excuse a lot of the things he did, he just seemed over eager which would make sense if he felt guilt over bulling Todd There is just so much to unpack...I started making notes in hope that they would be useful in compiling a review, but there is just so much to say! I loved the book, the tension was uncomfortable and a little sideways, almost like you were being gaslit with Todd as he remembered his past and navigated his present. I was never quite sure about Jack, the whole way through you could excuse a lot of the things he did, he just seemed over eager which would make sense if he felt guilt over bulling Todd when they were teenagers. When Todd finally cracked I got the impression that he was only just waking up and showing his true self. I think the bullying in his youth, added together with the fact that he felt so isolated, broke him completely. He shut down, broke all contact and just went with the tide. He married, had his son and became a full time dad after Livia left. He wasn't really living or connecting with anyone. He wasn't even connected with himself. He ignored his sexual identity and when his colleague is being discriminated against by his boss, it doesn't even spark anything within him, he's not outraged, he's apathetic. The parallels throughout were delightful, how Jack was abused at home and witnessed his mother being killed, with Anthony, who witnesses Jack being killed and is emotionally abused by his father to try and hide it. Anthony changes from being good natured into a bully, just like Jack. So Todd is still reliving the past with his own son. I also loved how the books opens with the description of Jack's 'seaglass' eyes, foreshadowing his eventual demise and becoming seaglass himself. We are all capable of terrible things and it is a terrifying thing to watch the descent of a man, into hell, from such simple beginnings. Unputdownable and will stay with you long after you put it down.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leo Rodriguez

    Dang. I read this in about 24 hours--it's compulsive. Certainly tense and provocative, at times disturbing and erotic, and other times very begrudgingly erotic. I can't gush about the prose, but I have no complaints either--written well enough! A brisk and worthwhile book. I suppose my only problem, other than the brief Part Four (a stylistic choice I did not think worked or was convincing), was concerning the origin of the main character's internalized homophobia. For a book about the past and pre Dang. I read this in about 24 hours--it's compulsive. Certainly tense and provocative, at times disturbing and erotic, and other times very begrudgingly erotic. I can't gush about the prose, but I have no complaints either--written well enough! A brisk and worthwhile book. I suppose my only problem, other than the brief Part Four (a stylistic choice I did not think worked or was convincing), was concerning the origin of the main character's internalized homophobia. For a book about the past and present suffusing with each other, there isn't a bevy of details about the rest of his childhood. Flickers here and there, a few scenes, but unless I missed something, it's still a nagging question that I have. But I look forward to more work by Conner Habib.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ׂׂૢEmiline *ೃ༄

    Oh my god. I'm not sure what I really had expected, but it was not this. Hawk Mountain touches on topics like the effect of bullying, grief, sexual identity and manipulation. it's one hell of a book and the one thing I know for sure is that it was a disturbing. Just a quick note. I did not read it - I listened to it on Libby and *chef kiss* the man it was voiced by had such a nice voice. I caught myself almost falling asleep, and not in it's too boring I will fall asleep way, because this book had Oh my god. I'm not sure what I really had expected, but it was not this. Hawk Mountain touches on topics like the effect of bullying, grief, sexual identity and manipulation. it's one hell of a book and the one thing I know for sure is that it was a disturbing. Just a quick note. I did not read it - I listened to it on Libby and *chef kiss* the man it was voiced by had such a nice voice. I caught myself almost falling asleep, and not in it's too boring I will fall asleep way, because this book had me on my tippy toes and almost throwing up (Ireallydontknowifthatsgoodorbad) Anyways, I finished the book not knowing which characters deserved sympathy. I don't think I agreed with any of the characters. Not Todd, Jack, Anthony, the mom and so on. But it was so amusing seeing the impact that Jack had on Todd and his life, to the point where, I think, his character was unrecognisable. I will say that if you are interested in reading this it can come across as quite explicit. Personally, I think The gore parts are really throw-up-worthy so not recommending this to sensitive readers.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Lunn

    Unlike anything I've ever read. A little psychological thriller, a little small town drama, a little horror, a little trauma manifesting. Everything I love in a story, but also impressively written and fast-paced. I only give 5 stars to books that stick with me afterwards, where I miss the characters, where I want to read all the analysis and reviews and understand the story more and more, where I think about the characters and analyze their decisions like they're my friends, and this was oddly Unlike anything I've ever read. A little psychological thriller, a little small town drama, a little horror, a little trauma manifesting. Everything I love in a story, but also impressively written and fast-paced. I only give 5 stars to books that stick with me afterwards, where I miss the characters, where I want to read all the analysis and reviews and understand the story more and more, where I think about the characters and analyze their decisions like they're my friends, and this was oddly one of those, why I can't necessarily explain.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I have no problem picking up a horror/thriller in book form even if I were to see it as movie or tv preview I'd be like, "nope, too much!". I've done this a couple times recently and I guess I have some sort of need to feel unsettled! Habib does a great job teasing out non-traditional themes from familiar tropes. For example, I hate the dead mom trope that allows the father to be the primary care-giver. Habib creates a more nuanced family situation. There's some body gore that I think goes on for I have no problem picking up a horror/thriller in book form even if I were to see it as movie or tv preview I'd be like, "nope, too much!". I've done this a couple times recently and I guess I have some sort of need to feel unsettled! Habib does a great job teasing out non-traditional themes from familiar tropes. For example, I hate the dead mom trope that allows the father to be the primary care-giver. Habib creates a more nuanced family situation. There's some body gore that I think goes on for too long (it does add to the story but I'm not sure it needed to be so much. Might be just me.) But the gaslighting is so creepy and well done. This is great writing and story-telling that defies expectation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ira Smith

    Hawk Mountain relates the story of Todd Nasca, a divorced man living with his six year old son in New England. Jack, who bullied him in high school, “accidentally” finds Todd, and begins to invade his life, acting like nothing ever happened. Then everything deteriorates after a shocking incident. I really wanted to like this book. The premise was intriguing, and the writing well done in parts, but the mental landscapes of the main characters, while well drawn at times, were unevenly portrayed. Th Hawk Mountain relates the story of Todd Nasca, a divorced man living with his six year old son in New England. Jack, who bullied him in high school, “accidentally” finds Todd, and begins to invade his life, acting like nothing ever happened. Then everything deteriorates after a shocking incident. I really wanted to like this book. The premise was intriguing, and the writing well done in parts, but the mental landscapes of the main characters, while well drawn at times, were unevenly portrayed. The effect of all the events on Todd’s young son were not convincing to me. The secondary characters were unrealistic. For me, the structure of the book was off putting, and I found myself just wanting to finish the book and get it over with. I do appreciate the author’s attempt at exploring the long term effects of bullying and homophobia. My thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing an ARC of the book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    I will just say that this did not go how I was expecting AT ALL but I still really enjoyed it. Definitely a bit more literary than I thought it was going to be but in this case I actually didn't mind. Very interesting. I will just say that this did not go how I was expecting AT ALL but I still really enjoyed it. Definitely a bit more literary than I thought it was going to be but in this case I actually didn't mind. Very interesting.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christina Cook

    You should plan to read this in one sitting. I don't understand how I could be deeply disturbed and almost comforted?...lulled? ...at the same time. I tried to take a break from reading but couldn't stop thinking about Todd and Jack and had to continue. I did not like how I felt reading this. But it was so so so good. Update...I went to the beach today...not sure that the sand will ever be the same to me. Also, I still can't stop thinking about this book. I think it will be with me for a long time You should plan to read this in one sitting. I don't understand how I could be deeply disturbed and almost comforted?...lulled? ...at the same time. I tried to take a break from reading but couldn't stop thinking about Todd and Jack and had to continue. I did not like how I felt reading this. But it was so so so good. Update...I went to the beach today...not sure that the sand will ever be the same to me. Also, I still can't stop thinking about this book. I think it will be with me for a long time.

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