Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THE HOLLOW MAN - Oliver Harris

First line: "Hamstead's wealth lay unconscious along the edge of the Heath, Mercedes and SUVs frosted beneath plane trees, Victorian terraces unlit."

Nick Belsey is a detective on the brink of losing his job. His inability to control his addictions has overshadowed his skills as a detective and made him some high-ranking enemies. He's penniless and homeless when he's called in on a missing person's report in the elite Bishops Avenue section of London. Alexei Devereux is the wealthy recluse Belsey is called in to investigate; he's left a suicide note but no sign of his body. The wheels in Belsey's devious head start turning as he sees a way to escape his present dead-end situation; all he has to do is steal Devereux's identity long enough to steal his money and then he can flee London forever. Somethings, however, are easier said than done.

If you're keeping track this is my second debut from a debut publishing imprint this week. The Hollow Man is U.K. author Oliver Harris' debut novel and it's published this month in the US by Harper's new Bourbon Street Books. My review is part of the TLC Blog Tour.

The Hollow Man doesn't have a likable protagonist. It isn't a neat clean plot. But it's a book that won't let you turn away.

If you're a reader who has to like the protagonist, you're probably going to have problems with The Hollow Man. I'm a reader who needs to feel passionately about the characters; if I'm indifferent, that's when I put the book down. Harris invited me to feel passionately against his protagonist. And by the end, I knew he was all sorts of crooked, but I'll be darned if I didn't adore him.

Part of disliking Nick Belsey added to the suspense of the novel. There's an elaborate crime taking place, a sniper is systematically killing seemingly innocent people all over London, but the reader is also on the edge of his/her seat waiting for Belsey to get caught in his scheme. And you aren't really sure if you want him to be caught or not. The construction of this plot is quite brilliant in that respect.

The writing throughout is equal parts eloquent, witty and intense. Whether setting the scene:

"Above him, the crystals of a chandelier hung like tears too expensive to fall."

"With Pond Street taped off, the traffic had solidified, as if it was all part of a spreading rigor mortis."

Developing the characters:

"There was an overall carelessness to the man, like someone who'd been put together from badly written directions."

"He spoke in a clipped way, as if he resented speaking at all and expected hired people to roll the words out for him."

Or moving the plot:

"It was irritating, finding yourself involved in crime when all you were doing was being a pimp."

Harris uses concise, well-chosen words and literary devices. His humor is dark and sharp to match the atmosphere of the novel. Dialogue is natural and flows easily. He's combined all the perfect constructs with a story full of twisted criminals, and I couldn't put it down.

The Hollow Man easily joins my list of favorite debuts for 2012.

The Hollow Man was originally published in the UK in 2011, it is now available in trade paperback (ISBN: 9780062136718) from Bourbon Street Books in the US. To find out what other readers on the blog tour thought about The Hollow Man, check the TLC tour page for links.

2 comments:

Literary Feline October 31, 2012 at 1:00 PM  

I really liked this book and found myself rooting for Nick by the end. I loved the writing. I definitely will be reading more by Oliver Harris. Great review, Jen!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours November 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM  

I'm glad to see that this will be on your Top Books of 2012 list!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Labels

2011 2012 2013 Ace Atkins Adrian McKinty Agnete Friis Alafair Burke Alan Bradley Alan Glynn Alan Orloff Alex Berenson Alex Dryden Alexandra Sokoloff Andrew Grant Andrew Gross Anne Zouroudi Annie Barrows Ariana Franklin Arne Dahl Attica Locke audiobook jukebox Audiobooks author events Author Q/A Barry Eisler Bernard Cornwell Beth Ann Fennelly Bill Cameron Bill Crider Bill Loehfelm Bill Pronzini blog tour Book Events Book News Brad Meltzer Brad Parks Brent Ghelfi Brett Battles Brian Azzarello Brian Freeman Brian McGilloway Bryan Gruley C. J. Box C.J. West Camilla Läckberg Cara Black Carl Hiaasen Carla Buckley Carlos Ruiz Zafon Carter Wilson Catriona McPherson Charles Cumming Charlie Huston Charlie Newton Chevy Stevens Chris Grabenstein Chris Holm Chris Kluwe Christa Faust Christopher Reich Christopher Rice Chuck Greaves CJ Lyons Claude Berube Colin Cotterill Cozy Mystery Craig Johnson Craig McDonald CRCRC crime caper Crime Fiction Crime Writers Caught Recommending Crime CWCRC D.A. Mishani Dana Cameron Daniel Palmer Daniel Silva DATW Dave Barry David Baldacci David Corbett David Ellis David Handler David Hayward David Morrell David Rosenfelt Deborah Coonts Deborah Crombie Declan Burke Denise Hamilton Denise Mina Dennis Lehane Detective Fiction Diane Stuckart Don Bruns Don Winslow Donald E Westlake Donato Carrisi Douglas Corleone Duane Swierczynski dystopian Earl Emerson ebook Ed Lynskey Edoardo Ballerini Elizabeth Hand Elizabeth Haynes Emma Donoghue Eric Beetner F. Paul Wilson FFB Five on Friday Focus Features Forensic Science Foul Play Books Francine Mathews Gabriella Herkert Gar Anthony Haywood Gayle Lynds General Fiction George Guidall George Pelecanos Gillian Flynn Graham Brown Gregg Hurwitz Hallie Ephron Hank Phillippi Ryan Harlan Coben Harley Jane Kozak Harper Lee Herman Koch Heroes and Villains Hilary Davidson Historical Fiction Hugh Laurie Ian Rankin Inger Frimansson Ingrid Thoft international thriller J.J. Myers J.T. Ellison James Barney James Conway James Crumley James DuPont James Fredericks James Grippando James Lee Burke James LePore James O. Born Jamie Freveletti Jan Burke Jane Cleland Janet Evanovich January LaVoy Jassy Mackenzie Jed Rubenfeld Jeff Abbott Jeff Woodman Jeffery Deaver Jeffrey Cohen Jeffrey Siger Jennifer McMahon JIAB2011 JIAM2013 Jill Thompson Jo Nesbø Joelle Charbonneau John Connolly John Grisham John Hart John Lescroart John Sandford John Shannon John Verdon Johnny Shaw Jon Land Jonathan Hayes Jonathan Kellerman Jonathan Schuppe Joseph Finder Joseph Wallace Joseph Wambaugh Josh Bazell Josh Corin Joy Castro Julia Heaberlin Julia Pomeroy Julia Spencer-Fleming Julie Hyzy Juliet Blackwell Karen Fossum Karen Olson Karin Slaughter Katherine Kellgren Keith Thomson Kelli Stanley Kelly Braffet Ken Bruen Ken Isaacson Kevin Guilfoile Kimberly McCreight Lachlan Smith Laura Lippman Laurie R King Lawrence Block Lee Child Left Coast Crime Legal Thriller Lene Kaaberbøl Lenny Kleinfeld Les Roberts Liad Shoham Libby Hellmann Linda Castillo Linda Fairstein Linwood Barclay Lisa Ballantyne Lisa Black Lisa Brackmann Lisa Gardner Lisa Lutz Lisa Unger Literary Mystery Lori Roy Lou Berney Louis Bayard Louise Erdrich Louise Penny Louise Ure MacLeod Andrews Marcia Clark Marcus Sakey Mark Billingham Mark Gimenez Mark Hammer Mark Pryor Mark Sullivan Markus Zusak Martin Limon Martyn Waites Mary Higgins Clark Matt Coyle Matthew Dicks Matthew Pearl Matthew Quirk Medical Thriller Meg Gardiner Megan Abbott Memoirs Meredith Cole MfM 2011 Michael Chabon Michael Connelly Michael Harvey Michael Koryta Michael Lister Michael Stanley Michael Van Rooy Michael Wiley Michelle Gagnon Middle Grade Mike Lawson military thriller Murder and Mayhem in Muskego Narrator Interviews Nevada Barr Nonfiction novella NPM Oliver Harris Owen Laukkanen p.i. fiction paranormal Paranormal Thriller Pat Conroy Paul Levine Pete Larkin Peter Berkrot Peter Robinson PI Fiction poetry Police Procedural political thriller Psychological Thriller R.J. Ellory Ralph Cosham Raymond Chandler Rebecca Cantrell Reed Farrel Coleman Reg E. Cathey Review review copy Richard Lange Ridley Pearson Robert B. Parker Robert Crais Robert Dugoni Robert Fate Robert Greer Robert Gregory Browne Robert Pobi Robin Burcell Rochelle Staab romantic suspense Rosemary Harris Ross Macdonald Rupinder Gill Ruth Rendell Ryan David Jahn S. J. Watson S.J. Rozan Sandra Ruttan Sara Gruen Sara Henry Sara Paretsky Sarah Weinman Sasha Abramsky Sci-Fi scientific thriller Scott Turow Sean Black Sean Chercover Sean Doolittle Shane Gericke Shelf Awareness review Short Stories Simon Lewis Simon Prebble Simon Vance Simon Wood Six-word Memoirs Sophie Hannah Sophie Littlefield Spencer Quinn spy thriller Stefanie Pintoff Stephen Cannell Stephen Coonts Stephen Jay Schwartz Stephen King Stephen White Steve Forman Steve Hamilton Steve Hockensmith Steve Mosby Steve Ulfelder Steven Forman Stieg Larsson Stuart Macbride Sue Ann Jaffarian Sue Grafton Susan Arnout Smith Suspense/Mystery T. Jefferson Parker Tania Carver Tasha Alexander Tess Gerritsen theme week Theresa Schwegel Thomas Holland Thomas Kaufman Thomas Young Thriller Tim Dorsey Tim Maleeny Timothy Hallinan tlc book tours Todd Ritter Tom Franklin Tom Piccirilli Tom Schreck Toni McGee Causey Tony Hays Tony Hillerman Trevanian Truman Capote Val McDermid Victor Gischler Walter Mosley Warren Ellis Wayne Arthurson Will Lavender William Kent Krueger Xe Sands xuni author Yasmina Khadra Young Adult Young Readers Yrsa Sigurdardóttir Zoë Sharp

Great Indie Bookstores

xuni

xuni
An amazing collection of authors!

TLC Book Tours

Traffic Map

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Google+ Followers

Our Blogger Templates Web Design


  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP