by Daniel Church
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Pub Date 08 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 08 Nov 2022
Folk horror meets ancient gods in a remote snowbound Peak District town where several murders take place…
In a lonely village in the Peak District, during the onset of a once-in-a-lifetime snow storm, Constable Ellie Cheetham finds a body. The man, a local ne'er-do-well, appears to have died in a tragic accident: he drank too much and froze to death.
But the facts don't add up: the dead man is clutching a knife in one hand, and there's evidence he was hiding from someone. Someone who watched him die. Stranger still, an odd mark has been drawn onto a stone beside his body.
The next victims are two families on the outskirts of town. As the storm rises and the body count grows, Ellie realises she has a terrifying problem on her hands: someone – or some thing – is killing indiscriminately, attacking in the darkness and using the storm for cover.
The killer is circling ever closer to the village. The storm's getting worse... and the power's just gone out.
File Under: Folk Horror [ Small Town | Big Terror | Long Night | A Few Good Women ]
"Proof that folk horror can be not just sinister, but a white-knuckle ride of thrills." - F.G. Cottam, award-winning author of The House of Lost Souls
"Stormbound and suspenseful, The Hollows is a barnstorming rollercoaster of action and tension, set on home turf as if John Carpenter directed an episode of Happy Valley."
- Stephen Volk, author of The Dark Masters Trilogy and Under a Raven's Wing
"The Hollows combines human monstrousness and uncanny dread in a breathlessly suspenseful narrative. Startlingly violent, compellingly weird, it carries us through levels of fear to a climax of cosmic terror worthy of the classics." - Ramsey Campbell, multi-award winning author
"Daniel Church knocks it out of the park." - Tim Lebbon, author of The Last Storm
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 139 members
A truly creepy "creature feature" from Daniel Church - A small village cut off in winter where something evil lurks
The setting is descriptively chilling and the fear factor is high as an eclectic group of characters band together to survive the darkness.
The underlying tension stalks the reader throughout and it is both scary and entertaining.
Great writing and a modern take on classic horror, The Hollows is well worth a read if you are a fan of the genre. Great stuff.
What a phenomenal story. I've only read a handful of folk horror stories, but this one is by far my favorite. I initially felt overwhelmed by the length of the novel, but once I got about 15% through, I was sucked into the story. Looking back on it, I feel like the length and dialogue and character development was all very necessary. I loved the strong female characters. I loved how nasty and vile the Harper clan was; I think the author did such a great job with building every single character in this story. This was so intense; I had to take breaks because I was on the edge of my seat, and it made me anxious. It reminded me a lot of the folk horror I read from Adam Neville and "The Watchers" by A.M. Shine. I loved the old religious themes and history that ran through out the story and all the folklore of the town. This was an entertaining, bloody, wild ride and I loved it. I can't wait to purchase a physical copy in November!
I requested an arc of The Hollows due to the gorgeous cover which already had me feeling isolated in a snow storm which is one of my favorite types of books to read.
This story is set in a remote snowy town where multiple murders occur during a once-in-a-lifetime storm… Someone is found dead but the facts don't add up as numerous off circumstances surround their death.
The next victims are two families from the outskirts of town. As the storm rises and the body count grows, and it becomes clear that the killer is using this storm to cover their tracks. If that doesn't sound scary enough, it gets worse and worse.
This book had very Stephen King "Storm of the Century" vibes and I was totally here for it as that is my favorite cozy horror/winter movie of all time. I will be re-reading this book when it starts to get cold again. I recommend this to literally anyone. 5/5 stars!
The Hollows by Daniel Church reminded me of a movie that could have been featured on Dialing for Dollars show (yes, this ages me!). The story is creepy and the author sets the stage for a spooky read and setting.
I liked the author's writing style and how he gave each character their faults and "demons" they had to work through.
I would recommend this book.
#TheHollows #NetGalley @angryrobotbooks
This book combines all the elements of a great horror story you could want. Monsters, lovecraftian elder gods, a main protagonist that you want to see win, and a family of spectacularly creepy rednecks that are every bit as frightening as the monsters. And it all takes place in a remote village during a devastating snowstorm.
The author does a fantastic job of providing us with well developed characters and a horrifying mix of folk horror and cosmic atrocities that will leave your jaw hanging in gory amazement.
This book took me completely by surprise and I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did. The need to read one more chapter continued well into the night until I had finished it with an awesome and action packed conclusion. I highly recommend it!
This was amazing! From the blurb I was expecting a murder mystery in a village isolated by a snowstorm, and that would have been great. But this was so much more! I wasn't prepared for the horror elements, they added such a menacing, scary touch. The characters were all well-drawn and believable. Non-stop tension, I couldn't put this down. Brilliant!
Daniel Church is a new name in the horror scene and, with luck, it's going to be a big name. He certainly deserves it.
This book is a thrill ride of a horror novel. It starts with the local cop, Ellie, checking into the discovery of a frozen corpse on a hillside on the outskirts of her village.
The dead man is Tony Harper, a local drunk and troublemaker from a particularly nasty family of criminals, responsible for the majority of crime in the village.
What Ellie doesn't know is that this is just the first of many. As the winter storm moves in to cut the village off from civilisation, creatures are rising from the barrows beneath the hills to wreak havoc and pave the way for something else.
Church manages to keep the action moving at a cracking pace throughout, with minor pauses to allow the reader a welcome breath or two of relief, before the stakes are raised once more and the action begins again at an even more frenetic pace.
I could easily see this being adapted into one hell of a movie. It's got everything you need, a cut off location under siege, human villains who are as nasty as the monsters, genuinely scary creatures ripping the townsfolk to shreds, enough tension to build a dozen suspension bridges and enough action to keep the most jaded fan excited.
It's all written in an easy, unpretentious style. The lead characters are well drawn, even if some of the supporting cast come across as rough sketches. There were a couple of times when I wondered about the decisions being made, but it's human nature not to get everything right first time, and this book is about a high pressure situation. Mistakes will be made.
This is high octane entertainment with a walloping side order of gruesome nastiness and sheer terror.
When it comes out in the shops, you need to buy it to experience it for yourself.
Where to begin…. Incredible characters, terrifying creatures, giant sleeping gods under the earth…. Add in winter snows, a murderous outcast family and you’ve got a story that can’t be put down.
I was so sad when I finally got to the end!! Can there be a prequel or sequel with the old gods?? Pleassseee!!
Seriously one of the best books I’ve read this year!! The only thing I would add would be a little map of the area in the beginning of the book. I just had a hard time picturing/referencing where all these townsites/places where in reference to each other.
Thank you to NetGalley, Daniel Church, and Angry Robot for a copy!!
Ps just loved loved loved the character of Ellie and that she winds up with a pup of her own 💕
Many thanks to Angry Robot, the author, and NetGalley for my copy of the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is about as Northern as they come, and good grief I love that. I've recommended this to one of my American friends in the full understanding that she won't have a clue as to what the characters are talking about half the time, and I'm OK with that.
In the dead of winter up in the Peak District, the sleepy little town of Barsall learns that one of the residents from Barrowman Farm has frozen to death just outside the border of his home. Found by a young couple while out on a walk, constable Ellie Cheetham and GP Milly Emmanuel assess the scene only to find strange markings beside the body - markings that end up spelling disaster for the entire village and beyond.
Let's start with the characters for a change, shall we? I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I'm always wary when a man writes lead female characters. I wish that weren't the case - in reality, most of my closest friends are men, in fact - but generally when I crack open a book by a man, he will invariably be gross about the women he writes at some point.
Ladies, I am extremely happy to report that not only does Daniel Church not do this, he EXCELS in his characters. Every single character is fleshed out and interesting in their own right; Church takes the time to add in little things that make characters human, even if they aren't plot-significant characters: mannerisms, personalities, the way they smile, non-verbal reactions, etc. He's really, really good at it. Every major and minor character has their own voice, and with each POV change (for while Ellie is our main girl, many others get a chance in the spotlight too) the voice changes perceptably too.
Ellie has become one of my all time favourite characters. She's complex, far from perfect, and is just so... human. She's a police officer who takes her job of protecting people seriously, but she fantasises about ending the lives of the people who hurt her and vulnerable innocents (namely Keira). She drinks too much to blot out the ongoing pain caused by the sudden death of her child some years ago. She loves her friends, but refuses to entertain the thought of a romantic relationship again. She is kind to the abused teenager Jess when others are not. She cries over the death of her friend's dogs and even buries them for her, and she adopts the survivor. She's terrified of death, yet she also embraces the possibility of it when it counts.
I just... really enjoyed reading about her.
Liz Harper, the matriarch of Barrowman House and the clan, was amazing as well. Terrifying and cruel, yet you could see how and why she was the way she was. She's a victim of abuse herself from past generations, and instead of breaking the cycle and looking after her children as we know is best, she continues the abuse, taking out the worst of it on poor teen mum Jess, a victim of drug r*pe.
Jess. Wow, Jess. Her growth was beautifully written, and her eventual determination to end the generations of misery for the sake of her little boy was so inspiring. I was rooting for her SO hard, her and little baby Joel.
Writing-wise, Church writes well. Nothing fancy, no purple prose or anything poetic, but his writing isn't dry or boring, either. It draws you in quickly, and while I do think that the middle of the book could have been condensed some, it wasn't a slog to read. I'm actually really surprised this is his debut novel.
The creepy creatures unsettled me from the off, and I'm really glad that they were revealed so early rather than going with the typical choice of not knowing what the monsters look like until the end of the book. This was refreshing and, as we find out later, plot-necessary.
I was going to give this book 5/5 stars right until around 75% of the way through, roughly. The ending reveal was brilliant and exactly the kind of thing I love (self-proclaimed Cthulhu-worshiper and lover of all things Elder God-related here), and because of that I was expecting--and left wanting--so much more than I got. I think it's a me problem. While that ending was indeed chilling and foreboding, the desolation-loving weirdo in me wanted them to Wake Up. You know. No spoilers here, but... yeah.
I was also a little uncomfortable with the huge amount of Christianity in this book, but I think it's because I wasn't expecting it. I know little secluded villages are more likely to cling to their faith, but as an atheist born and raised it always makes me uncomfortable having so much religion shoved at me like that. I very much enjoy old religions from a historical and social point of view though, so the inclusion of old Pagan and Norse rituals was interesting, but I dunno. Having Milly the GP be so incredibly religious didn't seem very realistic either; I work with doctors for a living, and speaking from experience, they generally don't believe in God.
All in all I really liked The Hollows, and I'm so grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read it ahead of publication. I've put in my pre-order for the book now and look forward to seeing it in my bookcase in November!
I keep reading the word creepy mentioned when this book comes up and I would disagree, Its the next level up from creepy!! the author wraps the reader in a blanket of claustrophobia and angst and just keeps you dangling there till the end
This one has all my favourite elements, legends of rural folk horror passed down the ages, the threat of Lovecraftian Old Gods, and unstoppable marauding inhuman monsters. Couple that with some well-drawn, believable and sympathetic characters, a sharp sense of location and a knack fro conveying atmosphere and you’ve got a really strong horror novel, the best I’ve read since Will McLean’s Apparition Phase.
Wow, I’m struggling to put into words just how much I enjoyed this novel. The sheer terror induced anxiety I experienced at disturbingly regular intervals throughout the entire novel caused me to at once both want to put the book down for a break but also continue through, white knuckled, because I so desperately wanted to know what was around the next corner of this exhilarating, terrifying, brilliantly executed ride. There are not many books that I can’t fault, particularly those of this genre and this would be one of them. Finally, a breath of fresh air in the often tired and repetitive world of horror.
A sleepy village turns into a nightmare full of monsters of the science fiction kind along with monsters of the human kind in the form of an evil family ruled over by a cold, selfish matriarch. Plenty of action, suspense and thrills with in your face horror. There are the usual heroes who you can pick out from the start along with unexpected heroes who you'll find yourself cheering for just as much.
Gritty, violent and terrifying balanced with displays of tenderness, bravery and sacrifice.
At roughly 400 pages I thought it might fall into the trap of repetition but this didn't happen. Each new danger or scenario had its own individual resolution. Perhaps the last 50 or so pages could be condensed, but not by a huge amount.
I liked how the author gave little hints or glimpses of where parts of the story might be heading. It piqued my curiosity and rounded out the novel so that it was more than a series of scary scenes.
I will be recommending this to horror readers, sci fi fans and anyone who loves an action packed thriller.
I received this arc from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
The Hollows by Daniel Church is best described as folk horror. It's a chilling tale that takes place in England's Peak District. A huge winter storm has moved in right at Winter's Solstice and the small village of Barsall is under siege. Unable to raise contact with neighboring villages - or anyone from the outside world for that matter - Constable Ellie Cheetham does what she can to protect the village. From what? I'll let you read the book to discover that!
I felt a strong attachment to Ellie. She was a great strong female lead. My connection with her character may have been the fact that she was written to be very human in spite of her strength. She wasn't overly bold or doing unbelievably heroic things. She had her own struggles and doubts. Her character grew a bit throughout the story, which I also found endearing.
I found this book full of suspense. I read a lot of it on lunch breaks at work. It wasn't easy to set it down and get back to work when my lunch time was over! Many scenes had my adrenaline up and gasping or talking to the characters. A few times my husband had to ask me, "the book?" to make sure there wasn't something wrong with me.
In closing, there was a lot more going on in the pages of The Hollows than the main storyline. There were themes of community, belonging, family, and faith in something bigger than ourselves. There was some harm to animals - fair trigger warning there for those who need it. I ended up giving this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. This was a very strong novel right out of the gates for Daniel Church and I look forward to seeing what else he writes in the future.
First off, thank you so much to #Netgalley, the publisher and especially the author for this ARC!
This book had amazing atmosphere, it’s perfect for the upcoming spooky/winter season! I loved the strong female lead, and there were so many parts of this book that had me turning lights on when I read. The way they found the body in the beginning of the book? Gave me heebie jeebies…. Fell from a ledge where they froze to death while holding a knife? I don’t want to spoil anything so all I’ll say is I went and ordered a hard copy for my own collection this was so good…. Do yourself a favor and read it smack dab in the middle of December!
Daniel Church's "The Hollows" is fantastic, creepy and harrowing. The author combines the darkness of the human psyche, folk horror, and survival with unforgiving conditions, making this read not only scary but thrilling. This book has a gradual build-up with extensive character development. I appreciated the strength, resolve and intentions behind the strong female protagonists. There were numerous occasions when I had to take a break for I wasn't ready for the outcome. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and Daniel did a fantastic job creating an unsettling environment. The historic background added such a refreshing take on the narrative, and I loved it. I could never predict the haunting yet lingering ending—a 5-star read. I would recommend this book if you love horror and folk-based stories.
Thank you, NetGalley and Angry Robot, for giving me this ARC. This honest review is left voluntarily.
The best horror novels draw you in slowly. They don’t start with unnatural, stalking creatures of the night who wear…is that human skin? They don’t allude to things that stir underground. No, instead…
Ellie Cheetham, still grieving a personal loss, has left London to become Constable in tiny Barsall, located in the Peak District of Northern England. Her friends are Milly, the village doctor and Vicar Madeleine. Life is simple until a body is discovered frozen to death. He’s holding a knife but there are no signs of a struggle. Before a storm sets in, Ellie goes to inform his family, the outlier Harpers. They seem to know something and, after Ellie is driven away, a daughter recites:
“Board your window, keep on the light,
When the Tatterskin walks at night”
Hush and be still, never make a cry,
And pray the Tatterskin passes by.”
What follows is an epic struggle between good and evil waged by the residents of Barsall over the next three days. Trapped by a major blizzard, they work together to save each other and to defeat the hideous Tatterskins. These strong characters and a well described location transport the reader to a world a terrifying place. The Hollows is transcendent horror fiction! 5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, Angry Robot and Daniel Church for this ARC.
Read this book during the day, when the sun is shining and there’s nary a cloud in the sky. Do not, I repeat, do not read this book late at night during a rain storm, like I did. You won’t want to turn off the lights!
I love folklore and THE HOLLOWS was packed with it. The vivid writing brought each scene alive, especially when the village’s foes were choosing their next victim. I could hear the sound of snow crunching beneath boots, glass shattering, and all the other horrible things that transpire throughout the chapters.
There are a bunch of strong and complex female characters, including the MC and one of the villains. Women are definitely running the show in this one. No complaints from me there :)
If you like folklore, strong female leads, things that go bump in the night, horror and a bit of gore, then you will love this book!
I received a free e-ARC of this book via @NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I requested this ARC on Netgalley and would like to thank them for their acceptance, it was done on the back of Tim Lebbon’s recommendation on Twitter. I really enjoyed this book. I had recently done a course on Folk horror with Alex Davis and this was on my mind as I read this novel. The setting was great and the creeping sense of dread was handled well. I didn’t want to put this down, buy really enjoyed picking it back up again.
It builds to a crescendo and I was firmly on side with the main characters. I would heartily recommend this to anyone who likes a good story, a good creeping horror and folk horror. 4/5 stars from me.
This was definitely Midsommar and The Witch meets The Thing... I was totally creeped out and couldn't read this at night. It's that good!
Well holy hell- this was a fun read! I’m a sucker for folk horror, creature features, and apocalypse vibes and this delivered all three of those.
This book starts with the discovery of a frozen body and swiftly delves into chaos as things go bump in the night. While this story is told primarily through our protagonist Ellie’s POV, we do experience other POVs as well. This is done REALLY well and I was impressed with how individual each POV felt. I never felt like it was the same POV with a different name slapped onto it.
While our snowy village is under siege from nameless creatures, the town also must deal with conflict from the Harper clan- a family full of criminals and the only villagers who know what these things are.
The Harper’s are a dangerous and violent bunch, with the exception of the youngest sibling Jess and her son. I was rooting for Jess the whole way through!
I think my one major complaint is that people don’t necessarily always stay dead in this book and while it sometimes is a good thing (and sometimes isn’t) it was used just one time too many for my tastes! It detracts from the story for me.
Overall- I really enjoyed this book.
The Hollows gave me one more reason to dislike the cold and snow, yet It was such a fun ride it feels worth it.
A small community in a remote location, further isolated by a snowstorm, dark roads, howling wind, and nothing to see but falling, swirling snow. This story began as crime fiction but soon transitioned into an action filled version of supernatural, folk horror made even more intense due to the relentless storm cutting the village off from escape. Darkness became one more enemy with the longest night of the year fast approaching. The claustrophobia and dread quickly ramped up to anxiety inducing levels.
The characters were well done, fully fleshed out, and with motivations and behavior that made sense for each character. Ellie was a strong, likeable female protagonist who I quickly came to care about and root for. The Harper clan was the stuff of nightmares and served as evidence that monsters can be human as well as inhuman.
The Hollows was one of the most intense folk horror tales I've ever read and will be a new addition to my winter horror shelf. It would be the perfect read for a cold, dark, winter evening, preferably with a flashlight on hand.
Thanks to Netgalley and Angry Robot Books for providing me a copy to read and review
I like horror, but I’m definitely not a horror purist or junkie. I enjoyed Church’s use of folklore to create a grounded horror story; this was probably my favorite portion of the book, and the scenes where folklore and religion drives the action are by far the strongest. Yet Church also gives our heroes a human element to work against; this is a clever way to give the story additional characterization and depth. I appreciate when there’s not just a monster to fight, but man as well. And setting the story in a remote town prevents the settings from getting too broad (and it helps that scenes indoors are quite memorable, so homes definitely don’t blend together). This is a very grounded story, even with its larger themes. The book is a bit slow to start, but the pacing needs time for the mystery and tension to build. My major critique is that occasionally characterization feels flat or perhaps a bit obvious. I often didn’t find myself surprised by characters, and suddenly-relevant information is introduced within the scene in which its put to use. However, I think that may be subjective; I’ve encountered quite a few readers who don’t like character background to be treated like Easter eggs you have to remember a hundred pages later.
All in all, The Hollows is a well-plotted horror story that fans of folklore and campfire tales might enjoy picking up this fall. Read it when there’s frost, or maybe even a snowstorm.
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication date: November 8, 2022
“The Hollows” by British writer, Daniel Church, has to be on your Halloween 2022 read-list! It has everything- from frozen dead bodies, to a “ride or die” family from the wrong side of the tracks, to really creepy crawlies that are beyond your wildest nightmares. Church’s plot had me thinking of Stephen King, and considering King is one of my favourites, this is definitely high praise!
A dead body is discovered in the snow, literally frozen stiff. When Constable Ellie Cheetham recognizes the body as member of the local “wrong side of the tracks” family, she thinks the hardest part of her day is going to be notifying his powerful and angry mother of the discovery. But Cheetham’s day is just getting started. As a winter storm rages through her town, more dead bodies are found- all with strange charcoal markings near their bodies. When Ellie finally understands what’s behind the killings, it’s so unbelievable she almost can’t accept it. Until the storm gets worse, the lights go out, and the whole town is under attack.
Church’s novel takes place over the course of a few days right before Christmas. In an isolated, lonely town, one would expect quiet as the residents prefer for a brutal winter storm and the upcoming holidays, but they are, indeed, faced with the very opposite. A gripping and chilling (yes, I went there) novel with a powerhouse plot, “The Hollows” literally gave me goosebumps.
The story is narrated by Ellie for the most part, although other townspeople start to share their stories as the plot unfolds. It is always very clear who is speaking and with a wide variety of likable characters, I was interested in each and every one.
Church weaves a horror tale like a true master, pulling in readers from the very first page with his lonely, barren setting and mysterious “Tatterskins” (“terrifying” being the only word I can use that describes these wretched non-human creatures) and the ending provided enough answers to satisfy my curiousity, but still left just enough to pick up a sequel, if Church is so inclined (PLEASE be so inclined!)
I love when I find new horror authors to discover, and I highly recommend taking a chance on Church, if you haven’t already!