cover image In the Hour of Crows

In the Hour of Crows

Dana Elmendorf. Mira, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1049-5

Elmendorf’s haunting Southern gothic debut weaves a spellbinding tale of family secrets, dark magic, and murder in a small Appalachian town. Weatherly, gifted since childhood with the supernatural ability to absorb death from the dying, investigates her cousin Adaire’s suspicious death, unearthing a web of corruption and hidden agendas that threaten to tear her world apart. Elmendorf’s richly atmospheric prose immerses readers in the eerie, claustrophobic setting of Black Fern, Ga., where folk magic and religious fervor intertwine. The complex heroine, who is both stubborn and deeply vulnerable, drives the narrative forward as she wrestles with grief, family obligations, and her own burgeoning powers. While some secondary storylines and characters feel a bit thin by comparison, Elmendorf’s dexterous handling of heavy themes like child abuse and societal inequity adds depth to this moody, suspenseful novel. With its blend of supernatural elements and gritty realism, this will appeal to fans of Wiley Cash’s When Ghosts Come Home and Lauren Blackwood’s Within These Wicked Walls. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (June)