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Dark Hollow Paperback – June 4, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
After two miscarriages, writer Adam Senft's marriage is on the rocks, and his only satisfaction comes from his bond with his dog, Big Steve. One day, on a walk through local woods rumored to be haunted, man and dog come across a strange sight: a woman performing fellatio on a statue of a satyr—which comes to life and sees them. Soon, all the women in town begin disappearing, summoned to the woods by the satyr's hypnotic piping. When Adam gathers the menfolk to hunt down the satyr and retrieve the women, what they uncover is an unholy evil bent on protecting itself and spreading its seed. Keene displays a fluid command of mythology and has a vivid take on contemporary magic. The conjuring of a blue-collar rural America, one riven with legends and dark crannies, is also superb. The latest from Keene (Dead Sea) grabs the reader immediately and doesn't let go. (Feb.)
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Yet, there are some aspects of Keene that set him apart from other writers in the modern horror/splatterpunk field.
First, his characters are very real. In Dark Hollow, Adam and Tara Senft have suffered a miscarriage and Keene is spot on as he relates the struggles the couple endure. Either he has experienced the tragedy of a miscarriage himself or has walked with a friend or family member who had the experience. Keene's tales are full of such wounded people even before the more supernatural events of the story unfold. All of his characters have a backstory and are not just two-dimensional mannikins for the monsters to munch on.
Secondly, Keene centers most of his stories about a mythos that he calls the Labyrinth. It is well developed and I find it even more fascinating than Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The worldbuilding is excellent and it ties his stories together in unique manner this reviewer finds creative and enjoyable.
For this reviewer, I also delight in Keene's use of south-central Pennsylvania as a backdrop. Living in the same area, though the site of LeHorn's Hollow is fiction, the rest of the areas are not and the use of actual towns and cities and locations add a realism to the story that other readers may not be able to share.
My only complaint is the Deadite Press release of Dark Hollow does have some minimal typos that distracts the reader out of the story. Nothing major, but it can be a distraction.
So why just three stars? Let me make it clear. I bought the paperback to be entertained for a few hours with a good Brian Keene story. The novel did just that and I did not feel at the end of the book that my time was wasted. It did not change my life. It did not make me reevaluate my worldview. It achieved exactly what I wanted. It entertained me. If you can read modern horror with its graphic prose and plotline, it will most likely entertain you as well.
I am looking forward to the sequel, Ghost Walk.
Short Summary: Adam Senft is a mystery writer who lives with his wife Tara and their dog "Big Steve" in a nice house in a quaint town, bordering an ancient mysterious wood. One day while walking Big Steve though the woods, Adam and Big Steve come across one of their female neighbors performing questionable acts on a statue... or at least it looked like a statue until it turned its head and stared at Adam. Suddenly the women in town are disappearing and the men are turning up headless... Adam and his neighbors believe it has to do with something that happened many years ago at the LeHorn farm... in the center of the dark and sinister woods.
My favorite character by far is Big Steve (yes, he's the dog) who at times seems to be the most human of characters, and unlike most stories that include a dog, Big Steve is always there, being a good boy. The characters in this book are very real, flawed, scarred, and honest. I have always like that about Keene, his people are believable. This book grabs you right from the beginning and it's very hard to put down. At just over 300 pages you can feasibly read it in a day. I stayed up way later than I had intended to finish this book. And the ending is typical of Keene, no the world doesn't come crashing to the end, but there is that sense of apathetic loss that even his "happy ending" books leave you with. I wondered if Keene would have the courage to go where this book needed to go, and he did. There was quite a bit of sex and gore (the gore comes in mostly at the end) though not as much as a Laymon or Lee novel.
Now don't get me wrong, this is no work of literary genius... what it is however, is a fun, fast paced read with a single story line (unlike many of his other works) that the reader can't turn their eyes from. This is one of the few horror novels I've read in a while that makes you actually care about most of the characters, you become involved in their lives, and their routine and truly worry about them... particularly if you have read other Keene novels and know that there is a very high chance that most of them won't make it through the book alive. I highly recommend this book to Keene fans, it is my favorite of his works so far, and I feel that this book is the type of read that fans of old school Steven King would really enjoy.
Adam is an author. He lives with his wife Tara, and there dog Big Steve. Something happens with Tara which causes marriage issues. Adam and Big Steve go for a walk and end up seeing something that comes to there town and wants to take the women.
This is a page turner, plain and simple. There wasn't one part of this book that was boring. Adam and his neighbors are all likeable characters. My favorite being Big Steve. The author had no trouble putting the reading into the book. You actually feel like you are living it with Adam. My only complaint is why did Big Steve have to die? Always kills me when the faithful dog has to die saving his master.
If you want to read a good spooky book, this is the one. It's not going to give me nightmares or anything and the gore level was perfect. Like all good scary books dealing with the supernatural, there is plenty of edge of the seat thrills and sex.