Honey: A Novel

Brooks, Brenda

  • “Sinuous and captivating.”— Foreword Reviews

    Shortlisted for the 2019 Staunch Book Prize

    For readers of Sharp Objects comes a thrilling modern noir with a fresh narrative voice that explores coming of age, desire, and the lengths we’ll go to for love

    When 24-year-old Nicole Hewett’s beloved childhood friend, Honey, returns to their small northern town after an unexplained six-year absence, Nicole realizes how her life had stalled without her. But the prodigal returns with troubling secrets, and before long Nicole is drawn into a high-stakes game. Honey is a thrilling, sensuous modern noir novel with a classic refrain: nothing is more dangerous than love.  


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  • Brenda Brooks has published two poetry collections and a novel, Gotta Find Me an Angel, a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. She lives on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.

  • Published: October 2019

    ISBN: 9781770414976

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 232


“Brooks has delivered a meaty, insightful, and at times funny story of star crossed lovers (think Rebel Without a Cause). Her writing is exceptional and hard-driving, and the story itself difficult to put down.” — Booklist

“An exploration of obsession and the ignition of latent desires . . . The characters may be rough around the edges, but their descriptions contain a sense of grace . . . [A] sumptuous slow burn of a novel.” — Shelf Awareness for Readers

“A darkly prismatic relationship between two complex and fascinating antiheroines. Honey showcases Brooks’s intellect and wit and proves her incontestable talent for sultry, neo-noir storytelling.” — Pearl Luke, author of Burning Ground and Madame Zee

“A very, very good book!  I fell in love with the writing (or should I say with Nicole’s voice?) by the end of the prologue, and was still in love when I reached the end. I never stopped rooting for Nicole . . . What sets this thriller apart from the crowd, I think, are two wonderful elements:  1) the ambiguity of Honey’s innocence or guilt throughout the story — was she a manipulator?  a victim? and 2) the strong thrum of deep love that runs like a current under the tale — the fact that Nicole was in love with Honey no matter what she’d done or hadn’t done, and that her love seemed to supersede all other considerations.  It’s not often you read of this sort of relationship in a mystery/thriller, and Ms. Brooks so skillfully walks that knife-edge between love and manipulation, between ignorance and denial. I think many of our mystery readers would really enjoy this book, and seems to me to be a great book club choice — so much to ponder and discuss!” — Tim Budd, Prairie Lights Books (Iowa City, IA)

“In an opening nod to Rebecca, Brooks takes the wheel with the smart style and knowing sass of Barbara Kingsolver or Gillian Flynn. With an atmosphere that David Lynch would be proud of, we’re in safe hands for gripping modern noir . . . This novel is a great seduction, with all the thrills, treachery and heartache that can bring . . . Great plot. Sharp dialogue. Brilliant writing. You’ll want to read more of Brenda Brooks.” — Staunch Book Prize Committee

“Sinuous and captivating, Honey is a novel about friendship, obsession, and the troubling, even perilous ambiguities behind motivations and desires.” — Foreword Reviews

Honey shows that the classic noir fatalism you see in writers like David Goodis makes a lot of sense in a contemporary setting as well. With well-drawn characters and Brooks’s ability to tease out an obsessiveness that leads to some truly bad decision-making, this is an impactful, spare read.” — Nathan Ripley, author of Find You in the Dark and Your Life Is Mine

“If Raymond Chandler has taught us anything, it’s that every good noir begins with a dame, preferably one who’s beautiful, lost, and a whole lot of trouble. With her shadowy past and undeniable charm, Honey more than fits the bill — she’s heaven and hell all at once. Nicole hasn’t seen her childhood best friend since she left town years before. But now that Honey is back, they can pick up where they left off and then some. It isn’t long though before the growing heat between them threatens to consume Nicole entirely — who is Honey really? And why did she come back? Brenda Brooks has written an engrossing and gritty slow burn of a mystery, one that marks a welcome update to the genre!” — Lauren Peugh, Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle, WA)

“A honey of a novel, one that has nicely drawn figures that haunt the reader from first page to last.” — Owen Sound Sun Times

“Showcasing author Brenda Brooks as a particularly gifted novelist, Honey is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.” — Midwest Book Review