September 1, 2013

Jack Hawthorne

Nancy here! Hero girls, I am aware the title and cover of this feature might have you double-checking you are at the right blog. Every once in a while I come across a really good book with a really orange-worthy hero that isn't a romance novel, and this is one of those times. For sure. If you enjoyed National Treasure with Nicolas Cage and/or Raiders of the Lost Ark, you should give Blood and Bone, and Jack Hawthorne, a chance.

Note this is book 3 in the Jack Hawthorne adventure series. I read it first and still did great, and now have books one and two in the to-be-read stack.

About Blood and Bone (released July 1, 2013):

Keeping the Secret of the Bones
Could Leave Jack With Blood on His Hands

After his many adventures, Jack Hawthorne has finally settled down. Married to Espy, and with two sons, he's content to live the life of a mild-mannered university professor. That all changes when someone discovers the secret of the prophet's bones Jack buried in the desert thirteen years ago. With just a single phone call, Jack's back on the run...with even more at stake than ever before. Determined not to risk the lives of his family, he knows the only way to finally be safe is to deliver the bones once and for all.

Except they aren't there. Someone got to the unmarked grave in the Australian outback first, leaving Jack and Espy empty-handed. Desperate, the two begin another globe-spanning race, following the tiniest of clues, to find the one thing that will either save their family or tear apart everything they hold dear.

Excerpt from Blood and Bone:

He pointed out the find to Espy, and together they read through the article in its entirety. There was no mention of the Pictish symbol or of a Loudon tie to the Chambers family beyond the one occurrence. According to the writer, Chambers had provided a good portion of the funds for the design and development of a cemetary.
"Bath Abbey Cemetery," Jack read. He looked at Espy, who was wearing a puzzled expression. "What's wrong?"
"What's wrong is that I know where this is going," she said, her accent more pronounced than usual. "You're going to convince me to go to the cemetery. Just to look, you'll say. Then once we're there, somehow you're going to talk me into helping you desecrate somebody's tomb. And I don't want to desecrate a tomb."
"Well, how about I make you a promise? If there's any tomb desecrating to be done, I'll do it all by myself."
She looked unconvinced. "You say that now, but when we get there and it's, Espy, hep me move this. Espy, can you read this for me? Espy, do you mind holding the dead body up so I can look underneath it?"
Jack swiveled his chair and regarded his wife, marveling at his ability to anger the woman without saying so much as a word. She looked ready to spit.
One thing Jack knew about her anger, however, was that it seldom clouded her ability to make rational decisions. And he had no doubt that if there was any tomb desecration to be done, he was on his own.

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score

Jack loves his wife and sons and will protect them at all costs. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking when he can't. The scene where his sons are taken from him is so vivid, I could feel his fear as if I was running beside the plane with a gun in my hand too. Jack's moral compass is where it should be, in spite of the tomb desecrating when necessary because it isn't for loot or treasure, it is for clues and information.

Wounded Score

I left these orange-less because even though Jack has a weak knee and some regrets about his past, he's not wounded in the classic sense of this score. Perhaps if he really is, he hid it from me as well as from everyone else.

Softie Score

There's an affectionate and tender husband and father underneath the shell, but there isn't much time to experience it when you're being chased by a whole lot of bad guys.

Stupid Strikes

While there are a lot of things I wish Jack would have done differently, I can't pop him any orange here. He's got a brilliant mind and knows how to use it.

Swoon Score

I knew Jack was orange about a third of the way into this novel. There was just something about him that I couldn't quite put my finger on but it was very there. Very Ben Gates, Indiana Jones, and Dr. Richard Kimble feel and as an author myself, I could really appreciate some of Don Hoesel's vivid and lyrical writing. The author gave me a good story, with a hero I could sink my very demanding literary teeth into, and Jack Hawthorne delivered.

Don Hoesel is originally from Buffalo, NY, but has called Tennessee home for more than seventeen years.  He has written five novels, including his newest: Blood and Bone, book three in the Jack Hawthorne series.  He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University.  He lives in Spring Hill, TN, with his wife and two children. Learn more at

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

The FHF Exclusive Directly from the Author

Jack has changed quite a bit over the course of three books.  That’s natural, of course.  Traipsing around the globe for the better part of two decades, trying to stay a step ahead of any number of people trying to kill you is bound to leave a mark on a man.  In fact, if Jack was the same person now that he was when I introduced him in Elisha’s Bones, it would be fair to say that I hadn’t done my job as a writer.

In a period of thirteen years Jack has aged, he’s gotten married, he’s had kids, and, although he doesn’t like to admit it, he’s become more responsible.  Oh, he’s still plagued by some of the bad habits—even a bit of the narcissism—that he’s nursed his entire adult life but he’s also rearranged his priorities.  He’s come to realize that people are more important than things—that relationships trump treasure.  By any measure, Jack is a better man now than he was all those years ago.

But I have to be honest with you about something.  There’s a part of me that will always love his original incarnation best.

When Jack first came on the scene he was five years into a teaching stint at Evanston University in Ellen, NC.  He lived alone in a near empty apartment.  He drank and smoked too much.  There were only two people within a hundred miles that he could call friends.  And his most fulfilling relationship was with a plant: a cactus that required next to no commitment.

He was flippant.  He was self-absorbed.  He refused to take anything seriously.

He’d walked away from a promising archaeological career and an equally promising relationship. He owed money to people all over the globe (although he took some pride in never owing money to more than one person in any general geographic area.)  And both his friends and enemies often harbored very similar thoughts about him. 

Jack was a flawed character.  And flawed characters are a lot of fun to write.  There are more layers to play with.  More depth.  But what it really comes down to is that Jack was a guy I wanted to hang out with—someone with whom I could drink a beer and enjoy a fine cigar.

I think, too, that there’s something special about that first really memorable character a writer creates.  I’d written books before Elisha’s Bones (although it was the first one to find a publisher) but Jack was the first protagonist about whom I could honestly say, “I got this one just right.”

And I suppose that’s why I found it so difficult to change Jack, to make him grow up.

But amid his myriad flaws, Jack also had some strengths—traits that made his evolution inevitable.  Chief among these was a pronounced skepticism.  Often, skeptics can be very driven people—driven to search for the answers themselves because they’re not content to let others do the legwork for them.  Jack could never take anything at face value; he had to see the proof for himself.  It was a quality that drove him through the events of the first book, despite some pretty overwhelming odds.  It was also a quality that forced him to take a hard look at a lot of the choices he’d made and to be honest with himself about his shortcomings.  In the end, not letting Jack mature would have been a disservice to the character, as well as to the reader.

The Jack of today is a lot different from that guy who only cared for his cactus.  But, fortunately, he still retains a lot of the qualities that made him such a fun character to write in that first book.  He’s still flippant; he still drinks and smokes too much; he’s still a skeptic at heart; and both his friends and his enemies still hold him in much the same regard.  But he’s also at a place in his life I find more relatable.  He’s a guy who struggles with how to care for and protect his family, how to accept and reciprocate deep friendship, and how to process the events that have shaped him.

The truth is, I like the guy Jack has become.  He’s the right guy for Blood and Bone, the last Jack Hawthorne novel.  He’s the only one who could navigate all the hazards in the book and come out the other side.  I doubt the younger Jack would have been up to the task.

But that doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t sit down for a drink and a cigar with him. 

The giveaways

I have to agree with Don that there is something special about that first really memorable character a writer creates. I certainly know who mine is and am so glad to have been able to experience Jack Hawthorne as a reader, even if at the end of his journey. You know the drill hero girls, and I'm pretty sure Don was able to convince you better than me about why you should break from your usual fare and read this book.

Let me know you would like to be in the drawing for a copy of Blood and Bone AND if you're an author, who your first memorable character you created was. If you're a reader, who is your most memorable character you've ever enjoyed?

If you've already enjoyed this novel, tell me what you  liked best about it and a character's name that isn't used in the excerpt and we'll get you in the drawing for the $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble giftcard. Drawings on 9/14.

Let's play!


  1. Melanie BackusSeptember 2, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    I am going to have to say that Rhett Butlet is pretty hard to beat as far as characters go in my book!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    1. Nancy KimballSeptember 2, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      You know my favorite line of his ever isn't the one at the end, hehe.
      It's "That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed. And often. And by someone who knows how." =D Thanks for stopping by Melanie.

  2. Joy W. DoeringSeptember 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    So, I'm reading through the feature wondering why it all seems familiar to me. And then it hits me- I read Elisha's Bones several years ago. :) Great book! I loved the Indy-like character, and I had no idea it was part of a series. On the TBR list it goes!

    As far as characters created- the hero/heroine from my first attempt at a story will always be special. But if I have to choose favorites, I'm going to go with my Siblings 3. The years and tears have moulded and shaped them as well as me- I can't wait to see who they become as I journey with them to The End of their stories.

    Oh yes- and Galen. :D

    1. Nancy KimballSeptember 2, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      I have Elisha's Bones on my kindle just waiting! But yeah, you will want to read this one. Somewhere around chapter three I texted my Joannie that this author could put together a sentence so well, with vivid verbs and rich prose that I was almost distracted from the story by how good the writing itself was.
      Yes, I already love me some Galen too. =D

  3. Britney AdamsSeptember 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Wow! I love a good adventure and look forward to reading this series! As for the most memorable character I have enjoyed, I don't even know if I could choose. As an avid reader, I have so many characters running through my head! There is nothing better than a strong hero in a good romance! However, after reading this feature, I had action and adventure on my mind and thought of Jason Bourne from Robert Ludlam's series.

    1. Nancy KimballSeptember 2, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Britney, agreed!!! Love a get in your soul romantic hero like Levi Grant, Carl Richards, Cole McKenna, etc. but it's actually more fun for me to find the orange-head heroes in other genres of fiction because it's like finding the needle in a bigger haystack, haha.
      I never read the books but liked the movies and can totally see that. =)

    2. Nancy KimballSeptember 15, 2013 at 12:12 AM

      Britney, you are our drawing winner but your blogger profile doesn't have a link to your e-mail address. Hopefully you see this reply and blogger emails you! Shoot me an email to fictionherofeatures at hot mail dot come and I'll get your book to you. Thanks!

  4. Don HoeselSeptember 2, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Nancy - Thanks for including Jack on Fiction Hero Features. And for the kind words about the book.

    1. Nancy KimballSeptember 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      My pleasure, Don! I regret I discovered him late in the series but so happy to have him join the FHF roster. You are a very gifted author and I admire both your story and your craft.

  5. Gretchen E.K. EngelSeptember 3, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    I love quests, so I want to read Jack Hawthorne from start to finish.

    As for memorable characters, I'm going for a heroine not a hero. Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged. She's a strong, female engineer - I wanted to be her. I read it the summer after my freshman year in high school. And no, she didn't influence my career choice. I'd already decided.

    As for characters I've created, is there anyone other than my first hero?

  6. Jennie WSeptember 13, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    It is so hard to pick a most memorable characters as I end up loving so many...but I'd say Ingeborg Bjorklund (and her husband, Haakan, of course!) in the Red River of the North series by Lauraine Snelling. I can reread that entire series time and time again!

  7. Nancy KimballSeptember 15, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Britney Adams, you are our winner of a copy of Blood and Bone, courtesy of =)

    Thanks to everyone and to Don for sharing Jack with us.