In an era of emerging terrorism, can a young intelligence gatherer and his MI-6 associate foil the plans of a sociopath bent on the senseless destruction of human lives? Hollow man is a well-crafted thriller written at a break-your-neck pace (not breakneck pace) and set in 1970’s Europe. Rolling across Spain and France, the story begins well and ends better.
The characters are well-drawn, the dialogue believable, the description detailed and interesting and the fight scenes extremely realistic. The second half of the book is much stronger than the (confusing but not too weak) first half. Of particular interest are the descriptions of passersby and incidental characters, which made the action and book seem quite real. Plus, Bobby was an incredible character (and unlike Zita, he gets an intro befitting his awesomeness).
Although the tale is well-told, there are still some aspects that could’ve used work, and became impossible to ignore.
The pacing, for the first half of this novel, is an all-out sprint. For over a hundred pages the book is action action action, with never enough dialogue or introspection to slow down enough for a few answers to questions I began having…
I received a copy of Hollow Man as part of a review request for AIA, and in so doing bypassed the Amazon description if the book’s plotting. Due to this, I had major unanswered questions from the word go: who is this guy? Who does he work for? What year is it? Why are people tossing around currency that isn’t euros? Who is this Zita person?
The action in the book is nonstop, which left me breathless and confused as to where or why the main character was traipsing off to. Approximately a hundred pages in, just about halfway through the book, readers are finally given basic background info on Zita, the main female character. This also caused me to read the book slowly and very closely, allowing me to pick up on tiny, otherwise forgettable continuity errors: he can’t speak French to order a sandwich but can conduct exhaustive phone conversations with various hotels and lie convincingly. In French. He throws his jacket away to avoid being noticed, and later saves himself from considerable harm from a fall by rolling on his thick jacket.
So why, if there are these flaws, is this book receiving four stars? Because the story is incredible despite them,
I certainly recommend it for fans of the genre, who will probably have no trouble in overlooking the minor flaws I discovered. Thank you for the read, Mr. Hollis.