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The Hawley Book of the Dead

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,763 ratings  ·  343 reviews
For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.
Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in se
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Ballantine Books (first published 2014)
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Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
4/13/18 - ON SALE for $1.99:

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

GAH. This book . . .

This book has the most original premise I’ve come across in a long time. If you don’t listen to anything else I say, listen to this—don’t read the blurb (except for the bolded part, that part’s fine). Learning that Reve Dyer shot her husband, whom she loved, without any context, is the way to go. TRUST ME. It doesn’t take long for it to unfold (I’m talking the first 5ish%), and this is one time my
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book starts off pretty good..The main character and her husband are part of a magic team and I'm not spoiling anything by telling you she ends up killing her husband by accident during their act.

Then we discover that Revelation (the main character) is from a family of magical women..all with the name of Revelation.
Including her daughter who weaves magic with her string.

The book tries to introduce in some spooky aspects to the story-like the "Fetch" that has haunted her families st
Michelle F
"It wasn't a nightmare, but good dreams can be bad, too. They are almost worse than the nightmares, their fleet moments of hope always shattered by waking."

This spoke to me by itself, but also feels apropos of my mixed feelings about the book, too. Sometimes a story that comes so close to being good is more disappointing than one that completely misses the mark.

I enjoyed the premise: A Las Vegas Magician (who can do a bit of real magic) actually kills her husband during an act, and discovers t
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
I absolutely love this book - It's just what I was looking to read - it eerie, without being creepy.
In fact, I would love to be one of the female family members!
Following her husband's untimely death (she shot him by mistake during a magic act and conveniently inheritated a lot of money) and to keep away from a dangerous stalker, the main character brings her daughters back to the family's abandoned "village" in New England, which includes a beautiful Victorian mansion with a "widows walk" turr
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

“On the day I killed my husband, the scent of lilacs startled me awake.”

When someone exchanges the blank in her prop gun for a real bullet, Revelation 'Reve' Dyer unwittingly shoots her beloved husband dead during the final act of their world renowned Las Vegas magic show. Reve is devastated and then terrified when she realises the murderer still has Reve and her three daughters in his sights. To protect her family, Reve flees Nevada and takes refuge at Hawley Five Corners, her family's abandone
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
I received a free digital ARC for review.

I just finished the book and I'm trying to decide what is making me feel so ambivalent about this book.

I really enjoyed the feel of the book. I felt the magic of the old theater stage.


I could imagine the suddenly abandoned small town.


I was enthralled by the stories of the family's history and intrigue as well as the mystery of the town.


However, the element of the stalker seemed out of place to me. Perhaps if this element had more of the feel of the re
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
Thank you NetGalley for awarding me The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan.

Immediately I was "all in" when I saw Night Circus by and Discovery of Witches and Physick Book of Deliverance Dane were the comparison books mentioned.

I really enjoyed this story of Revelation and the fight to protect her family, her three daughters, from the Fetch that has been following her since he discovered her while she was in college. He already took the love of her life, and framed her for his murder.

This sounded great when I originally requested it; I’d forgotten most of that by the time I picked it up, but I was still interested. The set-up is great: the creepy/historic house and village, the magic in the family, the magic tricks on the stage, the mysterious Fetch coming after the family. The setting is great; I could easily picture both the theatre for the performance at the beginning of the story, and the little abandoned town in New England.

But. The family. There were details that seeme
Reve and her husband were Las Vegas magicians. Then during a show a mysterious man known as the Fetch switched the ammunition in a stage gun and her husband was killed. Being pursued by the Fetch she bundles up her children and runs to her childhood home in Massachusetts.

There she discovers things are not as they seem and she must discover the secrets of a grimoire which has been passed down through her family for generations. But the Fetch has found her and is circling.

The Hawley Book of the D
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had some really high expectations for this book after reading the blurb and looking at the intriguing cover. In some ways I feel those expectations were met, but in others I feel a little let down. Let me explain:

The first few chapters of this book have a lot happening in them, but there wasn't much progression. That might not make a lot of sense, but that was how I felt about it. I was hoping that the book would continue to be very exciting and would hold my attention, but it seems to go thr
The blurb of the book sounded very interesting: Reve Dyer moves to an old abandoned house (or rather a village) to protect herself and her children from the creature which just killed her husband. Reve and her husband used to be magicians with their own theater in Las Vegas. But Reve also has real magical abilities: she can dissolve herself into thin air.
All of this made me very curious about the book. But the fact was that The Hawley Book of the Dead really didn’t hold my interest for long per
The Hawley Book of the Dead  
3.5 Stars, Borrow it
Self Purchase, Kindle Edition
Decently written and easy to read. I like the characters well enough but they aren’t memorable I’m going to forget them in a day. I like the supernatural abilities the mom and the daughters have. The plot is decent but confusing. At one point this book is very supernatural oriented but by the end of the book it was more a thriller or a Jeffrey Deaver book. Pick one type and stick to it. I found it an odd mixture.   S
Book Review & Giveaway: Sometimes it’s hard to switch gears to scout for scary books for October during the hot summer months, but I was instantly drawn to the book cover for The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan. When I read the publisher’s description, I was hooked. And then I read it; all I can say is “WooHoo!” I’m so happy the publisher has given us a finished hardcover copy to feature in our giveaway! Like magic and illusion? How about family myths of otherworldly events? Or maybe ...more
C.M. Savage
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I went into the library on Valentine's Day. I picked this up from their book-blind-date table. The description was "suspense, love, history & magic." This book definitely contains all of those. When I unwrapped the book, I was a bit hesitant to read it. It's not one I would pick up to read from the title or the cover. I was worried I wouldn't enjoy reading it, which is why it took me so long to start it. I was wrong, though. It is suspenseful and parts are extremely sad—it made me tear ...more
Kitten Kisser
If you love 'A Discovery of Witches' like I do you might find yourself tricked into picking up this book thinking you have another great novel on your hands. Whatever you do, don't fall for the hype, The Hawley Book of the Dead can't compare. My biggest issue is the personality of the main character Revelation aka Reve. For a woman who is supposed to be grieving for the husband she accidentally killed she doesn't behave that way. The author failed miserably at making me believe Reve was anything ...more
J. Morgyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Billed as a cross between The Night Circus and A Discovery of Witches, this is one of those novels whos plot creeps up on you, making you believe in real magic before you can remind yourself that you live in the real world, because it is so firmly set in the real world and peopled with no-nonsense characters who believe in solid things that can be proven. I quickly found myself gripped and had great difficulty putting it down to do things I had to do, such as feed the kids and do the school run ...more
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Several readers recommended this book about a woman magician who, after accidentally killing her husband during a performance, flees to her family in Massachusetts and learns of her real magical origins, or should I say Magickal.

I had high hopes for this book, but it devolved into a regular suspense novel, with serial killers and government bad guys, but also with fantasy elements. The grittier and presumably more realistic plot elements just distracted me from the fantasy and made it impossible
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. I think it will be on my top books of the year list. I love Rev, and her family and the story. I want so much more already. I cant wait to learn more about these interesting and dynamic characters. I loved this book from start to finish!!!
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very fun modern witchcraft book that managed to tie in a bit of the past as well. Mystery, magic, suspense... Very fun read/listen.
I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I struggled to finish it. The beginning was good. But towards the middle and end I lost interest. Disappointing!!!
David Kinchen
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Hawley Book of the Dead': Impressive Debut Novel Defies Genres


I've said it before and I'll say it again: labeling a novel as a romance or a mystery or anything is wrong and does a disservice to prospective readers. That said, Chrysler Szarlan's "The Hawley Book of the Dead" (Ballantine Books, 352 pages, $26.00) is an impressive debut novel that combines various genres seamlessly. It's a horror story, a police procedural, a missing persons tale and
Review originally published in SFX magazine, 2014. 3.5 stars.


An opening sentence that grabs a reader is worth its weight in gold. The doubts you might have had on picking up a book with a cutesy cover whose marketing blurb promises that it’s “the kind of novel that makes you believe that magic really exists” are challenged once you crack open the first page and read, “On the day I killed my husband, the scent of lilacs startled me awake.” Short, sharp, intriguing: here’s what is going to happe
The Lit Bitch
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

This book is the perfect Halloween read! I literally was up into the wee hours of the morning reading it. It was suspenseful and I loved how magic and witches were woven throughout the story.

The book had a distinct air of creepiness that it absolutely perfect for the fall. It’s the kind of book that you want to drink a pumpkin spice latte in front of the fire on a dark and stormy night!

It reminded me a little of the old Bette Davis film Watcher in the Woods. The setting was fitting for
Book Review originally published here:

The Hawley Book of the Dead has an original, surprising premise, and delivers with great writing and outstanding characters. The book starts off with a bang, introducing us to Revelation, “Reve” Dyer, who accidentally kills her husband. They’re a duo of magicians and illusionists, but one night, one of their tricks goes wrong and she kills her husband on stage. Reve is broken up about it, and along with her three daug
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy
Wow. This book was boring. I started and stopped reading it twice before I finally finished. I kept thinking it was bound to get better. I've seen it compared to A Discovery of Witches and the two had nothing in common. I've also seen it compared to The Night Circus and that I do agree with. Although I found The Hawley Book of the Dead slightly less vapid and mind numbingly dull than The Night Circus.

In A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness builds a world for her fantastical characters that i
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, fiction
"The Hawley Book of the Dead" is the story of Revelation, a Las Vegas magician, who has a magic act with her beloved husband. Her magic is real though and is no illusion. She also has a family made up of two twin daughters and a younger daughter. This is no ordinary family. After the tragedy strikes the family, Revelation is afraid that some of her old issues with magic has come to roost upon her and her family. This book is a great story with a healthy dose of magical realism, mystery, and susp ...more
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I thought this book was excellent. It kept you in suspense right up until the end. There were so many secrets to uncover. It starts out with a tragedy where Reve, short for Revelation, accidentally shoots and kills her husband in a magic act. She soon finds out a man has been stalking Reve and her family (her three girls) and is responsible for her husbands death. They end up hiding in the town she grew up in after being summoned by her Aunt Nan who says they will be safe there. They end up ...more
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history of witches and witchcraft has always fascinated me, as I know it does for many. But sadly, too many books on that topic are whitewashed versions of things that have come so many times before. Thankfully, 'The Hawley Book of the Dead' does not fit into that category.

First and most important - the characters felt like real people, not some caricature of "every witch". The history was well-woven into the story, and even had a few twists that I didn't see coming. Even the "bad guy" wasn'
Oct 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How anyone could ever compare this book to Harkness' All Souls Trilogy or Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is beyond me! The only thing Szarlan's drivel has in common with either of those works is that it is a book and it contains words. The comparison ends there. This novel (and I use that term loosely) is a stalker story poorly disguised as fantasy. Szarlan does a mediocre job of creating convincing time and space for her characters. The constructs of her magical world are poorly de ...more
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I worked with racehorses and as a magician’s assistant before graduating from law school, after which I was a managing attorney with the Connecticut Legal Rights Project. Now I live in western Massachusetts with my family. I work part-time as a bookseller at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and full-time as a writer, at home in my pajamas. I ride my horse in the Hawley Forest w ...more

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