ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: The Hollow City

Updated on October 17, 2012

 

I've sung the praises of Dan Wells before when I reviewed his John Cleaver books. Having finished his debut trilogy, I was excited to pick up his newest book, The Hollow City. His other books have been young adult and I was interested to see how his tone changed between the youth market and the adult.

The Hollow City is the story of Michael Shipman, a paranoid schizophrenic who has lost two weeks of memory and is now locked up in a mental hospital. Michael sufferes from hallucinations; Faceless Men, giant maggots and blinking lights haunt him. Not only that, but his paranoia causes him to fear all electronics and strangers and he's convinced that there's a conspiracy of men after him.

With all of that going on, Michael soon learns that he's being investigated by the FBI in regards to a local murderer known as the Red Line Killer. As the evidence mounts up against Michael, even he starts to doubt his own innocence. But what throws him off guard is learning that some of his delusions, the monsters he sees, might be real.

Wells is great at creating likable characters through his first person narrative, especially anti-heroes. But, even though Michael is likable as the point-of-view character, he's an unreliable narrator. His delusions keep us from trusting his story and there are moments where it's obvious that Micahel is falling to his schizophrenia.

Michael is also surrounded by a cast of characters trying to help him deal with his symptoms. Michael has his father, who wants nothing to do with his son or his issues. There's Lucy, his girlfriend, the only one who believes him. There are also two psychologist trying to cure him; Dr.Vanek and Dr. Little. Vanek has been Michael's long time doctor who might qualify as the worst shrink in the practice with his disregard to his patient's feelings. Dr. Little is Michael's newest psychologist in the mental institute, a smiling and pill prescribing man who doesn't believe a word Michael says in regards to what's real and what's not.

Some of these characters are great, others are a bit one dimensional. Vanek is likable in his brash, unforgiving ways and he's been with Michael for almost his whole life. Lucy, on the other hand, never becomes a memorable person. But, I tried to keep a distance from all the people Michael came across, believing everyone to be imaginary until proven real. Some of my suspisions were right, some wrong and some assumptions were blown right out of the water.

In the end, I was disappointed by the book. It took a while to get going, with the big revelations and twists not coming until the second half of the book. I felt like I was waiting for the book to get going and become a surreal horror or thriller. Instead, we get a somewhat tense "day in the life" of Michael at the hospital. When the pace does pick up, the questionable nature of reality does hit but it seems to come too late.

The direction Wells takes the mystery seems like an abrubt change from the main story and it's hard to follow along with his lead. The rest of the book makes sense with the surprise but it seems like something more out of The Twilight Zone than the book Wells is writting.

I don't want to make this book sound like it shouldn't be read, because I enjoyed myself while reading it. There are some authentically erie moments. The identity of the Hollow City, the image of the Faceless Men and the emptiness of Michael's life all have a creepy feel that reeks of late October.

But Wells is still growing as an author and you can feel him testing the waters for new takes on horror. He's still an excellent writer, with a great sense of dialog and his ideas are far beyond conventional. The Hollow City is a good book, but it has its flaws and could use a better pace. Check it out if you enjoy psychological thrillers, or check out Wells' serial killer trilogy if you'd prefer more horror.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)