Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Brian Keene has a knack for telling a diverse array of stories from a wide variety of horror subgenres. While he is best known for his works involving zombies, such as The Rising and Dead Sea. He has also delved heavily into coming of age tales, cosmic horror, and splatterpunk. Dark Hollow represents the author’s first foray into erotic horror.
The novel follows mystery writer Adam Senft, who lives in a small Pennsylvanian community near LeHorn’s Hollow. The hollow is supposed to be cursed. Years ago, the man for whom the hollow was named murdered his wife and was never seen from again. Nowadays, the townsfolk stay clear of it. Those that venture into the woods have a habit of going missing. Adam believes it to be nothing more than local superstition, until one day while walking his dog he stumbles across a woman giving fellatio to a satyr.
Spring is coming. Love is in air, carried on the wind by the Pipes of Pan. The beast seeks to breed with the town’s women, as a means to bring its unholy progeny into this world. It is up to Adam and his neighbors to stop it. To do so, they must solve the mystery and bring an end to the curse that has plagued LeHorn’s Hollow for decades.
In typical Keene fashion, Dark Hollow moves at a fast pace. It is clearly written and accessible. The sexual content is used to shock and disturb the reader. However, it falls well short of the gratuitous levels described by other authors, such as Poppy Z. Brite and Edward Lee. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows for a much broader audience appeal.
Is it for everyone? No. Nor is it Keene’s strongest work. There are several questionable choices made by the characters, possible plot holes, and a villain that isn’t particularly scary. This said, it has one of the best endings imaginable and the relationships between the neighbors are incredibly believable. It is hard to imagine that there is not a lot of crossover between Keene’s own life and the life of Adam Senft. More importantly, Dark Hollow is entertaining. So if you like a bit of sexual themed horror, pick it up.