‘An unsettling and emotional riveting thriller about fathers and sons, revenge and forgiveness and ghosts from our past. A book not to read alone in the dark…‘
– Hawk Mountain
[ About the Book ]
Thirty-three-year-old Todd is playing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of an approaching figure. Instantly, he recognizes Jack, his high school tormentor.
Todd hasn’t seen Jack since school, and yet here he is – radiant, repentant, and overjoyed to have run into Todd. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And could he spend the night? He’s in an unfamiliar town after all.
Caught off guard by this chance interaction, Todd finds himself unable to escape Jack’s charismatic and insistent presence in his life. But then Todd’s past starts to catch up with him and Jack isn’t going anywhere.
What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and suspense as Jack pushes Todd to the brink, showing that love and hate can be intertwined until the very last breath…
[ My Review ]
Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib was published July 21st with Doubleday. Liz Nugent described it as a novel ‘dripping with menace from the first page, this story of childhood enemies meeting up fifteen years later is utterly enthralling. Brilliantly written with homoerotic undertones, this savage tale is uncompromising in its reflection of teen friendships and isolation, and unflinching in its examination of the delicacy of the human body. There is gold among the gore. I found it compelling, shocking, and beautiful.’
I recently had the honour of interviewing Conner Habib at the Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival. He oozes passion for his writing and for his debut, which I must admit left me quite rattled. Categorised as horror, Hawk Mountain is, unsurprisingly, not a book I would normally gravitate to. It is a book that plays with the mind. It is a psychological horror that takes you down a very shocking, yet powerful path.
When chatting to Conner I did manage to extract one very exciting nugget of information. Conner is in discussions and Hawk Mountain may well be on our screens in the not-so-distant future. I’m just putting it out there though that I will be watching parts of it through my fingers!
Hawk Mountain is a dark and menacing read. From the get-go, an unnerving and discombobulating atmosphere drips off the pages. Todd and Jack haven’t crossed paths in over fifteen years since their high-school days. Jack had arrived at the school at the beginning of their senior year. He had a troubled demeanour and a disturbed view of the world. Jack immediately targeted Todd in a bullying campaign, leaving him very much alone. During those last few months Todd developed emotional scars that would last a lifetime.
Todd, now in his thirties, has a young son, Anthony, and is about to start a new teaching job. Bumping into Jack unexpectedly on the beach resurrects old memories that Todd had buried. Soon his past begins to overshadow his present. Todd’s experiences in school fifteen years ago are depicted in parallel with his reuniting with Jack today. Stifling is the word I would best use to describe the atmosphere in the present day. Jack’s buoyant personality is excellently depicted in sharp contrast to Todd’s stilted and overwrought disposition.
Jack persuades Todd to let him stay a few days, a prospect Anthony is very excited about. The scene is set, the bar on suspense is raised and the sense of claustrophobia is heightened. What follows is an extraordinarily intimidating, uncomfortable yet extremely addictive read. The weather, the setting, the surrounding nature all intertwine adding to the sense of foreboding that is forever present.
Reading Hawk Mountain is a very graphic and cinematic experience with very little left to the imagination. Conner Habib takes two damaged individuals and brings them alive to his readers with a frightening and dramatic clarity. I had very little empathy for either character, yet I still felt shocked and upset with how the story unravelled.
Hawk Mountain is a bleak read. It is fraught with a fever-pitch intensity that leaves you slack-jawed, yet in awe of what Conner Habib has achieved. In an interview he did with GCN, Conner described Hawk Mountain as ‘a literary horror novel…not a horror story about a monster…a horror story about emotional suffering‘. This truly encapsulates what Hawk Mountain is about. The emotional impact of an event can never be underestimated. In examining this concept, Conner Habib has written a powerful, compelling and original debut that will honestly leave every reader aghast, on edge and probably even a little traumatised.
[ Bio ]
Conner Habib is host of the popular podcast Against Everyone with Conner Habib which covers topics as broad as sexuality, spirituality, punk rock, occultism, and poetry. He is an author, a lecturer, and a sex workers’ rights advocate. His nonfiction has appeared in dozens of print and online publications.
Hawk Mountain is his first novel.
He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
Website ~ https://connerhabib.com/
Twitter ~ @ConnerHabib
It sounds too much for me! Great review!
Thanks Carol. It was definitely a different read for me but I’m glad I stepped outside of my zone.
I have to read this one – love this sort of thing! btw, your review brings to mind The Stand by Deborah Moggach – take a look, I think you might love it 🙂
Oh..I’ll have a look. Thanks Terry x
It sounds suffocating.
Not for me, thanks very much, but an informative review, which is, I guess, the point.
James it’s definitely not for everyone! Thank you for your comment. Much appreciated!