Written by: Myra Gabor
The story opens with Simon driving a passenger through the woods to the sea. He tries to keep her calm by telling her they’re taking
a shortcut to the hospital as the young lady passenger has hurt her hand. Once they’re as close to the sea as he can manage in the car, he pulls her out. She fights him, but it’s no use. He’s stronger. He wrestles her to the cliff edge where he throws her over and into a wave that seems to rise to collect her.
You see, Simon is carrying on the family business, handed to him by his father. He needs to keep the Creature fed.
Simon drives home to a house that he shares with his sister. The sister, Sarah, wants to share his problems, while he feels that he can best protect her by sharing only the house, not what he does or how he feels. Then, the same night that he has killed the passenger, he feels the Creature inside him again. And now he knows that the Creature has decided that Sarah will be the next sacrifice.
She manages to escape, but the Creature has other beings under its control and that comes as a nasty surprise to Simon. Simon keeps the Creature out of his head by counting things. His OCD ritual is the only thing that seems to keep the Creature from knowing his inmost thoughts, the only barrier between them.
So, it starts with a kidnapping, then a murder, then a nick-of-time escape and a chase. So, why rate it only 4? There is a mild curiosity about what this Creature is and why it demands sacrifices. But ultimately, I didn’t care about the characters. They all reacted robotically to what others told them to do. Total acceptance of the demands placed upon them. We can picture them as they are physically described to us. We are inside their heads as we hear their thoughts. And yet, they were all depressingly acquiescent.
The author has tried to fit too many themes into one story. We have love, hate, fear of the unknown, fear of separation, loneliness and trying to connect to others, all wrapped up in a bubble of a science fiction Creature, which is trying to live by uncaringly destroying others. We are also introduced to too many people, which is supposed to move the story along, but doesn’t.
The book blurb says that it’s a story of “rescue, revenge and redemption”. So, are The Hollow Places those that are inside the people or those that are inside the Creature? At the end of the day we just don’t care enough about any of them to want to figure it out.
It’s well written, holds together grammatically, and has no typos, which raised the rating from a 3 to a 4.