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.
Well now. Will Carver’s first two books, Good Samaritans and Nothing Important Happened Today were phenomenal. Indeed, I said of the first book that I sat and stared at a screen for a good half hour, trying to work out how best to come up with a coherent review. It was dark (oh so dark), then along came book 2, which made the first look like a little ray of sunshine on a bright spring morning in comparison.
And so we find ourselves with book three – Hinton Hollow Death Trip. Carver has clearly looked at the dials marked ‘Dark’, ‘Disturbing’ and ‘Weird’, laughed in his best Bond villain style, and promptly whacked them all up to 11. Or possibly beyond.
DS Pace has returned to his childhood home following the events of Nothing Important Happened Today, to get away from the city, to get back to a simpler life. But nothing is ever as simple, is it? And this is no cosy little village mystery, oh no.
The thing which marks out Hinton Hollow Death Trip from the norm is that it is told from the point of view of Evil itself. And what a fascinating perspective that is.
You see, it takes just a small nudge to this person here, a gentle prod to that person there and before you know it, chaos ensues. And boy, does chaos ensue. Carver ramps up the body count in this one, and fair warning, mothers and their children are on the list.
This then is not an easy read, by any stretch. I said with the first two books that they were quite unlike anything I’d read before, so I’m even more impressed that Will Carver has pulled off a hat trick here. Easy it might not be, but an utterly compelling delve into the human condition it is.
One of my books of the year. Solid five stars.
Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver is published by Orenda Books in August 2020. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for the review copy of the book.