Cover Image: The Hollows

The Hollows

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Member Reviews

this book was okay. a great premise but the execetion was lacking a bit, and it was just way too lengthy for what it actually did. feeling conflicted about the entirety of this book.

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This atmospheric and tension-filled tale explores themes of folk horror, small-town terror, and the struggle of a few brave individuals to confront an unknown and deadly adversary in the midst of a relentless winter stor

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4.5 / 10 ✪

https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com/2023/12/10/the-hollows-by-daniel-church-review/

Now, I’m not a huge fan of horror, but I do appreciate a good atmospheric novel, or a horror/mystery build that just keeps getting weirder and weirder. The Hollows, however, spoiled the punchline about halfway through, trying for a white-knuckle ride through to the end that just never evolved.

Also, I think it was at about the halfway point that any attempt at realism went out the window.

The stereotypical small-towners all appear in this one. The natives, the locals; farmers and bumpkins, the one non-white family and the set of rich assholes; the expected cop and soldier that have retired to the countryside in search of peace—and of course, the racist, gun-toting, anti-government, inbred clan of Harpers at the town’s edge. Now, as small towns go, most will have one or two of these. Rural America is especially good at the gun-toting, anti-government types. But this English town has them ALL; and they all behave as expected. As characters go, the Hollows doesn’t deliver a great cast. None of them will challenge your expectations, and very few seem to have any real depth.

My real issue with the Hollows is how the big reveal came so early. With the atmosphere and tension out the window early doors, it was quite the slog to the finish line. There was only a single surprise the entire rest of the way, and it was a minor one that came at the very end. Sadly, this one was clearly not for me. A disappointment all around.

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The Hollows is a chilling (not just due to the blazing snow storm in the book) - horror thriller that reveals not only a deadly kind of monster creature, but all kinds of human monsters as well.
The story behind the story - the origin of the threat that finds and overruns the little town - was original and fascinating. Equally compelling was the cast of characters the author created - from Ellie Cheetham, the officer who investigates the mysterious cause for the appearing dead bodies, her friends and fellow citizens to the criminal family that lives outside of town and has an agenda of its own.
Though I found the plot a bit dragging at times (though there had to be those three encounters, the fighting scenes seemed too repetitive), I was glued to the pages when it came time to face the monstrosities in a final deadly showdown.

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With thanks to the author, publishers Angry Robot, and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

In the thick of a deadly snowstorm, the body is found of a man who seems to appears to have died in a tragic accident. However, he died holding a knife, apparently trying to defend himself, and what is the significance of the strange mark that has been drawn on a rock close to the body? When the body count starts to rise, each time with similar strange marks in the vicinity of the body, Constable Ellie Cheetham quickly realises that she has a deadly force to deal with.

I thoroughly enjoyed this modern take on the “small-town cut off from help and fighting a hidden terror” genre of horror, where the setting, a lonely Peak District village cut off from the outside by a snowstorm, so wonderfully and descriptively depicted by the author, is almost a character in the story in its own right.

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Church’s new novel is an interesting high bred novel that starts out like a mystery novel and then shifts gears to become a rip-roaring Pagan horror set against modern times.

The book starts out with a body being found and what starts out as a mystery of how the man died and why, it switches gears dealing with ancient beings who are set to fill an old prophecy to extinguish life as we know it. The action is fast and quick and takes enough sharp turns to keep the reader truly invested.

The characters are well drawn, and the secondary characters are three dimensional for the most part but with large cast, some of these sometimes get a bit sketchy but this does not take away from the over all thrill of this page turner.

The reasoning behind the horror it feels real keeping the reader fixated on what is going to happen next and although it feels like a book that will take some time to read, the reader will be so engrossed that they will surely finish this in quick time.

The only drawback I would give is that there is some repetition that probably should have been caught but this does not demote the book. I would highly suggest this book to all our listeners, and I can’t wait to see what Church will come out with next. Excellent. We have in fact, put this on our books to read recommendation list which is currently emailed to our 8.5mil subscribers.

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"The Hollows" by Daniel Church is a captivating and haunting novel that explores the intersection of magic, mystery, and human nature. The book follows the story of a small town in New England, where strange and inexplicable events are taking place.

Church's writing style is both evocative and eerie, with a keen sense of character and a richly imagined setting. The themes of grief, loss, and redemption are explored with depth and nuance, creating a story that is both emotionally resonant and intellectually engaging.

The characters in "The Hollows" are complex and multifaceted, with each one bringing their own unique perspective and motivation to the narrative. The town itself is a character in its own right, with a sense of history and mythology that adds depth and richness to the story.

Overall, "The Hollows" is a beautifully written and atmospheric novel that will appeal to fans of magical realism and literary fiction. Highly recommended.

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Really a terrific book. Dark, moody, atmospheric, and really the best by Church that I've ready so far.

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THE HOLLOWS was an unexpected folk horror for me. Although I had seen it advertised as such, I think THE HOLLOWS makes a place of its own within the genrye. I had no idea where the story was headed from beginning to end. It had some truly horrifying moments. There was some slow parts, but overall this was a solid horror story. Completely unique.

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I didn’t know much about this book or its author, but the premise seemed too good to pass up, so I had to dive in.

I love a good story about a small Hamlet in the middle of winter, cut off from the world by a snowstorm and unable to reach help. And that’s exactly where we start this book. And that’s before they find the body.

I like the ‘crime novel’ feel to the earlier chapters, and how seriously Ellie takes her job, despite first appearances of a standard, if not sad, man who’s simply frozen to death on his drunken walk home. When they find the strange symbol drawn into the rock where the man had sat before his frozen fall to the ground, things get darker, much faster.

The description of the creatures, the Tatterskins, is truly grotesque and chilling. Reading this book while it was snowing added a little bit of personal atmosphere, too. In fact, the first half of this book flew by in one sitting. The plot was interesting, and the characters were intriguing, if not a bit stereotypical.

There were few ‘on-screen’ deaths at the hands of the creatures, and I don’t know that I liked that touch. While gratuitous blood and gore aren’t necessary for a good story, it would have been interesting to see what exactly they do to their victims, or at least a piece of it. Instead, all of the gore and death in the book comes from the humans shooting at each other. So it’s not that blood and gore was something the author shied away from, just something that was kept a mystery for an unknown reason.

I would have liked more of Ellie’s backstory. It was touched upon a little bit, but never dived into. Though I’m not sure it was relevant, the spots where it was brought up made it feel like it should have been relevant. It was also brought up at strange times, like when a girl was found still alive, her boyfriend having recently been killed or taken by mysterious creatures. Ellie’s wandering mind was a bit distracting from the events at hand.

The actions scenes are good, if a little clinical. The description paints a very good image of the events happening physically, but takes a lot of the emotion out of things, leaving a technically well-written scene that’s devoid of emotion.

The book loses me a little in the second half. Without spoilers, a character who is VERY injured is suddenly capable of wearing a very heavy backpack and running through darkened tunnels underground. I understand the point was meant to be a ‘miracle’ but it did break my suspension of disbelief, landing more firmly in the ‘injury of convenience’ territory rather than achieving what I believe was intended.

There is a lot of talk of religion and faith, and it sort of lost me a little bit. The ‘trial of faith’ felt very heavy-handed, even when the character in question was religious. It felt more like a sermon to the reader rather than the character working her way through her own strife. Constricting some of that crisis would have lent itself to the action instead of bogging it down with pages of unnecessary talk of God and faith.

I devoured this entire book in three sittings, so it was definitely enjoyable, even if the ending was a little unbelievable. If you like crime-horror or horror that has a ‘cosmic’ vibe to it, this might be worth the read.

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This was really great! A rollercoaster that was weird and creepy and wonderful. I really enjoyed getting into this. My heart was racing as I read. Definitely the stuff of nightmares, but in a good way. Pick this up, you won’t regret it.

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Not normally one for scary books but this had me hooked!!!!! I don't know if I'll ever go to the Peak District or sleep without my light on again!!
The setting was absolutely perfect and as someone who loves the Peak District it didn't take much for me to feel like I was there right in the middle of the story.
Ellie is a disgruntled cop who apart from having a crime family to contend with very rarely sees much police action in Barsall except for the odd missing hiker. That is until horrible things start happening and the only evidence Ellie has to go on is mysterious markings left behind at the scenes. A book I could not put down even if I wanted too.
Thank you to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and Thank you to Daniel Church for a story that will probably keep me up at night

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A great read by this author. I definitely recommend checking this one out!
Thank you NetGalley for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Set in Peak District (An area I love to explore every chance I have) and the promise of darkness, winter storms plus an October release, just in time for Halloween ...I thought it was going to be just up my alley. But unfortunately the supernatural/horror element just didn't do it for me.

I really loved the start, the tension between Ellie and the Harper family. A "white trash" family, involved in local crime and always unpredictable & prone to violence on one side and a conflicted copper with lots of personal baggage. Bad versus good? Or a fight between complex characters with many facets? I would have loved for the story to stay at this level and explore more this dynamics, and fortunately we do see quite a lot of both Ellie and The Harpers. But as I've already said: the supernatural element put me right off. I don't know why, but I really struggle to stretch my imagination. If the Tatterskins originated in local folklore, I would love to read more about it as non-fiction, but as fiction ..nah..

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"Board your window, keep on your light, when Tatterskin walks at night."

Guess who's waking up to celebrate the winter solstice?

As murders and strange disappearances rock a tiny village, one police officer finds herself pitted against not only a truly terrifying, heavily-armed family of ne'er-do-wells, but an ancient evil bent on wiping mankind from the face of the earth.

Okay, that's a bit overly dramatic, I suppose, but, DAMN! This involving horror/thriller has everything, from strong female characters, to creepy creatures, and even a rare instance of a small group of survivors that actually works together instead of squabbling among themselves. I found this one to be enjoyable, immersive, and vastly entertaining.

"You'll see. You'll all see. They'll come for you tonight. All of you."

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First of all, I want to thank Daniel Church and his team for allowing me to read this book! It took awhile for me to start this book, just due to the holidays and daily life. Once I was able to start it, I had a hard time putting it down. Horror is one of my new favorite genres and this book just goes to show how much I love it. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more.

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Ice Cold Decimation

The normal problems of small town life soon become trivial as the people of Barsall Village find that they've become helpless prey. But, there's an underlying theme of satisfying redemption that balances the horror of Daniel Church's story.

The principal antagonists, the Harpers, are brutally menacing, but their mayhem pales in comparison to the ghastly supernatural elements only they seem to know about. When she began interacting with the family, I felt an instant connection with Constable Ellie Cheetham. Many of the other townspeople are also memorable.

With winter coming on, the dark, frigid landscape is doubly lonely and menacing, a force to be reckoned with on its own. The author uses the desolation and hardships of the weather and local geography to reinforce the town's final desperation as they fight for survival.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hollows and send a big thank you to author Daniel Church, Angry Robot, and NetGalley. My review is unencumbered by any obligation to them and I heartily recommend the book.

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I really wanted to enjoy this one, the premise sounded right up my alley, but I couldn't get into it. I only got 12% in and after the cop went to the dangerous people's house with no backup or anything I just couldn't anymore so I dnf-ed it.

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I need more of this...
I love creature horror and this was just perfect. Loved the well built characters, the creepy atmosphere, the lot.
I'm forever grateful for the arc!

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This is straight on folk/creature horror that starts out of the gate with solid action and only heats up along the way. A strange old family on a farm with a dark past. Sacrifice, pacts with things best left alone a storm that locks everyone on the mountain in, and anyone who could help out, all put sheriff Elli Cheetham and those she serves and protects in a danger none of them are ready to accept, let alone defend against.

One thing that struck me as a US reader is the similarities between the poor mountain people in thie story and our own Appalachian communities. If not for some of the language, or the fact I already knew this was set in the UK, I might have thought it was taking place in Tennessee. Crazy people, crazier monsters, and not much time to solve it before everyone dies.

A lot of fun and with perfectly believable characters. Good stuff.

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