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    Not all small towns are as charming as they appear on the surface. That is what author Patrick Canning reveals in his new thriller novel, Hawthorn Woods [August 4, 2020]. A domestic suspense story set in the late 1980’s, Canning shows readers sometimes it is the smallest towns that have the darkest secrets.

    Appealing to fans of series like Stranger Things and Big Little Lies, Hawthorn Woods centers on Francine, who is reeling from a catastrophic divorce she just can’t seem to leave behind. She retreats for a two-week stay at her sister’s house in the picturesque town of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place to sort through her pain and finally move on with her life—but the tranquility doesn’t last long.

    Beginning with a complete stranger throwing a drink in her face at her own welcome party, Francine soon discovers the supposedly idyllic suburb is hiding a disturbing number of mysteries. Why is the handsome-ish guy next door lying about who he is? What’s hidden in the back of the teenage troublemaker’s shed? Who wrote a threatening message in blood? Which of the smiling neighbors has a secret they’d kill to keep?

    Seeking to reclaim a natural passion for sleuthing numbed by her divorce, Francine rewrites her vacation prescription from one of relaxation, to one of investigation. If she can detect the lies, follow the clues, and remember how to trust herself, she might get to the bottom of what’s so very wrong in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again—assuming she lives long enough to be in it.

    A perfect page turner to escape into during the summer months, Hawthorn Woods is sure to keep readers guessing at what’s happening behind closed doors.

    “Everyone loves a good mystery,” Canning says. “As Francine points out in Hawthorn Woods,  solving a mystery can be a defiant act of taking a slice out of the chaotic universe and working until it makes logical sense. I hope readers will enjoy joining her as she attempts to do just that, and find some light in otherwise dark circumstances.”


    Photo by Nicole wolf


    Question: Tell us what Hawthorn Woods is all about.

    Patrick Canning:The book is set in the summer of 1989 in a small, seemingly peaceful suburb of Chicago. It centers on Francine, who is recovering from a messy divorce. She decides to stay at her sister’s house in the suburb of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois for a change of scenery. What she thinks will be a peaceful two weeks to unwind and heal quickly turns into anything but. It all begins when a total stranger angrily throws a drink in Francine’s face at her welcome party. She soon uncovers even more mysterious people around the neighborhood and a lot of sinister stuff happening behind closed doors. The deeper she digs, the darker the secrets get.

    Q: What inspired you to write Hawthorn Woods?

    Canning: Hawthorn Woodsis a real neighborhood where I grew up in Illinois during the 1980s. I wanted to revisit the magic of summer during that era, and also give readers a mysterious page-turner where they can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next. While a lot of the setting is based off the actual neighborhood, all of the more horrifying mysteries are pure fiction. At least, that I know of…

    Q: Who will Hawthorn Woodsappeal to?

    Canning:I think anyone who appreciated the mystery and drama of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Liesand the 80’s nostalgia of Stranger Things will enjoy losing themselves in the quaint, creepy town of Hawthorn Woods. Readers who look for a twisty plot and dynamic characters in an interesting setting, will find plenty to like in Hawthorn Woods.

    Q: Hawthorn Woodsis a domestic thriller, but your other two novels, Crytopfauna and The Colonel and the Beewere both different genres. What made you want to write a thriller this time around?

    Canning: The genres I write in are definitely eclectic. I basically choose whatever story I think I can write best at the moment. But whether it’s a thriller or a historical adventure, what’s important with fiction is creating a book that people can use to escape, explore, and grow.


    New release

    The thriller of the summer


    About the author

    PATRICK CANNING is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna(2018), The Colonel and the Bee(2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods(2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his dog Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.


    Photo by Sincerely Media

    Final thoughts

    A fast-paced gripping read that will take you through the night, no problem! Hawthorn Woods makes you wonder what is exactly going on in your neighborhood! I do recommend this book.

    Hawthorn Woods will be available through all major booksellers and online via Amazon on Aug. 4, 2020.

    For more information, visit and connect with Patrick Canning on Instagram 

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