The Hemlock County Novels

Hemlock County is my fictional re-creation and evocation of the country and people where I grew up. There are four books in the series. They were first published in this order: The Dead of Winter, Winter in the Heart, As the Wolf Loves Winter, and then Thunder on the Mountain. Thunder on the Mountain, however, takes place during Halvorsen’s youth, in 1936, long before the generic present settings of the first three books. Each book stands by itself nonetheless.

The Dead of Winter book cover

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(The Hemlock County Novels Book 1)

“It was on that first day of the hunt, an hour after dawn, that the old man found the body of the boy.” This classic novel of crime and punishment in deer-hunting country opens on the first day of buck season in remote Hemlock County, Pennsylvania. Long-retired hunter and reclusive hermit W.T. Halvorsen discovers the victim of what at first seems like a hunting accident. After the funeral, the victim’s father, Dr.Paul Michelson, begins a search for the killer who shot his son, then walked away, letting him bleed to death in the snow. When Michelson too vanishes, his lover Teresa Del Rosario follows him to Hemlock County, fighting her growing fear he has murder in mind.

Then hunter after hunter begins to die. As terror stalks the deep woods, Halvorsen pits his tracking and shooting skills against those of his human enemy in a deadly cat-and-mouse game deep in the Kinningmahontawany Wild Area.

An epic tale of justice, survival, and two utterly determined men hunting each other through the snow-shrouded hills and ravines in the greatest blizzard in twenty years.

Winter in the Heart book cover

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(The Hemlock County Novels Book 2)

“Dark and gritty as a gravel road.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“A searing novel of corporate corruption and justice denied.” – Jay Parini

“A wonderfully affirmative novel written with grace, style, and verve.” – Florida Times-Union

“A novel of astonishing depth and power.” – Jack Anderson

“A courtroom thriller with vividly imagined and deftly rendered characters.” – Publishers Weekly

Reclusive hermit and ex-hunter W. T. Halvorsen is a scapegoat for the crimes of the rich and the mighty in remote Hemlock County, Pennsylvania. Dragged into a courtroom in shackles, he must convince a judge and jury that everything they believe about their government and their town’s chief employer is a lie. His only friends outside the courtroom are a jilted young beautician and a suicidal teenager. But saving his life could cost their own.

An epic tale of crime, corruption and environmental destruction, and of one honest man’s fight for the truth.

David Poyer’s least-known body of work may be his Hemlock County series, set in a Faulknerian imaginary county in Western Pennsylvania. The first was THE DEAD OF WINTER (Tor Books); the second, WINTER IN THE HEART (Forge). AS THE WOLF LOVES WINTER was an alternate selection of The Literary Guild and the Doubleday Book Club. THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN, a historical novel set in Depression-era Pennsylvania, was released by Forge Books/St Martin’s Press, and received starred reviews from all three major reviewing agencies.

As the Wolf Loves Winter book cover

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(The Hemlock County Novels Book 3)

In the old days wolves roamed remote, mysterious Hemlock County, Pennsylvania. Then the great hemlocks, the virgin forests, and at last the very earth itself were raped and left to die.

Now these deserted hills are being haunted by new atrocities, seemingly triggered by a bonanza of natural gas. What beast or man is leaving frozen, mangled bodies in the woods? Three unlikely heroes will set out to find the answer: W.T. “Racks” Halvorsen, retired oilfield worker and ex-hunter; Becky Benning, twelve-year-old who knows only she can save her dying brother . . . with magic; and Dr. Leah Friedman, a New York physician who suspects the truth behind the killings. Their search is eerily shadowed by that of the Silver Wolf, whose reintroduced pack, deep in the Wilderness, is threatened once more by mankind’s ferocity.

Thunder on the Mountain book cover

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(The Hemlock County Novels Book 4)

“A stunning period tale in which the oft-forgotten essence of the American dream is visible in every chapter.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

“Dramatic and suspenseful, full of despair and hope.” – Booklist, starred review

“The prizefight and deer hunt sequences are worthy of Jack London”– Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Poyer, who grew up in Bradford, has been compared to Steinbeck, with good cause.” – Pittsburgh Post- Gazette

In the depths of the Depression, young wellshooter and aspiring boxer W. T. “Kid Nitro” Halvorsen starts a strike in the Pennsylvania oilfields after a massive refinery disaster exposes the Thunder Oil Company’s neglect of workers’ safety. As the violence escalates, Halvorsen, CIO organizer and secret Communist Doris Gurley Golden, strikebreaker Pearl Deatherage, and Thunder Oil owner Daniel Thunner battle to decide the fate of Hemlock County – and whether the bloodshed there will ignite a revolution that will shake all America.

THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN was originally published by Forge Books/St Martin’s Press, and received starred reviews from all three major reviewing agencies. This is a revised and improved Northampton House reprint.

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