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Cricket Hunters by Jeremy Hepler #BookReview

Celia (Garcia) Lundy was fifteen in the fall of 1998 when Abby Powell, one of her five friends who called themselves the Cricket Hunters, disappeared without a trace. Cops scoured the central Texas town of Oak Mott searching for Abby. Interviewed everyone. Brought in the Texas Rangers to assist. Three key suspects emerged and were focused on, but no evidence was found. Eventually, the case went cold, and the passage of time buried the truth of Abby Powell’s fate.

Fifteen years later, as the anniversary of Abby’s disappearance approaches, Cel’s life is upended when her husband Parker goes missing. Bizarre clues surface that point to a link between Parker’s and Abby’s disappearances. Cel is forced to delve back into the past in order to navigate the present. With the help of her abuela, a self-proclaimed bruja, she embarks on a tumultuous journey fraught with confrontation and trickery, spells and spirits, theft and murder, in order to find out what happened to her husband, and why.

Title: Cricket Hunters  | Author: Jeremy Hepler | Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing  Pub. Date: 1 September 2019 | Pages: 262 | ISBN: 9781951043018 | Genre: Horror/Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Noted after review | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from author/publisher for review consideration

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Cricket Hunters Review

“She’d been raised to believe that if spells and rituals were used in the right way, cast or performed by a dedicated, well-versed bruja with an enlightened spirit, they could influence anything from hair thickness to emotions” (Hepler, Cricket Hunters, 8-9)

Here we have one of the cores of Jeremy Hepler’s novel, The Cricket Hunters. Yesenia, the main character, Cel’s, grandma practices curanderismo. I was able to reach out to the author for the name; it is such a central part of the story and I needed to know.  This belief system/religion/magic is what ultimately shapes and informs much of the action within. This is important to remember especially in some of the scenes later on in the novel. What informs YOUR choices when so much is on the line?

Next, this novel delves into the bonds of friendship. Genre-wise, it is a mash-up of thriller, horror, and coming of age. There are dual timelines: one, a look back at how a group of friends grew up together and the horrors they encountered, and two, these same friends all grown up and realizing that what happened in childhood lingered and must be dealt with. I think Hepler moves between the timelines seamlessly and I love that the focus remains mostly on Cel. This is HER story even though the group friends includes boys and girls. She isn’t a side character in any sense.

I really enjoyed my time with this book. Hepler’s scholarship of the world of brujeria, Hispanic traditions, and fastidious attention to detail, made this book shine. I know that the author has another book out, a Stoker nominated horror novel, and I plan to check it out soon. Pick this book up if you love a great thriller mixed with supernatural forces; it is an engaging read.

  You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads. In the spirit of supporting literacy programs, you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks

Content warning:

animal death/rituals

Published inBook ReviewsHorror Book ReviewsStarred ReviewsThriller Book Reviews
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