The Hollower is the debut novel from writer Mary SanGiovanni, and frankly, it reads like a first novel. Not that it's terrible or anything. But I don't think it lived up to the glowing praise from the blurbsters on the front and back covers.

The Hollower is a demon-like being from another reality that preys upon the weaknesses of human beings. Often seen devoid of facial features and an old fashioned fedora and trenchcoat, The Hollower has the ability to delve into the psyche of its victims, attacking them at their emotional vulnerabilities. A group of The Hollower's intended victims band together and form a ragtag team of monster hunters.

While I did enjoy the book, I felt that the characterizations were rather shallow and thin. Also, in the final quarter of the novel, I should have been in the grip of suspense, I found myself having a difficult time continuing on with it. But finish it I did and I don't regret doing so.

As a first novel, The Hollower isn't a failure and I've read a lot worse. Mary SanGiovanni shows a lot of promise and this book is set up wide open for a sequel. In fact, Leisure has the followup in their 2008 publication schedule. It is to be one of their October titles and is, at the time of this writing, untitled.

I recommend The Hollower, with some reservations. And I myself will be purchasing its sequel with anticipation of a good read.

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