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Eerie, intense, and masterfully-crafted, Hank Early’s gripping series debut HEAVEN’S CROOKED FINGER transports readers to a secretive community in the Georgia mountains.

Earl Marcus thought he had left the mountains of Georgia behind forever, and with them, the painful memories of a childhood spent under the fundamentalist rule of his father RJ’s church–a church built on fear, penance, and the twisting, writhing mass of snakes. But then an ominous photo of RJ is delivered to Earl’s home. The photograph is dated long after his father’s burial, and there’s no doubt that the man in the picture is very much alive.

HEAVEN’S CROOKED FINGER author, Hank Early, spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest novel:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Enjoyment and satisfaction for starters. Beyond that, I’d say a little insight into the way people are driven to embrace faith even when it harms them.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

HEAVEN’S CROOKED FINGER takes readers to a world that is still relatively unexplored in crime fiction: the southern Appalachians viewed through the lens of religious extremism. It also brings in elements of horror and straddles the line between reality and the supernatural. Or at least I hope it does.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I think I was most surprised by the secondary characters, and how they have lingered with me. One secondary character in particular plays a much larger role in book two which will come out in 2018.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

The lightning on the cover of the book is more than just for atmosphere. It plays a pretty major role in the story.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

My two all-time favorite authors are Stephen King and James Lee Burke. I’d like to think my novels fall somewhere in the sweet spot between those two guys.


Hank Early is the pen name for horror author John Mantooth, whose previous novel The Year of the Storm was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. These days, he lives in central Alabama with his wife and two kids, where he writes crime, watches too much basketball and rarely sleeps.

To learn more about Hank/John, please visit his website.