It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard
about if none of this had happened. Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120. Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home
before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label
around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from
Hinton Hollow. Because something was coming.
Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the
history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its
residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their
insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence
suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.
Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.
Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the
things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not
alone. Evil had a plan.
Hinton Hollow was the novel that just kept on giving, its macabre, murderous, and dark subject matter pulled us in to a black hole that at times seemed never ending.
It made me think where and how Carver found his inspiration, what universe his brain flew to when he wrote his novels. If you thought his previous novels were bleak then Hinton Hollow was just as bleak, its narrator, Evil, a genius stroke that burrowed and wormed its way into the minds of the residents of Hinton Hollow.
Hinton Hollow itself, a model of respectability, its inhabitants all known to each other, their lives enmeshed until Carver threw in a human bomb, one that continued to let off timely explosions throughout the pages. Sargent Pace, no newcomer to Carver’s fiction, and to Hinton Hollow, was the man sent back to uncover the culprit of such hideous crimes.
Carver didn’t make it easy, as he gave us glimpses into Pace’s own past, his attempts to reconcile his own wrong doings neatly laid alongside Evil’s actions, actions that became more harrowing and distressing as the novel progressed.
I loved how Carver singled out the various residents of Hinton Hollow, how they all represented varying backgrounds and social dynamics. There were the married couples, trapped in the minutiae and often tedious life of raising children, the young couple embarking on their own wedding and new life, the widowed, the resident lothario, and my absolute favourite Mrs Beaumont. She was the matriarch of the town, revered, old, a woman who could be described as a busy body, with a sometimes unhealthy responsibility to protect the town and its residents.
Of course, Evil was the character of the novel, the little voice that pushed, that whispered to its victims, that drove the narrative, but in my opinion, it had another purpose. I very much thought it was also our social conscience, as it questioned how we viewed others, the jealousies that existed between perceived wealth or happiness. Most importantly it looked at motherhood, the choices we make, the way in which we raise our children, the knock on effect on those children as adults.
Carver brilliantly highlighted the Jekyll and Hyde features of human nature, good versus evil, the surprise that someone is just not who you thought they would be. Indeed, the outcome was a surprise, but on reflection made perfect sense, the ending shocking, disturbing.
Not for me you may think and yes it’s bleak, dark, violent and doesn’t hold back but please do not let that put you off. You cannot not read Hinton Hollow with out admiration for Carver, for his ability to think out of outside the box, to venture where other authors fear to go.
The narrative was exemplary, words used sparsely, sentences short and snappy instilling tension, and fear. But most of all it was crime at its best and for me Carver can do no wrong.
I would like to thank Orenda for a copy of Hinton Hollow to read and review and to Anne Cater for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
About the author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series.
He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven,
when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby
contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he
set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and
nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans
was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number
one on the ebook charts.