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Hawke's Point

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Jonas Hawke may be past his prime, a recovering alcoholic with bouts of crankiness and sheer orneriness, 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 small, sleepy Vermont town.

When a mysterious stran
Paperback, 293 pages
Published July 22nd 2014 by Pen-L Publishing (first published July 21st 2014)
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Noah W
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great read.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this--it seemed to have elements of mystery, legal thriller, and literary fiction, and I don’t often read about protagonists in their 70s--but this turned out to be something pretty rare: a thoughtful and thought-provoking literary novel with a genuinely interesting and suspenseful plot.

The book has two main threads. In the first, Craig Whitney, a scientist working for a medical devices company, has to decide whether to expose the company’s c
K C Smith
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reader
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 dy
Eric Slud
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novel unfolds a plot in which secrets and human frailty are revealed through the conversations and thoughts of characters who carefully weigh the ethical consequences of what they tell and whom they confront. It is written in a simple and direct style which carries the reader along without calling attention to itself. The method of telling the story is based on transparency -- we learn facts about the past and about current secrets at the same time as the main characters do. The novel has a ...more
Kent Hackmann
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn completely into the book and finished it in a single read. I warmed to the small town Vermont settling and its relaxed environment where progressively complex relations between the characters unfolded. The town also provided a context for the exploration of contemporary moral and ethical issues. Did a widely marketed stent, manufactured by the town’s major business, cause deaths? Did management inappropriately, even illegally, hide facts from the FDA? Should an employee go public wit ...more
Sally Whitney
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.

The title
Hannelore Moore
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hawke’s Point quietly explores how the residents of a small town – in this case, Beacon Junction, Vermont – react to an ethical dilemma. What would you do if you worked for a company that manufactured faulty medical devices? Would you keep quiet and hope someone else brought this problem to the authorities’ attention? Would you timidly try to approach management and hope they saw reason? Would you storm in to do the right thing and feel that you’d finally found a purpose in life, even if it mean ...more
Andrew Schneider
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
"It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautified countryside."

- Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Copper Beaches."

Anyone familiar with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple or TV's "Murder, She Wrote" knows the truth of Holmes' maxim. Small towns are just as likely to harbor crime and corruption as any big city. With that in mind, it's easy to look at a book like
Bette Crosby
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good book. Enjoyed the writing style.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read the second book in this series first, liked it a lot, and then bought this one. It is every bit as good, with wonderfully drawn characters who I liked and identified with, despite their flaws. Like the second book, the plot is slow at times, but I didn’t mind it. The people, the conflicts, the town, and the ethical questions posed, were all fascinating and left me much to think about afterwards. Great dialogue, a main character you'll want for a grandfather, and a sassy unusual female cha ...more
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: Not too much.

Mr. Willen had a great story idea. This book was bursting with possibilities, but I couldn’t enjoy it for two reasons.

First, writing style. The story read more like a newspaper article than a passionate work of fiction. The narrator spent most of his time telling us the story rather than allowing the reader to experience it. I didn’t feel like I was in the scene. I couldn’t hear the character’s voices in my head. I felt like an observer, and for me that was bo
M.L. Doyle
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first thing you’ll notice about Hawk’s Point are the atmospherics. The story takes place in Beacon Junction, a little place where everyone knows everyone, the small town newspaper prints things everyone has an opinion on, a place where you can predict where someone will be, according to their habit, at any time of the day and life seems to progress on an expected, and steady pace and that’s just how this story is; evenly paced and fully explored.

But like most small towns, dig a little deeper
Cindy Young-Turner
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hawke's Point is a thought-provoking read that examines the lives of the residents of Beacon Junction, a small Vermont town. There is something about small-town New Englanders (I happen to be one of them) and Mr. Willen gets it right, which for me added to the authenticity of the novel. His characters are fascinating--from retired lawyer Jonas, who continues to wrestle with ethical dilemmas, to Craig, who is employed by one of the main companies in Beacon Junction and wrestling with going to the ...more
Gary Garth McCann
Besides being a thoroughly engaging read with an intricate plot, Hawke’s Point is impressive for the author’s ability to move from the point-of-view of one to another of the novel’s ensemble of well-developed characters. We meet each as they are in the throes of ethical dilemmas lingering from a years-past instance of adultery and an unsolved murder, both brought to the present when the estranged son of the man acquitted for the murder comes to the small Vermont town near Bellows Falls. He check ...more
A satisfying small town tale

I hate writing headlines, but apparently it is mandatory.

This novel has no flights of fancy, no profound observations or stunning descriptions. It has a fine sense of place; and the narrative and dialogue are highly competent, but not much more.

What impresses is the plot and its gradual development, and the hero, surviving his imperfections. The characters are finely judged, and you have probably met every one.

Seventy years ago, Frank Capra would have made a movie o
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got this through BookBub. Saw it was a story based on my home state of Vermont, read the preview and wanted to read more. Great story, not a mystery but well crafted. As others have said I hated to put it down but alas I have yet to find a book that will "keep me awake all night". The dialogues between characters was like sitting next to Jonas on that front porch ease dropping. Look forward to Mr Willens next effort.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This Mark Willen's first novel; I doubt it will be his last. This book is serious fiction--with a serious theme and fascinating characters. But unlike too much literary fiction, in my view, this is also a page-turner. Willen creates a fully realized small town in New England and inhabits it with characters you'll get to know and care about. A wonderful book. It left me wanting to read more. Will Willen write a sequel? A prequel? New fans like me hope so.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Ethical dilemmas in a small New England town is a subject ripe for fiction. Put in a few good characters, and the action begins. Mark Willen has the spare writing style of a well trained journalist, but with enough imagination to keep the story moving in unanticipated directions.
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise (retired lawyer tries to start a new life and way of looking at things), but poorly executed. Nothing really happens in this book, despite pages and pages of lead up to a big "climax." Very dissatisfying ending.
Christy Lyons
rated it it was amazing
Jul 29, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2015
Kate Huber
rated it it was ok
May 19, 2017
Clyde Vedder
rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2016
rated it really liked it
Nov 07, 2015
Barbara G. Garland
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Apr 05, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2015
Katherine M. Marinos
rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2016
Michelle Sansbury
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May 29, 2016
MaryAnne Pennington
rated it liked it
Nov 26, 2015
Terry Lee
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Aug 18, 2017
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Mark Willen was born, raised, and educated in New England, where he developed a special appreciation for the values, humor, and strength of its people, as well as the sense of community that characterizes so many of its small towns.

As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, blogger, producer, and editor at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg Ne
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