By Jeremy Hepler
I keep saying that Silver Shamrock Publishing is putting out perpetually great work, but here’s the thing, every new book I read from this house necessitates making that statement at least once more. Good news friends, Jeremy Hepler’s Cricket Hunters is no exception.
This novel brings quite a bit to the table, and does a pretty immaculate balancing act with it. The story has present day elements as well as flashbacks, and the narrative shifts back and forth between the two timelines throughout. Hepler does a fantastic job making both points of view feel connected, and stressing the sense of urgency that make the reader feel like we’re catapulting towards an endgame.
There is so much coming-of-age material right now taking place in the 1980’s, which is great. I love the 80’s, but I was 5 when they ended. Consider this a personal note, but I love that Hepler chose to set our teenage group of friends in 1998, a time period that I have a lot more nostalgia associated with. I still know most of the words to “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.
I loved getting to know the main character, Celia Lundy, and just as much her abuela, Yesenia. Cel is an imperfect character that becomes pretty easy to commiserate with. I didn’t necessarily agree with all her choices, but I was there to see her through. Yesenia brings the element of brujeria into the story, something that appears pretty infrequently in horror lit that I’ve waded through. The witchcraft never goes over the top, but does drive the plot and make itself an integral part.
Cricket Hunters is great example of simply dynamite storytelling. There are some big reveals towards the end, but the success of the book doesn’t hinge on them. I feel like even if some of Hepler’s choices hadn’t caught me by surprise, it wouldn’t have lessened the journey in any way. That being said, there’s at least one that blew my mind. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good coming-of-age mystery.
Review by Brennan LeFaro
I received an e-copy from the publisher for review consideration.