Name: The Hollows
Author: Mark Edwards
Number of Pages: 335 (Kindle)
Published: July 8th 2021 by Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
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.
A holiday in a cabin in the woods, what could possibly go wrong?! Plenty, as it turns out, and that made The Hollows an engrossing and unputdownable read.
Tom and Frankie book a holiday at Hollow Falls resort. It sounds idyllic, a new resort, cabins surrounded by woodland and a lake, and no end of things to do.
What this father and daughter pair didn’t realise was that this site, now so charming was, 20 years previously, the site of an unsolved double murder. Rumours and myths have grown surrounding what happened 20 years ago and who was responsible. Added to this the main suspect was never caught. Unsettling news, and then strange things begin to happen and suddenly the perfect getaway becomes something more sinister.
I really enjoyed The Hollows. It was one of those books I was reluctant to put down, always wanting to find time for one more chapter. The viewpoints switch mostly between fourteen year old Frankie and her father Tom, and the chapters were fairly short, so I felt compelled to read on, especially as the peril and threat became more apparent.
The setting is great, by turns perfect then vaguely ominous – the trees and woodland, so dense, so old, so much history, and the idea that the place itself can affect people. All this added atmosphere, and the way events from the past tie in with the present kept me reading. And there’s the town of Penance nearby, a place that seems a little strange in itself, with the eerie sound of wind chimes from some unknown location, the junkyard nearby, and some fairly unnerving inhabitants.
The air of tension and threat starts subtle and builds gradually, and is creepy and atmospheric rather than overly scary. It’s little things that at first would be easy to pass off as nothing, or coincidence, but as each of these things start mounting up, and the stories of days gone by are told, it becomes clear that there may be danger close by.
The characters are an interesting mix, from Tom and his daughter, to their neighbours at the resort, true crime podcasters Connie and David and their son Ryan, who becomes a friend to Frankie. Connie and David known all about what happened 20 years ago, and it’s left to them to tell Tom all about it, unable to believe he had no idea.
The staff at the resort range from friendly and helpful to slightly unsettling, as do the other people who appear throughout the story.
The Hollows reveals its secrets gradually, building up in an eerie atmospheric way until suddenly the danger is revealed and there’s a fast-paced race to get out of this idyllic holiday location alive. Entertaining and exciting, and one to read if you fancy a slightly spooky thriller.