Alex Reviews: The Hollow Places–books that make you go eeeEEEeeeEEEeeEeEeEEE

The cover of T. Kingfisher's new book, The Hollow Places. The title is imposed on a misty gray background with an uprooted tree hovering in the mists

“Pray They Are Hungry” is a line that ends up setting a lot of tone in The Hollow Places. There’s so much worse things than being eaten.

The next horror novel from T. Kingfisher (author of The Twisted Ones), I had inaccurate expectations and I was fine once I rid myself of them. I somehow had the notion that this would be another Twisted Ones or a story set in the same world. It’s not, it’s very much its own thing and hits its own flavor in the horror. It’s pretty explicitly based on The Willows from Algernon Blackwood, just as The Twisted Ones was based on The White People from Arthur Machen. It’s spookception all through here.

The Twisted Ones played the slow game, building the tension and creepy and letting it ebb with the plot’s incidental visits to a normal small town and normal life. The Hollow Places gets you to the “weird” part sooner, and keeps you there longer–and then the horror starts.

I was reading it and thinking ‘this is weird but isn’t that spooky’ and then I found out it’s not scary because it’s not meant to be scary and hoo boy Kingfisher knows exactly what she’s doing when she wants to scare you. She hits you with a busload of scary at once, and I now have issues with the word ‘unravelling’.

Once the The Hollow Places ramps up, you’re unsure what’s going on and all your hypotheses are too horrible to contemplate for long. It’s a good book at making, to paraphrase T. Kingfisher from another work, ‘normal’ feel like a thin skin over an abyss. If you’re looking for an October spooky read, you can’t go far wrong with this one.

Where to get it

You can find The Hollow Places in our store or, if you’re unable to pass through the august doors of the Haunted Book Shop because of time or distance or because I renewed the wards and bindings last week in preparation for Halloween, you can get it at our Bookshop website. It’ll be mailed from our distributor, but we’ll still make a commission on the sale.

The Hollow Places

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