Heaven's Crooked Finger
Book 1 in the Earl Marcus Mystery Series
"You won't put down this powerful and painful tale...a gripping mystery."
―Kirkus starred review
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.
As Earl returns to Church of the Holy Flame searching for the truth, faithful followers insist that his father has risen to a holy place high in the mountains. Nobody will talk about the teenage girls who go missing, only to return with strange tattoo-like marks on their skin. Rumors swirl about an old well that sits atop one of the mountains, a place of unimaginable power and secrets. Earl doesn’t know what to believe, but he has long been haunted by his father, forever lurking in the shadows of his life.
Desperate to leave his sinful Holy Flame childhood in the past, Earl digs up deeply buried secrets to discover the truth before time runs out and he’s the one put underground in Heaven’s Crooked Finger, Hank Early’s thrilling series debut.
Praise for Heaven's Crooked Finger:
"Hank Early's Heaven's Crooked Finger is a twisty, page-turning, modern Southern Gothic that packs an emotional wallop. His everyday and down-and-out characters are authentically rendered. Fans of Daniel Woodrell and Donald Ray Pollock take notice, Heaven's Crooked Finger is the real deal." ―Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock
"You won't put down this powerful and painful tale...a gripping mystery." ―Kirkus starred review
"Readers with a taste for raw, intense mysteries will be rewarded." ―Publishers Weekly
"Can the dead come back to life? That's the question PI Earl Marcus has to answer when he returns to the creepy town in rural Georgia he left thirty years before to find out if his recently deceased father - the maniacal leader of a religious cult - has fulfilled his promise to return after he dies. Heaven's Crooked Finger has action, suspense and a cracking good mystery. By the way, if you are afraid of snakes, don't read this book." ―Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of Violent Crimes and The Third Victim
“From the opening pages of this book, you know you’re in the hands of a rare talent. Hank Early has penned a fast-paced, thought provoking, and thoroughly satisfying southern mystery. Heaven’s Crooked Finger is a truly astonishing debut, and one of the best rural mysteries I’ve ever read.” ―John Rector, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Ridge, Already Gone, and The Cold Kiss
"With Heaven’s Crooked Finger, Hank Early has not only written one of the very best novels I’ve read this year, but also introduced me to my favorite new mystery detective, Earl Marcus. This book is an expert mixture of action, suspense, and compelling characterization that easily establishes Early as a literary force of nature. From the first page, the tension of the Marcus family’s impact on their small town, and the threat that poses to Earl, builds like a charge in the atmosphere, present and deadly threatening, leading to an ending that is electric. Heaven’s Crooked Finger is going to be on a lot of Best of 2017 lists." ―Bracken MacLeod, Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Stranded and Come to Dust
"Heaven's Crooked Finger is a first-class mystery - gripping, atmospheric, and tense from beginning to end. Hank Early's storytelling is truly outstanding." ―Andrew Grant, author of False Friend
"Hank Early's Heaven's Crooked Finger grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go. Evocative place writing, memorable-as-hell characters, sentences that hum, great pacing, and a strutting brutality. Early's a writer of great power. This is one that will stick with me, and I'm already looking forward to whatever's next." ―William Boyle, author of Gravesend
“Hank Early marches out of Harper Lee’s Alabama with a Southern Gothic detective story that will long leave readers catching their breath. This one leaves a mark. Early writes like kudzu: The seed drops in the first chapters. The reader should run, lest they soon find themselves entangled, unable to wrest themselves free.” ―Eryk Pruitt, author of Dirtbags, Hashtag, and What We Reckon