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A Hawk in the Woods

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  25 reviews
When newscaster Abby Waite is diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, she decides to do the logical thing… break her twin sister Martha out of prison and hit the road. Their destination is the Waite family cabin in Minnesota where Abby plans a family reunion of sorts. But when you come from a family where your grandfather frequently took control of your body during ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Word Horde
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Working on this review today. I have to get my opinions and feelings sorted.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Things always worked out for her, didn't they?"


This is a difficult review to write. I absolutely loved the idea of this book. It sounded so fascinating, and I read it as soon as I got my hands on it. However, I struggled to connect to the story as a whole, and I wound up feeling like something was missing.

The story jumps back and forth between past and present. I enjoyed the scenes in the past much more than the present ones, and at times, it was a little confusing. Some characters were i
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
There's a lot to process in A Hawk in the Woods! I know I'll continue to think about it for quite some time. Books like this one tend to grow in my mind and in my heart as all of the pieces continue to meld together. It's a little bit like a movie you want to start back from the beginning once you have reached the end so you can experience it again knowing all of the secrets. (I'm feeling the exact same way about Jordan Peele's Us right now.)

A Hawk in the Woods is told through two different time
Nicholas Kaufmann
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been a big fan of Carrie Laben's short fiction for years now and am pleased to discover her debut novel, A HAWK IN THE WOODS, is just as excellent. It's chock full of dark magic, family feuds, and complicated characters with equally complicated relationships (which, come to think of it, sums up the idea of family pretty well). Laben's prose is confident and adroit, and her narrative voice is strong and compassionate, even when her characters are being the opposite. Lurking just beneath the ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laben’s a master of multiple styles; she can be weird when the story calls for it, and she can be heartwarming, and goddamn she can be hilarious. This is a fun book, make no mistake about it. She possesses the wonderful ability to make you cackle up one second then punch you into silence the next. I can’t wait to follow the rest of her career. Pick up A Hawk in the Woods today so you can say you’ve been reading her from the very beginning.

[full review on LitReactor]
Jo Quenell
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It's getting a lot of raves, and while it did not necessarily wow me they way it has others, it's still an engaging read. I had the ending guessed with about a hundred pages left, but this did not keep it from feeling satisfying. There's plenty of great character building, some humor, a lot of weirdness, and a few dashes of gruesomeness. Carrie Laben will be a voice to pay attention to.
Tenebrous Kate
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book delighted me in a ways that would compromise its surprises to explain in any depth. Suffice to say it’s a thoroughly modern family drama steeped in Lovecraftiana that turned my suspicion of that triple-play of stuff I generally don’t enjoy entirely inside out. Laben’s mastery of her craft is evident throughout, navigating between suspense, playfulness, grotesquerie, and sincerity to build a true page-turner of a first novel. I’m looking forward to see what she creates next!
Sep 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebook, weird, fantasy
I've been excited about this book just based on the title and genre for a while, even though I didn't actually have a very solid idea of the premise. Now that I do know the premise, I should have been even more excited about it in retrospect. It's halfway between the Netflix Sabrina show and Library at Mount Char, which is a wonderful intersection of genres I would love to read 10 more books in at least. Unfortunately, A Hawk in the Woods was published a few major rewrites short of what it neede ...more
Richard Schaefer
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The novel’s plot in a nutshell: twin sisters Abihail (not a typo) and Martha come from a family of what I would describe as Lovecraftian necromancers. One sister has the ability to psychically “push” people’s brains, influencing them to do her whim, and the other can fold time to go forward or back or make it pass faster or more slowly. In the present, the two sisters make their way to their family cabin for reasons you’ll find out over the course of the book that involve one sister’s terminal c ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Twins reunited, the Waite girls, a decade apart, on a road journey with strange folk song and wilderness things, possessing of a kind and changing of fates, a mysterious mystery with the hawks in the woods.
The twins dark past will be unveiled with some walking blindly, the narrative slowly burns into your psyche into its finality.

The outer, the apparent, twins looking alike and the Hawks, birds of prey, a beautiful species, and there is the creepy inner crafted by this author that has you eerily
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laben draws you in from the get-go and doesn't let go. I thought I had it figured out. I thought I knew exactly where it was going. Until the closing chapters. And, oh, that final chapter! The words that come to mind are tragic, creepy, and chilling, but these alone fail to do this wonderfully dark family saga justice. I want a sequel. I'd say what I want that sequel to be, but I fear it would be a spoiler. Whatever you're brewing up next, Carrie Laben, I will be in line to read it.
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror, weird
This is a story of two women on the run from the law, except it's not clear if the law is pursuing them, and from members of their family, maybe, except Mom and Grandpa are dead, I think, unless they're the hawk(s), so maybe it's less immediate family that's pursuing them. That's never made too clear because too many flashbacks not only muddy the water, they kill the suspense. On one really jarring occasion a rewind rather than a flashback changed the entire narrative in such a way it was hard t ...more
Abby Waite just got diagnosed with cancer, so she does the only logical thing, and breaks her twin sister Martha out of prison and they embark on a road trip to the old family summer cabin. Oh, and their family, the Waite's have a knack for mind control, posession, and a tendency to just not stay dead...

A Hawk in the Woods is told from Abby's perspective, and is probably now my favorite use of alternating timelines. Laben avoids copious amounts of exposition, and instead gradually gives glimpses
I’ve had the pleasure and disquiet of knowing Carrie for nearly a decade now, and to see her come into her own in the publishing world has truly been an inspiration. Around the writing community in Montana, she was well-known for her essays and criticism on nature and the environment (birding in particular). On the sly, however, she was amassing a trove of eerie and fantastical stories that grapple with the micro-level effects of powerful macro-social, -economic, and -environmental forces.

A Hawk
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gripping debut novel by the Shirley Jackson award-winning author Carrie Laben. What starts as a homage to “The Thing on the Doorstep” by Lovecraft, soon grows to be a powerful narrative of how destructive family ties can be.

Written in a direct and absorbent style, it reads both as a get-away story and as a super-natural thriller, where the possibilities of personality transfer in the original Lovecraft story are explored in sick directions - there's always a sense of wicked irony at the core
Thomas Flynn
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Though this novel came to me on strong recommendation, I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. Even a third of the way into the story, I didn’t yet grasp the magnitude of what Laben had created.

A Hawk in the Woods is a delightfully dark tale, though the often aloof nature of the protagonist, Abby, initially had me fooled. This is not a story to be consumed quickly, or idly — devils dwell in the details, and though every thread introduced in this novel is eventually addressed, those details
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-books
I was lucky enough to get to review this for High Fever Books, so I'll be giving them the more in depth review, however I wanted to add something here for this wonderful book about a very powerful family.

Carrie Laben's debut novel is an awesome look at family bonds, cancer, and magic. The way she expertly weaves the past and the present creates a twisting narrative that culminates into a crazy third act. It does take a little time to get used to how many secrets all of the characters have and ho
Farah Rose
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellently woven, engaging novel about two sisters, sordid family history, body horror, and the nuances of identity. That is putting it in the most brief of terms to not spoil anything. What I can say is that it is one of the most solidly enrapturing contemporary horror novels I have read for years.
A hard book to read in sections, this is a quick read that's quite fun, but bizarrely hard for me to get back into once I stepped out. Most of the characters were well done and the plot both twisty and pretty well foreshadowed. Martha deserved better, though.
Corey Farrenkopf
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A note from your friendly neighborhood librarian: read Carrie Laben's A Hawk in the Woods for a Lovecraftian horror romp across the country as two sisters battle possessed birds and unfortunate magicians in order to perform dark rites at a cabin in the middle of nowhere!
Rachel Brandoff
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fun and thoughtful read. This book can be blamed for making groggy at morning meetings after keeping me up late continuing to turn pages. Laben's mastery of language, culture, and character development merge here in a mystery that unfolds at just the right pace. This book is sublime.
Darren Nelson
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: spooky
The themes were good in the book but the narrative was a bit confusing.
Jaq Evans
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clever, patient, and relentless. What a fun read!
Kirsten LoAndBeHolt
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think I need to re-read this before I write a review. This was complex.
S. Elizabeth
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended as a “best of 2019….so far” by Jack over at Bad Books For Bad People, A Hawk In The Woods was described as a “Lovecraftian sister road trip,” and OK, yes please–sign me up! Abby and Martha are twins from a weird family with weird powers and are desperately headed to the family cabin after Abby breaks Martha out of prison. Are Abby’s reasons for rescuing her sister entirely unselfish? Absolutely not. As we follow the trajectory of their journey, the timelines slips from past to presen ...more
William Gillespie
rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2019
rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2020
Robert Levy
rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2019
Ron Reese
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2019
Ryan Naughton
rated it it was amazing
Oct 23, 2019
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