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But then Boyd is the victim of a gruesome, mysterious death in the Hush, and Johnny becomes a suspect in the case. Hart now goes after more than a story of pursuit. From the outset, his characters express a sense that the Hush is a strange place occupied by unseen, perhaps even ghostly forces. Alas, the many references to secrets and strange occurrences in the place may tire more than they intrigue the reader, who will readily agree when, near the end, a character muses that "There is no normal in the Hush.

There is only story and magic.

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At the expense of characterization—Johnny, in particular, never emerges as a fully drawn protagonist, and secondary characters verge on stereotypes—Hart vigorously renders this tragic history and its aftermath as a nightmare of violent, supernatural forces.

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Email Newsletter. Log In. Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. Review Posted Online: Nov. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. Do you work in the book industry? Perhaps Johnny can benefit from this treasure of land. But the thread that lifts and falls frequently at the core of this storyline is the eerie goings-on in regard to this land of Johnny's and what transpired so very long ago.

We cannot escape the past and the past has no reason to escape its host. It is in this genre of magical realism that Hart uses as his vehicle for the layers of his storyline. It works to some degree, but it also breathes like forced air in a mine shaft. A lot of space to fill in a short amount of time.


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Storytelling is what John Hart does best. You find yourself leaning in, absorbing every word. And he crafts those words like the wordsmith that he truly is. He can create a scene in soft whispers and then ratchet it up, unexpectantly, into a sonic boom. You need not have read The Last Child in order to read this one. Ironically, few elements are the same and many elements are not in the same wheelhouse. A different avenue for Hart, and yet, a longing for the familiar shimmer that makes Hart I received a copy of The Hush through NetGalley for an honest review.

My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to the very talented John Hart for the opportunity. View all 17 comments. Nov 07, Jaline rated it really liked it Shelves: xxcompleted. We did have a couple of glimpses into magical realism in The Last Child. Remember the tree? The eagle?

Hush Book Review

Remember Levi and how the doctor could not make sense of the X-rays? Just tiny glimpses, but they were there. In The Hush, there is no avoiding magical realism. The story also moves into supernatural elements that challenge the majority of the key characters in this book — and many other secondary characters. Suspicions lead to superstitions lead to unexplainable supernatural phenomena. For some people such as law enforcement and professional trackers, the desire is for known reality to take the bite out of fear of the unknown. This leads to more conflict, hardships, and even deaths.

There is a crossover in this novel into fantasy that I recognized from the days when I read that genre a lot. Instead of slipping a ring on a finger and disappearing into another world, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever in this book it is as simple as walking into a vast swampland known as The Hush. Whether The Hush allows entry or instead confuses trails and pathways and direction and terrain depends on who is going there. Since Johnny Merrimon lives within The Hush and has used gunfire to scare off intruders before, suspicion falls heavily on him when people start showing up dead.

Even though, or possibly especially because it is Johnny who finds them and reports their deaths. I had a bit of a problem with Johnny in this book. In The Last Child, what was endearing and brave for a year-old becomes a tad annoying and irksome in a 23 or 24 year old. A pee contest with a Sheriff trying to get information was not helpful - even though Johnny knew the consequences and knew he would not handle those consequences well.

Also, at one point Johnny was having far too much fun watching from a distance and chuckling as people were floundering in the swamp — lost, terrified, being eaten alive by mosquitoes and not knowing how to get out of there. I also questioned why he put up barriers between himself and Jack when it was obvious that of anyone Johnny knew, Jack would be the one to understand. These are minor irritants but I was hoping for a bit more nobleness of character from Johnny. I do confess that although I am not a huge fan of magical realism nor of fantasy any more, those elements — and even the supernatural ones — were well done.

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There is a lot of darkness in this book, and even though their friendship is tested severely, Johnny and his best friend Jack Cross now a lawyer add some light and hope. However, I can definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy magical realism mixed with fantasy and supernatural — I think it would definitely appeal.

View all 51 comments. Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review. What is the truth of Hush Arbor? A mist rises through the trees, shimmering and glimmering with tricks of light. And of movement. The vast swamp lies low, heavy and shifting. The very stillness is disquieting.

A bitter old woman kneels under an ancient tree, her prayers full of spite and rancor. Two lifelong friends share a debt that continues to weigh heavily years after the fact. As deadly secrets come to light, the fat Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review. As deadly secrets come to light, the fate of Hush Arbor and its inhabitants hangs in the balance.

My only quibble is with the ending, which seemed to lose the mystique that had carried the tale, a complete change of tone.

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It may be that it was necessary in order to wind things down. Other than that, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. John Hart tells a great story. View all 25 comments. Feb 11, Esil rated it it was ok Shelves: netgalley. There are so many enthusiastic reviews. But, oh boy, at times how irked I felt!


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  6. I kept hoping the supernatural aspects of the book would die down or be explained away, but they only escalated to what felt like absurd proportions by the end. It soon became tiresome. There is so much good writing about this topic and there is still so much to be written about this topic.

    But my spidey sense kept telling me that there was something awry in the way Hart approaches the topic. The melodramatic supernatural plot just seems to be a bad fit for such a raw and difficult part of American history. But, again, I am very much in the minority in my reaction to this book.