A book review by Daniel R. RobichaudDark Hollow
by Context Horror GoH Brian Keene (Leisure Books, February 2008 release).
Though this story first appeared as the limited edition novel The Rutting Season
, first published in hardcover/trade paperback by Bloodletting Press, I haven't had the pleasure of reading it until this Leisure Books mass market paperback release.
While Brian Keene's reputation seems cemented in his wildly popular zombpocalypse novels (The Rising
, City of the Dead
, Dead Sea
), I enjoy his other works a more. Zombies are a wee bit tiring for me, and though Keene invigorates that subject (and subgenre) with verve and skill, I find the writing in works like Fear of Gravity
(an exceptional collection) and Ghoul
(novel) more to my liking.
Though I'll offer a more detailed review at www.HorrorReader.com
, here's my capsule review:
With Dark Hollow
, this reader found something of a familiar premise:
A small town (located in Pennsylvania), which is caught up in its populace's petty evils and desires, suddenly finds itself beset by a monstrous, supernatural presence. Author Adam Senft and his neighbors discover the nature of this evil and must unite if they hope to defeat it. Does that sound like Salem's Lot
to anyone else? Sure it does. As well as Bethany's Sin
by Robert McCammon and a host of other horror novels. The setup is familiar. The execution is not.
Keene's characters are his greatest strength; sure, the gruesome bits, the suspense, the plotting, and the action are well executed, but I really like his characters. They seem like folks I wouldn't mind hanging out with, which is good, since, in effect, that's exactly what I'm doing whenever I open the book. Beyond protagonist and narrator Adam Senft, there are several other imperfect, multi-dimensional personalities on display, but the stand out creation has to be Big Steve, the protagonist's loveable (if cowardly) dog.
Thematically, this novel is something of a bookend to the aforementioned Ghoul
, though with stronger female presences (which was my complaint about that previous work). Fans will spot plenty of references to Keene's other works, including his overarching mythos of The Labyrinth. Ultimately, these references are unnecessary for the enjoyment of the work, but Keene's variety of Constant Reader will certainly enjoy fitting this book into the patchwork puzzle of his oeuvre.
I, for one, cannot wait to see where all this Labyrinth stuff is leading ....
Labels: book review, brian keene