Hunter's Moon, by Don Hoesel
Don Hoesel's first novel, last year's Elisha's Bones, was a workmanlike effort in a genre that has been overworked in the CBA marketplace, that of the search for the supernatural artifact. It was a fine, albeit standard, thriller.
His second work, the upcoming Hunter's Moon, shows a great leap in craft. This is a much subtler novel, more akin to a mainstream literary work than the standard fare offered in the Christian publishing world. I am encouraged that Bethany House has taken the steps to publish a novel that does not fit the standard CBA mold in terms of its setting, plot, and overall feel, and hope that its publication will lead other houses to expand their offerings.
Not to say that the world that Hoesel paints is altogether unique. The main character, CJ Baxter, is a successful author from a politically-connected family with secrets to hide. Both of these worlds, of the author and of the politician, are well-worn, but Hoesel exercises a deft touch in weaving these disparate worlds together. He delivers to us a taut family drama, a story of a man coming to terms with his own failings and the consequences of his own actions.
Hunter's Moon moves at a nice pace, slowly building up tension that finally comes to a head in an exciting extended scene that covers the book's final 6 to 7 chapters. The spiritual aspects of the novel are also woven in subtly and without distraction, an accomplishment that many Christian authors would do to learn from.