Paula Guran Reviews Hooked by A.C. Wise

Hooked, A.C. Wise. (Titan 978-1-78909-683-5, $15.95 336pp, tp) July 2022.

With Hooked, A.C. Wise returns to the exploration of a very dark version of J. M. Barrie’s Neverland that she began in her debut novel, Wendy, Darling (Titan, 2021). Eight years have passed since a grown-up Wendy rescued her daughter Jane from Peter Pan and brought real death to Neverland. It is 1939 and Jane is in London trying to become a medical doctor in a world that generally disdains women with such ambitions. When Jane’s roommate is mysteriously murdered, her mother is drawn away from Christmas preparations in Newark-on-Trent and arrives in London. Wendy and Jane, however, are not the only people in London who survived Neverland. James Hook – the immortal pirate cap­tain who died, usually by Pan’s hand, a thousand deaths – escaped Neverland years before Wendy returned to save her daughter. Now addicted to opium, Hook is still haunted by Neverland and is grieving a loss he cannot put behind him. He has also had a strange encounter with death. James Hook and Wendy Darling quickly realize that a sinister murderous beast has escaped from Neverland and is pursuing them. Another death occurs, and it is soon apparent that others, includ­ing Wendy’s husband and her brother Michael, are also in peril. Hook, Wendy, and Jane must somehow return the beast to Neverland. They must share secrets, probe deep wounds, and acknowledge truths in order to find their way. Wise, once again, introduces readers to compel­ling characters and a can’t-put-downable plot that smartly reworks the beloved original. Hooked is a revelatory and entertaining tale that shrewdly delves into shadows of the past as well as the re­lationships of those who survive trauma and loss.


Paula Guran has edited more than 40 science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies and more than 50 novels and collections featuring the same. She’s reviewed and written articles for dozens of publications. She lives in Akron OH, near enough to her grandchildren to frequently be indulgent.


This review and more like it in the August 2022 issue of Locus.

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