THE HOLLOW ONES by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

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A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, and an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named Hugo Blackwood, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best and only defense against unspeakable evil.

From the authors who brought you The Strain Trilogy comes a strange, terrifying, and darkly wondrous world of suspense, mystery, and literary horror. The Hollow Ones is a chilling, spell-binding tale, a hauntingly original new fable from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and bestselling author Chuck Hogan featuring their most fascinating character yet.


A novel diving deeply into an occult scenario and immersing the reader into various intellectual exercises throughout the book. The story involves two leading individuals; the first is Odessa Hardwicke a new FBI agent and the other is John Silence a man that comes when he is called upon for help. The calling upon him for help must be done by leaving a letter for him in a mailbox that doesn’t exist in a building in Manhattan, New York. How the mailbox is found is only if someone tells you about it.

The action begins when Odessa shoots her partner to death due to his becoming inexplicably violent and presenting a danger to her. Upon shooting him she sees an emanation leaving his body which is not explainable. Odessa is placed on Desk leave by her department while the shooting is investigated and to keep her busy is given the assignment to clean out a retiring agent’s effects. This brings her to learning about John via information in Agent Solomon’s (the retiree) belongings and eventually sending for him to help her.

We are taken to three different time zones and places by the authors during the course of the story. The first, of course, Newark, New Jersey the scene of the shooting by Odessa, back many years to the southern United States where Earl Solomon as a new FBI agent is investigating the lynching of a white man and also 450 years ago when John Silence, happily married runs into the evil that requires his presence through the centuries while losing his wife to the Hollow people. The Hollow Ones is the title of the book and are entities that are the epitome of evil and best left to the authors to explain during the course of the novel.

The writing stays on the dark side throughout the book and remains an adventure into the occult for the reader. My own feeling is that it strains the patience of the author’s fans and does become more than a little over-intellectualized. Nothing should stop their fans from picking up their next book but this one leaves something to be desired and is, in my opinion, not their normal five-star novel.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE HOLLOW ONES by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan. Grand Central Publishing (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538761748. 336 pages

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