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The Hollow City Hardcover – July 3, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gave the haunting, first person narrative a human touch….” ―Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author on I Am Not a Serial Killer

“This dazzling, unput-downable debut novel proves beyond a doubt that Dan Wells has the gift.” ―F. Paul Wilson on I Am Not a Serial Killer

“Brilliant! Full of unforgettable characters, creepy thrills, and dangerous twists you won't see coming.” ―Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author on I Don't Want to Kill You

“Fans of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series will welcome Wells's gripping debut.” ―Publishers Weekly on I Am Not a Serial Killer

About the Author

Dan Wells is the author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You. He lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife, Dawn, and four young children.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765331705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765331700
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,168,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Wells is the author of several novels for adults, including I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, MR. MONSTER, and I DON'T WANT TO KILL YOU. PARTIALS is his first book for young adults. He lives in Utah with his wife and children. You can visit him online at www.fearfulsymmetry.net

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I'm a big fan of Dan Wells. I loved the John Cleaver series for all its psychological terrorising, and while I enjoyed Partials, I actually missed having Wells play with my mind. So when I heard that Wells was returning to supernatural psychological thrillers with The Hollow City I became very excited and set aside a bunch of time to make this book a priority. And I'm glad that I did - The Hollow City lived up to my expectations, bending my perception of reality to the point where I could never be sure of what was real and what was a hallucination.

The story follows Michael Shipman, a man with a history of mental health issues who was found huddling under a bridge. His delusions have progressed past what is manageable and his psychiatrist has not choice but to upgrade his condition from anxiety to schizophrenia and put him in the care of the local mental hospital. To top it all off, there is a serial killer on the loose and all the victims are connected to Michael in some way, shape or form. Not a good day for Michael. The problem for Michael is that while many of the monsters he sees are just a symptom of his condition, some of the monsters he sees are real, and they have a plan.

This is a pretty cool story, a reasonably simple story, but one that relies on the unreliability of the main character to add in the layers of complexity. The plot is not the driver in this story, sitting itself firmly in backseat while the focus is put on Michael and his struggle to determine what is real and what isn't. There is a really cool supernatural conspiracy going on in the background, but the problem is that Michael's struggles are so interesting for so much of the book that I found myself not really caring about the supernatural conspiracy.
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Format: Hardcover
Not being able to believe your own mind, that is the scariest thing.

I'm going to be honest and state that I am not completely certain that I have that quote 100% correct. But I believe that it is close. Dan told us that this statement from a friend that was reviewing an early draft of The Hollow City that gave him a direction to follow for this novel. And I am glad that he took the advice and ran with it.

What comes of that is the story of a young man named Michael Shipman who believes completely that he is being followed by Them, a sinister organization of faceless men that are hell-bent on tracking his every move through any and all devices that can transmit or receive an electromagnetic signal. This paranoia has led him to be unemployed and, ultimately, locked away in a mental institution after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. But what if some of his delusions are real? And if that is true, which parts are fantasy and which are real?

The most fascinating parts of this novel take place as Michael struggles with his delusions and makes some pretty amazing discoveries. This is definitely one of those books that you need to read without knowing too much about it, so I'm not going to spoil it for anyone. As for what kind of book this is, it has been very adeptly described as "a book version of A Beautiful Mind, minus all the mathematics and relationship issues. If that sounds like something that's up your alley, then you shouldn't miss this."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From my blog

Dan Wells is a master at characters, you are totally on their side when you truly should be scared of them. John from I am not a Serial Killer trilogy an all time favourite character of mine was trying not to become a serial killer and Michael Shipman, wow, a brilliant mind with a twist of crazy, trying to convince everyone including himself he wasn't crazy.

Michael was an unreliable character, this was what made the book, he was delusional with paranoia tendencies, scared off all electronics. You didn't know what was reality, is it just in his mind or is he trying to manipulate everyone. You also start to believe in the science fiction futuristic possibilities he discusses. I also enjoyed that there were numerous characters, all playing a huge part. We have the police detectives following the Red Line Killer story, Michael's Doctors, the reporter, his father and girlfriend. Different parts of everyone's story was totally unexpected, great twists thrown in.

I was enjoying The Hollow City almost as much as I am not a Serial Killer trilogy but once we got to the last 25%, the meaning of The Hollow City, I was hit with science fiction/dystopian style and it killed the story for me. I was MAD, why ooh why, sigh. I was deflated by the ending.

I am still a fan and will always recommend the trilogy but this one just didn't do it for me at the end. And I love psychological thrillers, which this is, Dan Wells totally messes with our mind. I recommend you still try it.

The question if Michael is truly insane or has been setup is a brilliant suspense journey.

I love Dan Wells mind, the way he thinks and puts those creative thoughts on paper, an author I will always try. I didn't read Partials, but it has been labeled Dystopian which I have tried a few times, it is just not for me.
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Format: Hardcover
You will not be able to put this book down! Michael is a man diagnosed with scizophrenia because he is seeing and hearing monsters and faceless men that others cannot...but is it possible these things are real? And if they are real, what does that mean for our world?

I loved this book from beginning to end. It is a facinating, white-knucked journey as you follow the viewpoint of an unreliable , yet likeable, narrator who cannot trust his own mind, nor his own senses.

And the best part of this book? The ending.

Buy this book today. You will not regret it!
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