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Little Gods

Honorable Mention 2009 Beach Book Festival

2009 readers circle choice

Nominated for Booksense Pick

five stars,


Hours after sundown on All Souls’ Day, I stare out my dorm window, frantic for a glimpse of my best friend Cody Boyle. Like me a scholarship boy, in three years Cody has become the brother I never had. As a teammate, confidant and guiding star, he now anchors my personally nomadic life. Broad-shouldered, thin-hipped, naturally athletic and darkly handsome, he is nonetheless modest, charming, witty, shrewd and funny--everything I am not. From our first encounter sophomore year here at Wexford Academy, my attraction to him was instant, my attachment forever. Knowing Cody has taught me that you can only fear for those you love.

As now. Tonight, with rain pelting down and only thirty minutes to bed check, he is still out there, as is a football ringer named Harry Sunder. Like many jocks, Harry’s off chasing skirts at nearby Smith College. With only minutes to spare, Harry finally staggers in drenched, then props himself against a wall. Normally an intimidating brute, tonight Harry seems shrunken, his voice ghostly. “I think somebody just got killed,” he says.

Praise for Little Gods

"This is a powerful story about a young man coming of age in a time of both personal and national reckoning. For those of us who lived through that difficult period when fathers, sons and brothers were off at war while a struggle continued at home, Little Gods is a poignant reminder how the reverberations of a conflict affect us all."

- Senator John Kerry

"With revelations as surprising as they are, finally, inevitably, David Hoof's Little Gods is a deeply layered mystery of life and death that turns, as great mysteries must, on the finely wrought humanity of its characters. Especially intriguing are his complex and beautiful women who, like Poe's stolen letter, hide in plain sight even as different men adore them. An astonishing achievement and a great read too."

- Susan Ferraro

"A page-turner that transports the reader from a murderous first night to a time, two decades later, when vengeance exacts new crimes and punishments. In this spellbinding interplay of light and dark, no one, dead or alive, can escape the past."

- Thomas B. Allen, author of Possessed*
* real life basis for The Exorcist

"Travis Mather came of age against the back drop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the JFK assassination and growing US involvement in Viet Nam, but the defining event of his life was the disappearance and presumed murder of his best friend, Cody Boyle, during their senior year at Wexford, an exclusive New England prep school. Little Gods is a beautifully crafted novel about fear, guilt and manipulation. David Hoof is an eloquent writer, spinning his haunting tale with words that will live beyond the book itself."

- Sue Ann Jaffarian, author of the New York Times-praised Odelia Grey Mystery Series

"Little Gods has everything a reader wants in a novel: character, action, suspense, a strong evocation of a particular time and place. Engaging emotionally, intellectually and philosophically, it is the work of a writer who has mastered his craft."

- Rick Slone, author of Brown Shoe

"Hoof takes the reader on a journey through human reactions and sincere emotions without over sentimentality as he reveals the secret underpinnings that reach beyond the school's reality -- the kind of secrets that stay hidden because most people don't want to know their existence. Little Gods is at once engaging, intriguing and entertaining while feeling all too plausible in the world in which we live."

- T.L. Cooper, author of All She Ever Wanted

"If you love a good mystery, and you love language and literature, and something quirky enough to make it interesting, you'll love David Hoof's Little Gods."

- Peter Abresch, author of the James P. Dandy
Eldeshostel Mysteries

"Engrossing. The setting, the premise and the writing make this an atmospheric page turner. It's a story that cries out to be made into a movie."

- G. M. Malliet, Mystery Scene - featured author of Death of a Cozy Writer

"David L. Hoof has taken the basic well-plotted mystery and transformed it into an atmospheric, unforgettable and kick-ass meditation on the futility of hero worship and of loving much too much. And yes, it may even be literature, although it's certainly still a real page turner."

- Catherine Dunphy

"David L. Hoof's Little Gods is prep school noir. Imagine A Separate Peace written by Alfred Hitchcock."

- Jim Tenuto, author of Blood Atonement

"Deftly plotted and intelligently crafted, Little Gods will please any mystery fan with its powerful current of suspense set against a beautifully evoked New England landscape. The sadness of the Vietnam war is movingly interwoven with one man's desperate search for justice. Don't miss this one."

- Louise Rosen

"David L. Hoof's Little Gods is the best prep school novel since A Separate Peace."

- Don Gastwirth
(who sponsored A Separate Peace author John Knowles for membership in Yale's Elizabethan Club)

"An intriguing web of school loyalties and dark secrets that continue to haunt students years after they graduate. David Hoof's ability to take the reader back in time through his recollections of world events was spectacular. He demonstrates a scholarly and profound approach to mystery writing. If you want to be absorbed into a mystery as if you were there, Little Gods will do just that. It is truly a must read for mystery lovers."

- Gailynne M. Ferguson

"Little Gods transports the reader from murderous vulgarity to retributive justice and ultimately, a search for the soul."

- Brenda Robertson Stewart, author of Power in the Blood

"David Hoof's Little Gods is much more than 'just' a riveting mystery. A tightly written story with believable characters who must come to grips with the horrifying consequences of concealing a crime, it excels on many levels -- especially in its perceptive view of human nature."

- Margaret Tessler

"If you're a baby boomer, even if your background is totally different from Travis Mather's, I believe you'll love this book as much as I did. People say certain music is the soundtrack of their lives. With Little Gods it felt like I was reading the written soundtrack of mine as Hoof brings to mind the national events that have so affected our lives and continue to today. I heartily recommend it!"

- Linda Dewberry, Whodunit? Books, Olympia, Washington

"A masterful plotter transforms a gripping novel of a student's grisly murder into a haunting tale of suspense two decades later."

- Teresa Inge

"Little Gods is a book that is hard to put down..."

- Irmarie Jones, Book Reviewer, The Greenfield Recorder

"On the remotest chance that great literature can come from a murder story, Little Gods by David L. Hoof is a tour de force."

- Shelly Campbell, Sime-Gen Reviews,