Dark Hollows by Steve Frech

Thriller, 384 pages, published in 2019

Jacob enjoys his quiet life running a coffee shop, renting out his cottage, and going for hikes with his dog. This all changes when someone who looks like his dead ex-girlfriend shows up to rent his cottage. Strange things start happening, leading him to believe that he isn’t the only one who knows how his ex-girlfriend died.

Spoiler Free Review:

💜💜

I really wanted to like this book more than I did, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. I don’t normally read thrillers, so I was hoping this would be a good introduction. I generally enjoyed my time listening to the story because I wanted to know what happened next, but there were just too many flaws to overlook.

The writing of this book was incredibly simple. Jacob’s actions were described in excruciating detail. The book is in first person, so Jacob is the one telling about him doing all these things. For example, if he was going from his house to the coffee shop, the narration would go a little like this: “I picked up the keys from the hook by the door. I opened the front door and used the key to lock it. I unlocked the car and got into the driver’s seat. I put the key in the ignition and turned it. I put the car in reverse and backed up.” You get the gist. I totally made that up, since I don’t have the text in front of me, but there were so many things like, where that much detail just wasn’t necessary and the sentences didn’t vary in structure.

Also, there was a method of showing flashbacks that I enjoyed to an extent. Someone would be talking or Jacob would be thinking and a word in the sentence would connect to a memory, so that word would be the last thing in the present, but the first thing in the memory. It’s hard to explain. I thought it was cool, but it was really only present in the first part of the book. I think it would have been cool if it was interwoven throughout and the memories were shorter.

Jacob seemed like an alright guy to begin with. He didn’t really have a personality in my opinion. Once the story gets going though, he shows his true colors. The latter part of the book felt so chaotic because Jacob was doing a ton of stuff on very little sleep and not thinking through the consequences of his actions.

I can’t say too much about the plot because I feel like it will give away the “twist”. I will say that I didn’t like the twist. It didn’t feel justified and it was revealed pretty late without any foreshadowing. It also felt like it played into stereotypes in a way that I didn’t enjoy. All of the weird things going on around Jacob in the first part of the book felt like pranks, rather than a serious threat.

Overall, I just wasn’t happy with this book. It was fun while it lasted, but thinking about it at all afterward made me realize all the flaws it had.

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