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Reviewed by Raanan Geberer for Readers' Favorite
At the beginning of Hawke’s Point by Mark Willen, Beacon Junction, Vermont, is a sleepy little town. Jonas Hawke, a retired lawyer and proprietor of a B&B, is one of the town’s most prominent citizens, and Harrison Medical Devices is its largest business. But several things happen that threaten to upset the apple cart. A high-level employee at Harrison confronts his boss with his suspicion that a stent that the company makes may have been responsible for at least a dozen deaths. At the same time, a mysterious young man comes to town to do research in the archives of the town’s weekly newspaper, which is run by Jonas’ son Nathan. The young man, Steven Delacourt, turns out to be the grandson of Harrison’s founder and the son of a man who had once been accused of murdering him. Jonas Hawke, as an attorney, had cleared Steven’s father’s name – or had he?
As one who has friends in Brattleboro, a real town that, in the book, is near the fictional Beacon Junction, I can testify that Mark Willen gives a very realistic depiction of Vermont small-town life. More importantly, he is a master of depicting family dynamics. While the Hawke family is a comfortable one, it is also problematic, having seen the death of one of Jonas’ children and an affair on the part of his wife. This is not a courtroom drama – we don’t see Jonas in action as a lawyer until near the end of the book – but Willen does a good job of showing why Jonas is so respected in his professional capacity. Willen also gives his story a Peyton Place kind of flavor by giving the B&B’s cook another job – that of a hooker. All in all, Hawke’s Point is a well-written story of small-town intrigue.