The Mysterious Bookshop

Hawkins, Scott, The Library at Mount Char

Publishers Weekly
In Hawkins’s terror-driven debut, set in a twisted version of our world, the library at Garrison Oaks serves as both heaven and hell, a place where mastery of the library’s 12 sections can bring untold power or unending misery. Twelve children orphaned in a mysterious disaster are taken in by Father, the stern librarian at Garrison Oaks. The library’s millions of books cover topics ranging from the mundane to the downright spooky, and the orphans become Father’s students, each assigned to a specific area of the library for study. Young Carolyn’s section is languages, both human and other—but first and foremost she is learning fear, obedience, and deep, quiet hatred of Father. Readers may struggle with the opening sections, where much happens and little is explained, but they will be relieved by the belated inclusion of flashbacks that answer many questions. Hawkins’s cunning plotting is backed up by crisp dialogue, a sensation of constant dread, and a solid, subtly weird setting.

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