I don’t care for most thrillers because within the genre, plot tends to drive characterization, and I prefer the reverse. I read books to find characters who seem as real as anyone I might see in real life. Fast-paced thrillers often seem one or two-dimensional to me. In HOLLOW MAN, however, Paul Hollis manages to create not just one, but several real people. The characters in this character-driven thriller are as real, as compelling, as three-dimensional as any I’ve come across in real life. And this is the mark of a great book.
As an AIA reviewer, I have the privilege and sometimes the curse of reading a lot of Indie books. As an author and a lifelong reader, I also read many traditionally-published books. Without reservation or hesitation, I would argue that HOLLOW MAN is one of the best, if not the best, novel I’ve come across in 2013. It is a benchmark of thrillers, but it’s also a new sort of thriller: tight but literate, lush but lucid, fast-paced but often pausing to drink in the gorgeous European scenery.
Hollis is a very visual writer. I could see the countryside unfurling from the train window. I could picture the blood spurting from one of the many villain’s carotid arteries. I could picture the ghost, a murdered little girl, translucent, yet lucent (for real, Hollis uses this word), forlornly gazing into a camera, or into the main character’s eyes.
Speaking of cameras, HOLLOW MAN belongs on the big screen. I’m hoping that Hollis ships this novel to either Indie filmmakers or perhaps to the titans in Hollywood. I predict that if this is adapted for film, it will be a mega hit.
What audience will enjoy HOLLOW MAN? Fans of literary fiction will appreciate the craftsmanship. Male readers will love the pacing, the action, and the likable lead. History buffs will appreciate the early 1970’s time period, which almost amounts to a separate character in itself. Former intelligence officers will likely chuckle about the author’s take on the spy world. Anyone with a pulse will enjoy reading HOLLOW MAN.
I highly recommend this book. I received a free copy of HOLLOW MAN from the author in exchange for an honest review.