Michael L. Hawley's Author Website

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Book Reviews

The Book Review page is dedicated to compiling independent book reviews and testimonials.

I had the opportunity to preview Janis Wilson's fiction novel Goulston Street. I was honored to be on her back cover!



Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety -


"It's therefore important to know as much about Tumblety as possible, and this densely-researched volume is the definitive source, the go-to book for information about a genuine Jack the Ripper suspect. It lays out his life, documented through fully-sourced newspaper reports and legal documents, and has a full bibliography and acceptable index. A must have."

                               -Paul Begg, Ripperologist, No. 161, April/May 2018

The Rippers Haunts -

Crime historian and author Paul Begg, one of the foremost experts of the Whitechapel murders mystery, gave me a book review in a journal called Ripperologist. In the intro he stated: “Another is Mike Hawley’s magnum opus The Ripper’s Haunts, which arrived too late for me to finish reading so the full review will appear next issue, but I must say it looks to be head and shoulders above the new Ripper offerings we’ve seen so far in 2016.” The following is his book review:


 The following are the book reviews found on Amazon.com. Scroll down for reviews from independent book reviewers:

The Rippers Haunts -

5 Star: A must read for anyone with an interest in the "Ripper" By Brian in Buffalo on June 3, 2016

     As someone who is called a "Ripperologist" and has read just about every book to ever come on the market about the Whitechapel Murders.. or the Jack the Ripper murders, I am hard to impress... but again, for only the 3rd time in many years it has happened...
      Michael Hawley has written, in my opinion, the most compelling "Ripper suspect" book in decades....The last few years there have been dozens of books to come out about the 100+ year old mystery, some wonderful (The Bank Holiday Murders by Tom Wescott and Prisoner 4374 by A.J. Griffiths-Jones are two great examples) and many....well I won't name any names... but most less then stellar to say the least....and then there is The Ripper's Haunts....Michael Hawley's look into Francis Tumblety as a "Ripper" suspect.
Dr. Tumblety is a character who has always interested me, being from Buffalo, only 1 hour from Rochester NY ( the home and burial site of Dr. T)...but I never bought into the whole Tumblety as the Ripper idea....so I picked up this book with an already skeptical mind (or I hate to admit bias against the idea) and prepared myself for a fun little book about a "local legend"...I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE SUPRISED.....The research Hawley did is unbelievable.. tracing not only Tumblety, but also Scotland Yard during this investigation....Hats off to Mike for that....and the case Mike makes will make even the most hardened "Ripperologist" stop and think....could this American Indian herb Dr. be responsible for the most infamous series of murders in history....well.. that is for the reader to decide, but one thing is for sure......even IF he was not "Jack", Scotland yard sure thought he was guilty of SOMETHING....something far worse than he was ever "arrested' for anyway.
      The Ripper's Haunts deserves a place among the best of the best "Ripper" books, and Hawley should now be mentioned in the same breath as key Ripper historians/experts like Martin Fido, Donald Rumbelow, Paul Begg, Stewart Evans, Keith Skinner etc. And I hope there will be even more to come from this rookie Ripperologist....
      As a nice companion piece to the book, I would recommend checking out the Podcast of Mike Hawleys' talk at the Baltimore Ripper conference, it is available on Casebook.org under the "Rippercasts" section....
      Quite possibly the most endearing thing about this book, and Hawley in general, is that he never uses terms like "Case Closed" or "Final Solution"...he is an academic, and a researcher who knows we may never know for sure who Jack was.. but presents facts and says this is something to look at...a possible answer to a puzzle missing far too many pieces to ever be solved....I only wish I could give this book more than 5 stars...  Yours truly, Brian in Buffalo (Don't mind me giving the trade name)

Curse of the Bayou Beast -

- Curse of the Bayou Beast hooked me on the first page (Read it on Amazon, you'll see what I mean). In Hawley's first book, The Ripper's Hellbroth, the Watchmaker battles a ruthless serial killer (linked to the 1888 Jack the Ripper case in London) in Western New York, in Jack's Lantern he fights an almost unstoppable killer in Boston and Salem (linked to Old Ireland and Scotland), and in his latest, the Watchmaker locks horns with a monstrous maniac (linked to a true series of events in Old France). He again weaves mystery thriller and historical fiction into a seamless, engaging story. Carol, June 25, 2015

Jack's Lantern -

1)  5 Stars. Bewitched in Boston?  July 17, 2014.
     Jack’s Lantern by Michael L. Hawley is an intriguing suspense novel featuring Dr. Edward Dunham, nicknamed the Watchmaker for his unerring accuracy in pursuing his trade as an FBI criminal profiler. The countdown to Halloween has begun, and the author takes us through different scenarios and events leading to All Saints Eve from 1570 to the present. For some the day has religious significance, for others it has superstitious overtones. For the October Killer, it is a time of reaping the human harvest as Dunham and his colleagues race the clock to disrupt his schedule. Hawley takes us on a thrill-kill ride as we follow the trail from past to present, beneath ancient bridges and through darkened warehouses, wondering where the hooded murderer will strike next.
     The theme of religion resonates throughout the novel as the Gaelic tradition of Samhain (‘end of harvest’) is traced to its incorporation into Church doctrine. We also see how its historical ramifications have affected society as we travel to Salem and its witchcraft lore, to the International Association of Exorcists where such beliefs are accepted to the present day. The October Killer becomes the embodiment of evil, and belief systems continue to be challenged as reality TV criminal profiler Dr. Gillespie is brought into the case. Old school detectives Huff and Sadler are determined to do their jobs by the book, while Dunham brings a more eclectic system to the chase. The element of confusion enhances the atmosphere of the novel as mindsets and philosophies continue to collide as the killer threatens to slip through the embroglio.
     Will the October Killer live to slay another day? Pick up a copy of Jack’s Lantern by Michael L. Hawley and you won’t be disappointed.
     - John R. Dizon

2)  Awesome book !!! 5 stars
June 5, 2014. 
     This book is an awesome take on another Halloween story. I could not put it down, I read it cover to cover in a day. I loved the way Michael Hawley worked in his first book into this book. I am talking about the Rippers Hellbroth about Jack the Ripper another great book. I gave this book a great review because it kept me rivited and not wanting to put it down. - Jennifer Rastelli

The Ripper's Hellbroth -

Here are two recent book reviews of The Ripper's Hellbroth. The first is for the re-edited version under Sunbury Press.


This is a Western New York group:


1)  5 Stars! September 23, 2013. 
   This was a great read. It was fast paced, well researched and -it was gripping. It was intense and FUN - a rare combination. The author intertwined fact with imagination to fictionalize the Ripper story and did a GREAT job of crossing back and forth to keep it intense and feasible all the way through. Hopefully, we will see more books from him. Soon. - James Hrbek

2)  5 Stars. A Gripping Story September 18, 2013. 
     Mike Hawley skillfully takes newspaper headlines of 1888 and blends them into an entertaining narrative. The book pleases those who have studied the Whitechapel crimes, Rosicrucianism, and the Martial Arts. 19th century Scotland Yard figures come to life in this well-researched fictional drama. - Maltajoe

3) Real Page Turner! 5 stars. July 20, 2014.
     Michael Hawley sure knows how to weave a story. From start to finish this was a real page turner. I just couldn't put it down. Jumping back and forth between 19th century England and the present day, Hawley manages to educate the reader on the Jack the Ripper murders while integrating the clues from the famous serial killer into a current murder case. It's a tremendous read that's complete with a suprise ending. - Thomas Dewitt

Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight -
"It was a pleasure to read Broken Flashlight,... His years of interest in geological analysis, knowledge of creationist pronouncements and teaching experience are embedded in the book's intellectual structure, and show in Hawley's clear, honest and charming style...He poses an interesting and fatal internal contradiction. If the Bible is God's Word and nature is His Handiwork, shouldn't they agree? Where's the truth? Since we can't apply observational verification to Biblical text, but can to the natural world, a rational mind should choose to accept the evidence of God's Handiwork. This is an extremely important lesson, in the classroom or out. It's sort of a theological critical experiment."

-Professor Theodore Steegmann, Jr., Professor Emeritus & former
chair of the Department of Anthropology at the State University of
New York at Buffalo

"The general wisdom in North America is that one must either:

  • Accept the accuracy of the Bible text and thus embrace Creationism, or
  • Accept the Theory of Evolution as truth and consider the book of Genesis as myth.

Hawley explodes this as a myth. Starting from the facts found in nature, one can harmonize evolution and Genesis. A remarkable accomplishment. One of the most important books I have read in the past 12 months."


Amazon -
1)  5 Stars. Great Look At The Evolution / Creation Debate September 20, 2011. 
      Author Michael Hawley begins by telling us how he grew up as a Christian who since early childhood has loved science. As a reader who is an agnostic, I took this book up a little warily, wondering if on one hand I would have to wade though much religious `dogma', or if on the other I would have to suffer any intellectual shortfalls. I was relieved on both accounts. Mr. Hawley doesn't impose at all in these ways, which is no small feat considering the subject. Nor is this book some effort to compromise the differing views in this debate - it is really a larger work than that. Mr. Hawley rigorously questions thinking in some Christian circles concerning science and the natural world. Equally, he sheds light on the common misconceptions and muddy thinking about the science of evolution. Within these two topics a third question is laid out for our consideration - how the workings of thought and belief themselves have added to the stances taken in this debate. Though the subject is large, his enthusiasm and the narrative of his search make this book read easily. What Mr. Hawley has accomplished with his careful scholarship and honest account is of surpassing quality and import; with this work he takes a rightful place in a small company of others who have deeply sought answers to, and written about, this ages-old question. I recommend it highly. - David Grundy

2)  5 Stars. Excellent starting point for seeking the truth July 20, 2011.
      I am an evangelical Christian with a science background and a heart for education. I already accepted biological evolution long ago; personally, I have always understood it as the mechanism used by God to accomplish parts of Creation. I have read many books covering the full spectrum of views on the Creation and biological evolution to better educate myself on why most (evangelical) Christians have such a difficult time accepting evolution. Behe, Dembski, Morris, Collins, Martin, Glover, even frank atheists like Coyne and Dawkins have pretty much covered the entire range of viewpoints on the topic as a whole.
     What I have found, even after reading these books and debating with my evangelical friends, is that the fundamental problem here is that they don't believe that the scientific evidence is trustworthy. They also don't understand *why* they believe what they do believe about the Creation. As it turns out, it has very little to do with their own personal interpretation of the Bible.
     How can it be that out of a dozen people who ALL believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, you can come out with a dozen DIFFERENT viewpoints about the same topic? Even three strict literalists can come up with three different interpretations; otherwise we'd all believe that the earth is flat, with waters hovering over the firmament. Hawley's exposition will truly challenge the reader who thinks he's got it right because he's simply taking the clearest interpration of Scripture. There is no such thing. Otherwise, there wouldn't be thousands of Christian denominations.
     Obviously, some people's interpretations must be incorrect. The problem is that everyone trusts the *authority* of various (different) Biblical interpreters and scholars, and at the same time, they distrust the interpretation of *evidence* gained through practice of the scientific method. This book, more than any others, dives into why individuals believe what they do, and where these beliefs really come from. Hawley exposes the rich historical background of various beliefs, taking us verse-by-verse through some of the most difficult and contentious passages in the Bible, examining the Hebrew words and how they have been translated over the years by different scholars.
     Although the title of this book is a bit oppressive ("My flashlight works just fine!" I imagine a reader would say), the style of writing within the book is engaging, and it won't make the reader feel defensive.

     I thought I was well-read on the subject, but I have learned quite a bit about the history of Christianity as well as scientific inquiry from Michael Hawley's book.
     Of all the books that I've read, this is the first to really call out the real problems -- the stumbling blocks -- that the evangelical community has with modern science. Hawley then decomposes each problem and clearly lays out where the fallacies and misunderstandings are.
     Prior to this book, I would have recommended that people start out by reading Francis Collins' "The Language of God," or Gordon Glover's "Beyond the Firmanent." Or Coyne's "Why Evolution is True", to go straight to the hard evidence. While I stil believe that those are, in that order, excellent aids to understanding evolution from a Christian perspective, I can now say that "Searching for Truth..." is a necessary starting point for the truly suspicious reader.
     We can throw around enough hard evidence and analysis to bury an interested person in research for months, but without clearing up the fundamental problems with how people approach the subject, we aren't going to get them to accept what science teaches. I think this book will do just that. - Photographer, Mac User

3)  5 Stars. Much more than just a book on the evolution/creation issue June 11, 2011.
      I must be getting old to pick up a book on this subject and actually read it, understand it and love it. I think this book should be required reading for every high school age student no matter what faith they practice. Not teaching these issues is leaving a large gap in what we are passing on to our children. Not only is this book a study on the evolution/creation controversy it is also a study of the scientific process. This may sound a bit boring, but Hawley makes it so simple to the layman that you can learn to apply good rational thinking in your day-to-day life.
     As a Christian I never really understood the fascination with these arguments. I also assumed there was truth somewhere between both sides and that the core of our faith should be where the concentration of our time and effort should be. However, when I read a recent article about this book in Buffalo Spree magazine I was hopeful someone finally did all the research to put this topic to bed once and for all. I feel like Hawley has done this and given us many other bonuses as well. I learned more from reading this 189 page book in 3 days than I have in many college courses.
     It seems years and years of misconception that even I have recently discussed with other Christians (Darwin apparently DID NOT denounce evolution on his death bed) and many other myth busting facts (science does not claim we came from monkeys- who knew!!) have led many of us to pick sides in the creation bs evolution debate. Well now we no longer have to.
     I think Mr. Hawley's next assignment should be to take his recent ghost experience, hook up with the Klinge brothers from Ghost Lab and connect science and Christianity to the ever growing scientific research of communication with those that have crossed over.
- Nancy Fitz-Patrick "Destinay"

4)  5 Stars. An Excellent Read December 31, 2010.
      The author cleared up many misconceptions I had about the controversy. I had no idea a literal interpretation need not disagree with science. For example, "after their kind" in Genesis is an excellent example of common ancestry. - Marty Rastelli

5)  5 Stars. Easy to read, entertaining, informative, and thought provoking December 27, 2010.
      Too many evolution/creation books promote the claim that one must either believe God created the diversity of life or nature did, and this book clearly shows God and nature are one in the same. The author does this from the perspective of a Christian and allows for the acceptance of a literal interpretation of the Bible. I thought believing in evolution meant one must believe that man came from monkeys or apes, but the author points out that scientists reject this claim. - Sue Blackall


The following is an independent book review of Jack's Lantern from Rukia -

The start of the book appears slow with no obvious flow from chapter to chapter, is this deliberate? - you have to read on to find out. However, from chapter 5 onwards the connections begin to surface and from there on I could not put it down. I found myself  reading chapters at every opportunity. When I reached chapter 32, I felt disappointed that I had reached the end, but then a surprise!!
There is a great sense of anticipation, suspense and attention to detail throughout.  The storyline and plot are factually well researched, with the historical facts filtered effortlessly into the manuscript. This book would definitely lend itself to being made into a screenplay.
The character development is well written and as the story unravels the personal characteristics, especially of Dr Dunham, enhance the readers enjoyment of a captivating story.
Highly recommended. 26th July 2014


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