It’s time for another Orenda published book, as I join the blog tour for Hinton Hollow Death Trip, by Will Carver. Many thanks to Will and Orenda for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.
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.
I have grappled with writing this review for some time – in fact it has been twelve days since I finished reading to now where I find myself finally ready to put words into sentences. This is not because I didn’t enjoy the book by any means, just that it is one of those books that is so totally brilliant in its construction that it completely blows your mind. Even now, I am fairly sure that whatever I say here simply won’t do the genius of Will Carver justice.
Hinton Hollow Death Trip marks the return of Detective Sergeant Pace, a character who I first met in the equally brilliant Nothing Important Happened Today although this is in fact his third outing. I really need to backtrack and read Good Samaritans, the first book in the series, although that said if you haven’t read the series, this book stands up perfectly well as a standalone.
The short disjointed sentences make for snappy reading, and although there was a part of me that wanted to heed Evil’s warning and turn away while I still could, there was a larger part of me that felt compelled to keep reading and find out just why I was being told to run for the hills!
Our narrator for our brief sojourn to Hinton Hollow, Evil himself, is a curious character. He feels almost reluctant to enact his true nature, wishing humans could be better, kinder, so that he needs to cultivate less evil to create a balance. However, in a world where genuine goodness is rare, and what was normal is now good and what was bad is considered normal behaviour, he feels compelled to create worse and worse acts, and this is not something that seems to sit comfortably with him. Although the innate evil of the human race is chilling, there is a dark humour to Evil’s observations and narration, and he has a surprising amount of empathy and a strong sense of justice. Over the course of the book, I found myself seeing not, as expected, a character to dislike, but instead one that I grew rather fond of in a strange way.
Hinton Hollow is a book full of uncomfortably truths, and Carver once again proves that he is an expert at tapping into the human mind, and getting right under the skin of his readers.
The worrying thing is that Hinton Hollow could so easily be the town I have lived in for my whole life, right down to the finer details of the cash machine theft, and reading it made me wonder just how far we had slipped from the safe, friendly place of my childhood.
Hinton Hollow Death Trip is not a light read, not a particularly comfortable one, but it is this that make it such a great book. It is far too near the knuckle to be easy reading, but it is a fascinating look at how little ripples can change people and entire communities forever. As unsettling as it was, it was totally gripping and I couldn’t put it down.
Anyone else who has read this book already, please feel free to get in touch. I have things I need to discuss that I cannot mention here without spoilers!
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.
Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for this fantastic book.