In the Hour of Crows

Dana Elmendorf

Mira, 2024

Agent: Jill Marr

In a small town in Appalachia, people paint their doorways blue to keep spirits away.

Black ferns grow where death will follow.

And Weatherly Opal Wilder is a Death Talker.

When called upon, she can talk the death out of the dying and save their lives; only once, never twice. But this truly unique gift comes at a price, rooting Weatherly to people who only want her around when they need her and resent her backwater ways when they don’t.

Weatherly’s cousin Adaire also has a gift: she’s a Scryer and can see the future reflected back in dark surfaces. Right before she is killed in an accident, Adaire saw something unnerving, and that’s why Weatherly believes she was murdered—never thinking for a moment that it was an accident. But when Weatherly, for the first time, is unable to talk the death out of the mayor’s son, the whole town suspects she is out for revenge, that she wouldn’t save him.

With the help of clues Adaire left behind and her family’s Granny Witch recipe box, Weatherly sets out to find the truth behind her cousin’s death, whatever it takes.

Imbued with magic, witchery, and suspense, Dana Elmendorf’s In the Hour of Crows is a thrilling tale of friendship, identity, and love.


“In the Hour of Crows has everything I love in a good southern gothic—family drama, earthy magic married with religion, and a sense of coiling, visceral dread. Elmendorf's small Georgia town is both stifling and sensual, filled with characters so realistic you'll swear you've met them before. Enchanting, gritty, and impossible to put down.”—Paulette Kennedy, author of The Witch of Tin Mountain

“Beautiful, dark, and vulnerable, In the Hour of Crows is a love letter to Appalachia that just might steal your soul. Elmendorf’s authentic Southern voice is lyrical yet haunting, and the page-turning mystery makes this an absolute must-read.”—Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Hundred Loves of Juliet

"Utterly unforgettable. IN THE HOUR OF CROWS is a gorgeous feast for the senses, a Southern midnight wrapped in folk magic and stolen kisses, tenderness and grit. I savored every page, whether it was breaking my heart or taking away my breath. With this book, Dana Elmendorf offers a stunning debut that will leave readers craving more  of her deliciously eerie worlds."--Heather Demetrios, PEN-award winning author of Exquisite Captive 

In the Hour of Crows enthralls like a delicious dark spell. The story is perfectly set in 1980s Appalachia, in a tightknit town that feels ever more mysterious as gifted Weatherly Wilder unearths secrets some folks would rather keep buried. The Death Talker premise is fascinating, as are the codes that compel the magical Wilder family—an intriguing mix of Scottish lore, Appalachian superstition, and biblical doctrines. Elmendorf has written a wildly original debut, an evocative tale about self-identity and growth, the inspiring afterlife of love, and the hazards of using piety to gain power.”--Glendy Vanderah, bestselling author of Where the Forest Meets the Stars



“A spellbinding tale of family secrets, dark magic, and murder” —Publishers Weekly

In the Hour of Crows enchants with its haunting plot and vivid prose, offering a compelling exploration of the human spirit against the backdrop of Appalachia's mystique. Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman and Sangu Mandanna.” Booklist