"The Hush"

“The Hush,” by John Hart, is a suspenseful mystery overlaid with mysticism. It’s full of twists, suspense, murders and supernatural forces, a sequel to Hart’s novel “The Last Child.” But even though it is a sequel it reads well as a stand-alone.

In “The Last Child” readers met 13-year-old Johnny Merrimon and his best friend Jack Cross. “The Hush” takes place 10 years later in fictional Raven County, North Carolina. Johnny is now a 23-year-old loner who lives on 6,000 acres of wilderness, Hush Arbor.

Johnny inherited the land from his ancestor John Merrimon; Johnny then willed the property to his freed slave Isaac Freemantle, but Johnny’s inheritance is being challenged by Luana Freemantle, a descendent of Freemantle’s, who is suing Johnny.

Johnny is being represented by his best friend Jack Cross, an attorney. Things are complicated because Jack works for a law firm that represents billionaire William Boyd, who is paying Luana’s legal fees in exchange for a deal to purchase the land from Luana after the settlement. Boyd wants the land to hunt for what he believes are supernatural-sized animals.

William Boyd is found dead while illegally hunting in the Hush and Johnny is accused of the murder. Jack Cross is forced to choose between representing his best friend and losing his prestigious job at the law firm.

Johnny’s innocence is confirmed after an autopsy, proving it was physically impossible for him or anyone else to have caused the type of damage done to William Boyd. This raises questions about Hush Arbor.

This mystical, haunted swamp has healing powers, is comprised of acres of dense woods, rocky terrain, with a supernatural creature and plenty of spookiness. The Hush has the ability to change its landscape. People who have visited the Hush have a sense of being watched, experience a loss of time and suffer from disorientation, but to Johnny it is home.

This book is full of twists and suspense. The history and mystery of Johnny’s ancestors are revealed while the death of William Boyd is being solved. It is this mystery that drives “The Hush.”