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Horror Review – The Hollow Places

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)

Freelance graphic designer Kara and her husband have just split up, and Kara’s faced with moving back in with her parents. But her beloved Uncle Earl offers her a room in his place, which is also his labor of love: The Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities, and Taxidermy. The Wonder Museum, for short. Kara grew up helping Earl tend to the bizarre exhibits and sell T-shirts to the tourists.  While she doesn’t believe in all Earl’s eccentric theories, she’s got a fondness for the place. He calls her Carrot, very cute. So she moves in, and starts cataloguing all the oddities, and hanging out at the next door coffee shop.

When Uncle Earl has to go for a knee operation,  Kara says she’ll be fine on her own, no problem. But when she discovers someone has knocked a hole in the wall upstairs, she asks Simon the barista to help her fix it. It’s then they discover the hole leads somewhere really, really strange. And Kara, despite warnings from Simon, wants to explore. This is going to be a very bad idea.

Kara and Simon are great characters. I loved them both, even if Kara makes some incredibly dumb decisions.  Simon says a couple times that this is how people in horror movies get killed, but she just sails on, and he follows.  Simon’s eye thing is both creepy and funny, I loved it. Uncle Earl comes alive too and even Kara’s ex, whom we only meet over the phone, is solid. I could easily visualize the eerie willow world and its inhabitants.  And I absolutely loved the finale and what comes about with all the taxidermied critters.

This is a Lovecraftian horror novel, not a slasher kind of thing. Not creepy enough to keep me awake at night, but still plenty of tense moments and icky situations.  Excellent pacing, vivid imagery, and as I mentioned excellent characters.  T. Kingfisher (pen name for Ursula Vernon) is becoming my new favorite author – I’ve yet to read a book of hers I didn’t really like.






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