The Hollows by Daniel Church

Posted On 17 November 2022

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 4 responses

My Five Word TL:DR : Well, that got weird fast


If you’re thinking of reading the Hollows I would just say expect the unexpected.  To be honest, I don’t quite know what I was expecting when I picked this one up, I usually try to pick my books up knowing as little as possible and that was the case with this one – although I did expect something mysterious.   In a way this leaves me with a quandary when writing this review because I actually don’t want to give anything away.

So, a brief overview. The story starts with the local Constable, Ellie Cheetham, being called to the scene of a death where she finds a local man who appears to have suffered a tragic accident – although things don’t quite add up.  At this point the story had a rather typical police routine feel – although this is set to change dramatically.  Ellie has the unwelcome task to letting the family know, a task made so much worse because the family in question are troublesome to say the best and definitely dangerous. To make matters worse the small village of Barsall is experiencing the worst storm ever.  Snow is already mounting up and pretty soon the small village will be isolated.  And, well, trouble is on it’s way.  I won’t say more than that.

Without telling you anything specific this is a Lovecraftian or cosmic horror.  We have some incredibly creepy critters that seem to be so ancient that very little is known of them except that they’re only the opening gambit and much worse is yet to follow.

The setting really plays into the story.  This is a small village.  Everyone seems to be known to each other.  Petty resentments and gossip run deep and the local ‘bad family’ have caused enough upset amongst the locals to create very bad feeling.  There is definitely a line being drawn in the snow here and behind one line lies all the knowledge.  On top of this there’s the claustrophobic feel created by the isolation caused by the store.  Conditions are beyond dangerous.  Power is going out and contact with the wider outside world is virtually non existent.  Basically, even if help could be called in there’d be a struggle to get to Barsall – and help can’t be  called.  This disconnect also feeds into the story making the characters unsure if these strange events are isolated to them alone or more widespread in nature.  Also, lets not forget the freezing temperatures.

To the characters.  The main character is Ellie.  I liked her.  She was relatable.  She had doubts, she sometimes just wanted to lash out, she cared about her friends and also about the people in the village that were her responsibility.  She was frustrated and also scared but she took action when she needed to.  The baddies of the story – I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about them, their actions spiral out of control degenerating rapidly when they realise how bad the situation is for the villagers.  Years of resentment and prejudice have definitely worked their magic in that respect.  I mean, at the end of the day you’re not supposed to like them and the author does an excellent job of making them unsympathetic.  You’re meant to dislike them basically.

The writing is good, I think there was perhaps a little bit of repetition here or there but for me, once the action really got underway the pacing is really ramped up and I found myself gripped to the pages.

In terms of criticisms.  I think I would have liked to know a little bit more about exactly what we’re dealing with here and I felt that aspect was lacking.  But that’s just me really wanting all the information.  As it is, sometimes you have to just pick up a book and read it and not try to dig too deep.  Put bluntly this book brings to us something ancient and forgotten.

Overall, this was an unexpected horror that totally held my attention.  I found myself caring enough about a small group of these characters that I kept racing to the end where the author delivers not just a dramatic life or death situation with a small village of people trying desperately to stay alive but also some pretty freaky horror that was so unexpected that I may (or may not) have been reading with my jaw agapte.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5  stars.


4 Responses to “The Hollows by Daniel Church”

  1. Sheri Dye

    Great review! This sounds.. interesting. Like something by Dean Koontz.
    I’ll have to add it, thanks!

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The blend of Lovecraftian horror and the isolation caused by the storm sounds very promising, and the addition of small village dynamics will certainly turn this story into a compelling read.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Tammy

    I’m reading this right now and just got to the first “creature” scene. I’m really enjoying it, and I think including the Harper family is an interesting choice. I’m curious to see where that goes.

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I agree, I thought this was going to be a snowed in thriller but what I got was unexpected indeed. I’m in the middle of this too and it’s the perfect fun horror read to cozy up with.

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