I’m going to be reading from and discussing HAWKINS LANE at Village Books in Bellingham on Sunday August 30th (4PM for those of you who are local), so am considering how best to bring the story alive with just a few snippets.
I’ve summed up HAWKINS LANE in a number of ways. It’s a story of love gone wrong, of the power of the past to trigger tension, conflict and tragedy. But also the story of a man, wife, and child bonded in their love of the Cascades, of a family’s struggle to overcome stigma born in the past. When I read the reviews of others, it’s clear every reader creates his or her own story. I can only try to interest all of these.
Some connect with characters first
OPENING 1981 in a Bellingham courtroom.
“We find the defendant, Amos Hawkins, guilty of murder in the first degree.”
Ned reached for Billy as he lunged, and together he and his mother held him fast as a murmur of satisfaction rose from the surrounding crowd.
“Time we saw the end of the likes of you!” a man behind them yelled.
Ned Hawkins … stepped into McKenzie Crossing’s main street. A pair of teenage girls jumped away and made a wide circle around him. … He headed for the old logging trails above town, his daily escape the chronic mid-week feeling of being trapped in his life. … He’d just cut off the trail toward the creek when he heard the whistle of a fishing line cutting the air. He stopped, then approached the water ahead carefully, expecting to find his brother, who he didn’t particularly want to see.
Others with action
[Ned and Erica’s daughter, Bonnie, is missing]
He switched frequencies on his radio and called the ranger station. Jake had radioed in; they’d found nothing, so far. He’d called for more crews and volunteers from town. His crew was searching over on Coyote Ridge now. Would Bonnie have trusted Duchess to take her across that scree-strewn precipice? Yes. She would; she considered it as much a part of her wilderness as the wooded paths, and Duchess had carried her through it since she was six. But it wasn’t hers or theirs and never had been. It didn’t belong to any human, whether they put their name on a deed or not. They’d taught her that, too, hadn’t they? Taught her respect? Surely she’d learned it; she’d gone with them on searches like this one after campers who had done any number of stupid things.
He radioed Erica the news. She’d met the rangers from one of the teams and filled them in on Ned’s location. A peculiar burst of elation lifted him. He and Erica were in a place they hadn’t been since Erica’s accident changed the chemistry of their lives. Bonnie had shaken them loose. And if they didn’t find her? He gunned the truck, racing away from the thought. He was impatient with the number of camps and with his own hope of finding her down here.
But he forced himself to stay the course, aware of the hours passing. Like any other search, he kept telling himself, like any other. And like any other, the teams would have to give it up at dusk and wait for the sunrise. They’d insisted Bonnie carry a radio, but when he’d tried her frequency, he got only static. Had she put it on yet, this morning? He had no idea. Did the static mean it was open and not receiving or broken?
And some want to become absorbed in place.
The rhythm of their stroking carried them to a stream-carved gorge, and [Ned]e led [Erica] along its edge … until he came to a tree-roofed lane. It was silent as a church. Together they stroked its length, then stood in the quiet, looking out across the untrammeled expanse of snow, then down the mountain at the glitter of sun off distant ponds. She laughed and gave a push that sent her out into the untouched blanket then turned down the slope.
Whatever your pleasure, I hope you will come, if you live in the area. I’m looking forward to talking to readers of all descriptions.