Have you ever wanted to read a book that felt like a combination of Van Helsing (2004) and Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)? Because that’s what The Hollow Ones by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan feel like. And you can only really use movie comparisons when talking about this book because, with an Oscar-winning director involved, it reads almost like a great screenplay that’s been adapted into a novel. That comes with some pros and cons though; the story is fast-paced and compelling, the characters were relatable and you want to know what the hell is going on. But, the other side of it is, tropes that play out well in movies don’t hold up so well when you’re reading them. Especially the types of coincidences that can play out in a movie, like Superman arriving at the precise moment he needs to so he can save Lois Lane. These work in film because you move on to the next scene before you can process it, but when you read you pay a lot more attention.
The novel navigates three different timelines focused on three different people, with one immortal demon hunter showing up in all of them. The main focus is in 2019 New York and New Jersey, Odessa Hardwicke is a rookie FBI agent who is forced to point her gun at her partner when he seems to snap during the pursuit of a murderer. She needs to figure out what happened before the FBI start putting the wrong pieces together and blame her for the incident. Odessa is a great leading character, she is thrown into a world she doesn’t understand or want to be a part of when she’s forced to team up with a very weird Englishman named Hugo Blackwood (or John Silence in the American publication, although I have no idea why). We’re also taken back to the Mississippi in 1962 when the same Hugo Blackwood was helping another FBI agent with a similar mystery to solve and then we go even further back to London in the 1800s to find out the truth of Mr Blackwood.
This book was an enjoyable read if you are a fan of action and FBI movies. My only complaint is that it felt too much like it was written to be made into a film.