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The Hollower (The Hollower Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
As for the story, it was so engrossing and suspenseful that I hated to put the book down that first night, except for the scene in the police station when DeMarco is looking at the computer screen. I actually tossed the book to the side because it "got" me. This has only happened a handful of times during all of my reading experiences, with Stephen King's IT and Preston and Child's THUNDERHEAD, for example.
I'm already reading her follow up FOUND YOU.
Everyone looks to Dave for answers, and yet his own insecurities keep him trapped in his own pattern of second guessing himself. But then this is consistent for most everyone under the influence of the Hollower. It is they who generate their own pains and fears, and the Hollower amplifies their feelings. So this theme of uncertainty is a common trait that the group shares, and in many ways, it is what has defined them for their entire lives. Long before the Hollower arrived, the characters were already haunted people, and that's partly what makes the monster that much more effective.
The pace of the book is quick, and the balance between action and character development is good. I only felt minor disappointment for the low body count, but that's just me being a cynic. There's certainly no shortage of grisly visuals, and the descriptions of the Hollower's attacks are always vivid and brutal. The book is a good read, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a new horror story with a wicked monster. From now on, Mary SanGiovanni can count me among her fans.
The story had sort of a Twilight Zone feel to it, which I enjoy very much. The ending reminded me of either a Clive Barker or Stephen King novel; not one in particular, but the action, the description, was (as Barker and King) extremely intense and visual.
My only gripe is that, though it had suspense and action throughout, it didn't really take off "full speed" until about halfway through the book. From there on, it was hard to put down.
SanGiovanni is a ripe talent in the writing world. Am so looking forward to reading more from here. Can't wait for her next book to come out!!
The Hollower appears full blown within the first few pages of the story, shortly after pushing one of the people it's stalking to suicide. It's a dark, mysterious, faceless figure, dressed in a black trench coat, black suit and shoes, and a hat like "Humphrey Bogart's", presumably a fedora. The creature is currently torturing Erik, a recovering drug addict, one of several people in the same town that the dark man has focused his attention on. Erik later joins with the members of that group to confront the Hollower, leading to a climactic battle inside what has now become a haunted house.
Reflecting on the basic plot of this book, you'll likely find yourself thinking about horror movie icon Freddy Krueger, but, if you think about it a little more, you might see some similarities to Bram Stoker's Dracula, wherein a force of nature which threatens the populace is eventually put down by a band of stalwart individuals after a protracted game of cat and mouse between good and evil. That comparison proves apt, because it explains both the positives and negatives of this book. Getting the negative out of the way first, there's not much of a buildup here, as the Hollower is dropped into the action with no introduction--in other words, no equivalent of Harker's trip to the Castle, no visit from Dracula's brides, no ship pulling into London harbor sans living crew, very little besides one character's suicide (ironically, he turns out to be the Van Helsing of SanGiovanni's group) to create a sense of foreboding, or menace, or impending doom. This lack of buildup and insight into the creature becomes especially jolting deep into the book, when readers suddenly find themselves in the Hollower's head--either keep his thoughts out of the book all together, as Stoker did with his villain, or introduce them earlier, so we get a glimpse about what this gent is up to, and why he's stalking these folks.
That aside, once SanGiovanni drops you into her reality, she never relinquishes her iron grip on your attention--there are some interesting set pieces in the novel which even a more experienced writer would envy. The individual evolution of her characters, and their group dynamic as they evolve from victims to hunters is also convincingly rendered, as is their easy comradeship (here, the book stays true to its Dracula roots, but becomes more reminiscent of more modern novels--King's IT and Desperation spring readily to mind, as does Straub's Ghost Story). SanGiovanni brings her novel to a satisfying conclusion, but also closes with a note of uncertainty, however, clearly paving the way for sequels.
The weaknesses in San Giovanni's story can be attributed to the fact that is a debut novel, and that she is still learning her craft; weighing in at approximately 80,000 words, it could have certainly benefited from some back-story, but that's a minor point. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with in the future.