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 was so happy to be reunited with Detective Sergeant Pace, after falling for him in both Good Samaritans & Nothing Important Happened Today and I couldn’t wait to see what was awaiting me in Hinton Hollow (population 5120) as we travel there with him. I am very grateful to be joining the blog tour and I have to say that this is the first time I’m reviewing a book where I’m being led through the narrative by Evil. Quite Literally.
Evil is Will Carver’s narrative voice of choice in his third novel and I have to say that this is a stroke of utter genius, and the genuine sense of creeping unease you feel when he directly warns us that: ‘you can leave now, if you want… this is the last time I try to save you’ is a bold version of ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here and believe me, readers should be taking heed! Once you enter the strange world of Hinton Hollow you begin to fall under its spell and it becomes a bit like the Hotel California once it’s under your skin ‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…’
If you are turned off by darkness then this is perhaps not the book for you, and definitely don’t say that you haven’t been warned. If it’s not enough of a giveaway that Evil is leading you by the hand, you should gird your loins and prepare yourself for a deep dive into some pretty traumatic events. If you are looking for something to remind yourself of the goodness inherent within human nature, you’ve come to the wrong place – but by god this is a marvellously dark and deviously delightful read.
We are lured into the narrative and totally fall under the spell of this place and its inhabitants as we start to orientate ourselves over the five days he spends here meeting a whole cast of characters such as Darren, Mrs Beaufort and Evil himself of course. Books that involve the death of children are never easy to review as this will put some people off straight away, but the murders are only part of this novel. What Carver is always so successful at is presenting us with the banality of evil and its utter ordinary-ness. There is so much going on in this novel that is immoral, inappropriate and downright illegal that you won’t know where to turn. It’s a next of vipers this town, but what a fascinating one it is.
Will Carver is a talented and original writer whose characters spring off the page and come to life for you as you try and work out what makes them tick and remember that he is not inventing society in these pages but recreating it as it really is without the sugar-coated veneer. Mrs Beaufort’s character is unforgettable – she is a woman who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing and you will maybe be able to recognise a few of her ilk operating in your own community the further you read. But don’t think for a second that you’ll get off with judging only other people as you read this book – Carver also asks us to take a long hard look at ourselves and think about what we are actually capable of as we read and the notion of judge not, lest ye be judged pervades this entire novel.
Hinton Hollow Death Trip is a superb blend of skilful plotting with an unforgettable cast of characters and the most original narrator since The Book Thief that I’ll be recommending to everyone. It stands out to me due to its deft manipulation of the reader and the way it keeps us constantly reflective about humanity and the depths we are capable of as we are reading and there is no letting up. I absolutely loved it and it’s definitely left me desperate for my next Will Carver fix and hoping that I don’t have to wait too long for it!
Buy yourself a copy of this fantastic and unique read here, you definitely won’t regret it.
“A taut, highly original novel from one of the most underrated crime writers out there.” –Simon Kernick, author, Siege
“Beautifully written, smart, dark and disturbing–and so original. The whole thing feels like a shot of adrenaline.” –Steve Mosby, author, The Murder Code
“Carver goes on to spin an impossible-to-predict tale about which the only guarantee is that you won’t be able to stop reading.” —I-Newspaper
“Carver has created a highly original state-of-the-nation novel.” —Literary Review
“Horribly addictive.” —Telegraph
“I’ve never read such an original, stunning, clever, literary thriller.” –Sarah Pinborough, author, Behind Her Eyes
“Thrilling and completely original, Nothing Important Happened Today deserves to become an instant classic.” –Kevin Wignall, author, When We Were Lost
Writer on the Shelf
Will Carver is the internationally 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 the book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.