Hawthorn Woods

THE BOOK: Hawthorn Woods.


THE AUTHOR: Patrick Canning.

THE EDITOR: Lisa Mathews.

THE PUBLISHER: Self-published.

SUMMARY: Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life. But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Seeking to reclaim a passion for sleuthing numbed by her divorce, Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it.

THE BACK STORY: I wanted to write a story set in the neighborhood I grew up in but also incorporate things I’d experienced in adulthood, so the main character, Francine, is someone who tries to use nostalgia to heal from trauma. It took a little while for the story to fall in place, as it usually does for me, so I would say from idea to release was about 4 years.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Hawthorn Woods is the neighborhood the book is set in. I’m not great with titles, and considered a few others, like ‘A Midwest Murder’, but ultimately felt Hawthorn Woods fit the story best, showcasing the setting and maybe adding a bit of mystique.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Hawthorn Woods will appeal to anyone who loves mysteries, domestic suspense, and stories of redemption; and anyone who grew up in the Midwest, specifically in the 80’s and 90’s. And if you tick all 5 of those boxes, there’s a high statistical probability you’ll love the book.


“This was a fast and fun read. I was amazed how much mystery, murder and mayhem could be packed into such a small, cozy neighborhood.”

“The mayhem starts a few pages in, and never lets up.”

“A curious and clever book. If you like twisty mysteries with a touch of horror, this book is for you.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: When I’m not writing, I enjoy playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. I live in Los Angeles with my dog Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time. Some of my favorite authors include Bill Watterson, Liane Moriarty, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, and Kurt Vonnegut. Current reads: The Hobbit, Beloved, Sherlock Homes, and The Satanic Verses. Loving all of them.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: This is my third novel, and while each is pretty distinct from the last, I at least hope readers can find a character or two they relate to, a theme that resonates, and enough narrative breadcrumbs to keep turning the pages to find out what’s next. Thanks for considering my book.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://bit.ly/3jrqit0

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

PRICE: $15.95 paperback/$9.99 digital.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: email: patrick@patrickcanningbooks.com, Instagram: @catpanning, website: http://www.patrickcanningbooks

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s