|Book one of the Sign of Seven trilogy, and arguably Roberts' finest work since Birthright and her best trilogy since the nineties, introduces us to the haunted history of Hawkins Hollow, Maryland.
Actually, history has a way of invading Hawkins Hollow once every seven years. Since three young boys, out to celebrate their tenth birthday, became blood brothers and awakened a demon. Now, during the first week of July of every seventh year, the town goes crazy. Literally. And each succeeding occasion gets worse and starts earlier.
Caleb Hawkins is descended from the original Hawkins of the Hollow, and takes that responsibility seriously. Cal takes all of his responsibilities seriously, especially he and his friends' continual search for a way to save Hawkins Hollow from itself and the dark wolf/boy demon that stalks it.
Quinn Black writes books on the supernatural; she's a bit of a ghosthunter, and she's got an edge. Like Cal, Fox, and Gage, Quinn's got a little bit of a psychic talent, and her
knack is for seeing the events that led to a person's death. She's come to Hawkins Hollow to tell their story—their ugly past and dangerous present. Immediately, Quinn is affected by the demon, which is unusual—generally, only Caleb, Fox, and Gage see the demon, a phenomenon that is especially odd given how early in the year it is.
When two other women are drawn to the Hollow, and Gage wanders home early, the six quickly realize there are larger powers at stake, and that this demon and the people who
subdued it more than three centuries ago are largely involved in what will happen with the future.
I have to allow for the fact that I live in a creaky one-hundred-year-old house and was reading this book overnight, but it made me shiver. It is a little Nora Roberts-meets-Stephen King, but it works. As always, Roberts has created fabulous characters who have genuine warmth and humor. And though the trilogies have grown to be fairly predictable, at least there's the horror element popping up unexpectedly to keep you on your toes. The Hawkins Hollow history is enough alone to give many readers a chill.
It must be said that this book (and one would assume, the next two), does lean a little more toward the men. Quinn had just as much airplay as Cal, but Caleb's feelings and
life and dreams are a bigger part of the whole, despite the fact that an effort is made to give the three women a bigger part; I do feel that the women—Quinn, Layla, and Cybil—will have more say later, as their portion of the local history was just developing at the end of Blood Brothers. The relationship between Gage, Cal, and Fox is as
much fun as—if not more—than the women at this point anyway. Their relationships with their respective families is just as interesting; Roberts has a knack for making
family histories available without dragging the plot down with an overabundance of information. The dialogue, as her readers have come to expect, is dead-on; and if I hadn't
been such a fan of her earlier works, this may very well have been a five-hearter.