I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for HINTON HOLLOW DEATH TRIP by Will Carver and published by the fabulous Orenda Books, with thanks to Karen, and to Anne for the tour invite. This is my first time reading one of Will Carver’s books, and it seems I’ve been missing out! Please keep scrolling for some bookish chat about the addictive, disturbing and unsettling world of Hinton Hollow… be brave, take the trip!
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
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.
This is the third book featuring Detective Sergeant Pace, now admittedly I’ve not read either of the first two books (Good Samaritans or Nothing Important Happened Today) however, it really didn’t matter, as DS Pace is not the central character or the main narrator of the story; it is actually, Evil. Yes, Evil is our narrative voice, and that’s the creative and unusual second person narrative that begins the book. By directly calling out to the reader pulls you into the story in quite a personal way, and it also comes with a readers’ warning – ‘you can leave now, if you want… this is the last time I try to save you’. The brave, or inquisitive reader will of course continue, how could you not after that… and soon we are passing the crossroads and entering the world of Hinton Hollow, and how it becomes a living hell once Evil begins to play and manipulate its inhabitants.
I loved the creativity and drama of the story-telling – my goodness, it’s a struggle to put the book down. Crazy, as it’s creepy; it’s also disturbing, repulsive and traumatic. Be warned, children die, animals are tortured and killed, people are manipulated into the darkest of deeds, and overlapping all this is a stark message about human nature.
The structure is rather Brecht-like as the narrative is constructed to pull on our own consciousness. The book is split over a serious of days, with headers to summarise what you will learn. There are several other headers breaking down the story into units of focus; I really enjoyed the creativity of this. The reader is asked to reflect, consider, and evaluate as our narrator bombards us with signs and scenes; we have no choice but to question humanity and the essence of who we are.
Hinton Hollow questions what is ordinary? More importantly, what lies behind the ordinary. It’s a dark book and stalks the reader like a predator. You begin to question everything you think you know, as you fight through an often depressive bombardment of statements about humanity: its perversions, its vacuous selfish people and the detached predator lurking inside in our inconsistencies, ironies and collective consciousness.
This book is written with confidence, control and a significant level of darkness. Capricious in nature, and disturbing in tone this is a creative read, but definitely not for the sensitive or easily triggered reader. However, in all of the darkness there’s a shining ray of hope on day six, where we take a moment to think about our connection to time, to needing more time, for waiting; it’s blatantly clear the message is to stop. To stop delaying, trying to please, wasting time and try changing… and to be a good person. I loved this lift to the heavily, emotionally bleak world of this book. It has that Inspector Goole vibe, of the collective consciousness and responsibility to each other and ourselves. We actually question the notion of evil, and the puppet master controlling Hinton Hollow.
Far from your typical crime mystery novel, Hinton Hollow Death Trip pushes at the boundaries and then pushes at your consciousness – Will Carver’s head must be a full-on place to be! Bold, creative, absorbing and complex writing that hooks you in with a mighty grip. Be brave. Read it.
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.