Review: The Hollows by Mark Edwards


Rating: 9.5/10

Synopsis

From the bestselling author of The House Guest comes a chilling story set deep in the woods…

With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.

From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place—strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest—but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.

It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.

Review

WARNING…do not read this book if you are camping, or, considering camping soon.  You have been warned. 

“Don’t forget to leave a review on TripAdvisor!”

Tom, a failing music journalist travels to the US from England to spend some well-needed vacation time with his daughter, Frankie.  His relationship with her mother deteriorated, they went through a divorce and she moved to Albany with their daughter.  He only has one week a year with her and he books a vacation in Hollow Falls, a place with a history, a dark tourist hotspot, and an eventual new chapter in its horror story. 

Frankie and Tom have a strained relationship mainly due to the distance and her raging teenage hormones.  As the chapters fly by, their relationship gets closer right in front of the reader’s eye.  It’s normal, an everyday relationship that is held back by decisions made by adults that don’t know everything.  It’s not their usual holiday, but Tom thinks it’s worth a shot if only he did a quick google search before booking!  They don’t know Hollow Falls grisly history and they are about to have it smack bang in their faces!

Hopefully, this won’t be the last vacation they have together.

This book creeped me out.  The atmosphere was perfect.  Take a walk through the woods, expect to hear the ominous tone of windchimes, the ability to get lost at the drop of a hat, and mysterious creatures with the faces of a fox, Goat, and a Crow.  Oh, and why do things mysteriously disappear?  The chill was a permanent feature descending my spine.  A set of creepy twins, a ghost town by the name of Penance, and the suspense of what happening twenty years ago.

Hollow Falls was the scene of a brutal double murder twenty years ago.  Two lovers were killed in the act, shall we say.  The resort has attracted “dark tourists” and teamed with even creepier staff members, things are off from the get-go.  Mark Edwards has taken me back with a distinct nod to 80’s horror – it feels very Camp Crystal Lake.  He knows how to anchor the creepiness into a genuine horror story. 

Edwards also injects the potential disaster that social media presents in this story.  We have a scene where Frankie loses her phone and all data is wiped, her address noted, the school attended noted, everything…that aspect of the story is horrifying.  Just how easy it would be for someone to find you if they wanted to.  I flew through this story, it’s compulsive and it only takes Edwards a chapter or less to reel you in.  The unease is there from the start, the characters become darker, and in the end, are the shadows ever safe?

The Hollows is dark and intricately twisted…so hard to put down that I’m sure it almost needed prising out of my hands.  If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise…

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