The Hollows by Daniel Church

DNF at 50 %.

This had so much promise! A small town cut off from the rest of the world by a snow storm. Mysterious creatures attacking its inhabitants. A lone policewoman trying to keep order and make sure as many people survive this as possible… Yup, the description was right up my alley, so I went into this book with a certain amount of excitement.

And the beginning was good. Ellie discovers a body and realizes it’s one of the residents. Apparently he froze to death and there are strange markings next to his body. That’s creepy. The introduction to the monsters was also creepy and frankly terrifying. Those are the stuff of nightmares, alright. I wouldn’t want to see one of them outside my window at night.

But that’s about where the positives end for me. The book is way too long for its own good. It drags. The story meanders at a leisury pace when it should be rushing along revving up the suspense. I mean I quit reading right after our first real glimpse of the Tatterskins, and that was at 50% if the book. And I would have tried to stay with the story if the constant distractions were useful to deepen the character relationships or tell us more about the town. But it really doesn’t. 

My second problem, and the one that ultimately made me call it quits, is the fact that all characters are caricatures of themselves. The bad people are so villainous, they don’t even feel like real people, like that one inbred family at the farm. The good ones are good, but one-dimensional. I couldn’t tell you what Ellie looks like or what her story is. Yes, there is mentions of her loosing her son, but never in much detail. Other villagers just blend into one indistinctive mass of people.

But what made me throw the towel was how the wife of the second cop was portrayed. I understand that we aren’t supposed to empathize with her. I understand that the protagonist doesn’t like her. But why did she have to be portrayed as an arrogant screeching harrigan who cares more about her car being totaled and tearing Ellie a new one than the fact that her husband is missing and presumed dead? Unless she is so heartless that she was planning her husband’s murder and the monsters just happened to hasten things, this is an extremely unnatural reaction. That was so jarring to me that I closed the book and never looked back.

There is a good story somewhere in there, it’s just buried under excessive wordcount and poor characterization.

PS: I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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