In October 1976, Halloween is fast approaching and the residents of Hallowell, Maine are preparing for the holiday. However, an event of a more macabre and disturbing nature has occurred. A young couple has been savagely murdered and their baby is gone. A local reporter, Samantha, attempts to gain access to the scene but is prevented by the local police. Meanwhile, former Navy man Ernest Kemp has arrived in Hallowell searching for his wife and child. He is viewed with suspicion by many of the townspeople, with the exception of local storeowner, Joe, as well as Samantha. Upon their initial encounter, Samantha and Ernest promise to help each other with their respective searches. The situations begin to be exacerbated when local children disappear and Ernest is brought in for questioning.
The Hook propels the reader into small-town America where the folksy charm often hides deeper secrets. Once the initial shock of the opening pages begins to wear off, the story proceeds with the unease that accompanies Ernest’s search for wife and daughter. The joint investigations conducted by Ernest and Samantha shape the engaging plotline which delves into areas of the occult. Ernest is a troubled veteran desiring a long-awaited normal life but must fight for it as he did in the war. Samantha is a great partner for Ernest, sympathetic but also tough. The allure of The Hook comes from its ability to deliver the horror, dial it back, and then gradually build up to a crescendo of fright. This is an excellent work from author James Pack, a tale with an irresistible appeal to fans of mystery and horror.