Hawk Mountain

Blackstone Audio. Jul. 2022. 7:49 hrs. ISBN 9798212011174. $19.95. F
Habib, host of the podcast Against Everyone with Conner Habib, has an impressive CV that, in addition to the podcast, includes writing essays, lecturing, and advocating for sex workers’ rights. This unique novel explores issues of exploring or denying one’s sexuality, bullying, unpacking childhood traumas, and moving forward. Surprisingly, all of this comes about through a murder. Habib gives voice to his own characters, bringing them right off the page into life. His professional podcasting experience shows in this first audiobook reading. The story revolves around Todd and his son, Anthony. Living in an oceanfront community, they are at the beach when the bully from Todd’s senior year randomly shows up. They renew their acquaintance (at least temporarily) in Todd’s eyes. As the novel progresses, we explore childhood bullying and its cyclical nature, as well as confusing feelings of sexuality. Listeners may be surprised by the lack of a clear protagonist to root for or a villain to hate.
VERDICT This novel is raw and compelling but may not be for the tenderhearted. Recommend this unsettling debut to fans of Roddy Doyle’s Smile or Antoine Wilson’s Mouth to Mouth.
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