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Hunter's Moon by Don Hoesel

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Review of Hunter's Moon
Review of Elisha's Bones

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The Advocate



Hunter's Moon by Don Hoesel

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"Hunter’s Moon is a slower-paced tale when compared to Hoesel’s first novel, Elisha’s Bones, and yet the word pictures are richly fulfilling."

A messy character fresh in his faith walk, CJ is a likable protagonist. He’s facing a divorce, assault charges and return to his hometown of Adelia in upstate New York. A hometown burdened with family secrets. One in particular he had avoided for 17 years until his grandfather’s funeral. CJ faces Graham, his ruthless, polished brother who's making a bid for the Senate. At the same time, the extended family is not overly thrilled about CJ’s return. They fear CJ could do damage to Graham’s campaign and the family name, due in part to CJ's veiled exposition of their lives in his novels.

Hunter’s Moon is a slower-paced tale when compared to Hoesel’s first novel, Elisha’s Bones, and yet the word pictures are richly fulfilling. Two examples: “All he knew was that he was a cistern filled with words and that he had to get them out, and the faster he wrote the quicker he emptied. And he had to reach empty” and “The woods took the words and swallowed them up, and if either they or Eddie was inclined to grant any kind of forgiveness, they kept it to themselves.”

Almost surreal, the small town setting is superbly crafted as the perfect background to the haunting darkness of CJ’s personal journey. Going back in time to provide links to the present posed no problem for Hoesel in his sophomore effort. Often you’ll laugh and cringe at the same time.

The dialogue rings incredibly true and the dysfunctional, tension-filled tendencies of the Baxter family scream loud and clear within these pages. The scene involving Graham's personal threat toward a younger CJ is frightening and the resulting fear is believable. Strained relationships abound and provide depth to the storyline, yet the sweet sounds of redemption are unmistakable.

My only disappointment was I felt the conclusion was incomplete with too many unanswered questions that begged to be resolved or at the least, given more information to help satisfy the curious reader. The vagueness of the last line continues to bother me but not enough to avoid recommending this excellent novel. Many of you will become fans of Don Hoesel after reading Hunter’s Moon.


Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.