Sep 6, 2012

Review: Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Something wicked this way comes...

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she’s being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps.

Hollow Pike is one of those books I probably would have never read had I not been an active member of the book blogging world. Just gives me another reason to love this community so much :).

Lis moves to Hollow Pike after the bullying at her old school becomes too much for any one person to handle. She wants a fresh start, new friends, new Lis. Little does she know that high school is pretty much the same drag everywhere. Well, mostly.

Lis wants to fit in so badly it's almost pathetic at first. She'll say whatever it takes or keep silent if she needs to, and it gets to the point where every move she makes, she's constantly worried about what others will think of her. It's at this time that I want to smack her around a bit and tell her that high school is small, insignificant, and she should grow a backbone and be herself instead of hanging out with the "popular" girls who, in reality, everyone loathes. To my relief, she finally makes a decent choice and decides that real friends are more important that her social status. Enter Kitty, Delilah, and Jack.

I fell in love with these characters. Kitty is one tough shit, laughing in the face of the "in-girls" and saying whatever is on her mind. I admired her certainty and confidence as she demands respect everywhere she goes. Delilah is the bookworm of the group, knowing anything and everything, especially when it comes to the witchy legends of Hollow Pike. And Jack, well, his role is pretty small, but he offers another distinct personality to the mix, creating a dynamic combination of characters.

As I said before, Lis got kinda annoying with her constant worrying about others. She is a good, old-fashioned weenie, to be honest. She wants to dig, dig, dig for information about who's terrorizing Hollow Pike ~ witches, maybe? ~ but when the going gets a little too tough or dangerous, Lis reverts back to her old friend ~ running. Get some guts girl! Your friends need you! It's not that I didn't like her ~ I really did ~ but she was just so damn self-conscious. On the other hand, I get that she's supposed to be this way, and while the story is about getting to the bottom of who is terrorizing Hollow Pike, it's also about her growth and her discovery that she can stand on her own two feet without giving someone easy access to knocking her down.

The writing style was fluid and easy to follow. Dawson paints an easily envisioned picture of a small town with a dark history, enveloping us in the world he's created. Being from the U.S., the lingo was a little strange to me sometimes (UK), but that made it all the more interesting. Dawson's world building and character development hit the mark, and he leave readers with nothing to be desired.

The spooky factor in this book is ~ AWESOME. I'd find myself so enveloped, heart beating fast, palms sweating, eyes jutting out of my sockets...then my dog would nudge my hand and I'd jump three feet in the air. Or reading on my back porch ~ which is surrounded by a forest of trees ~ I'd find myself scanning the tree line for dark shadows. Hollow Pike got me jumpy, and as a lover of the spooky, I couldn't have been happier.

The murder/mystery factor weaves a pretty complex and dangerous tale full of history and possible magic. The witches of Hollow Pike were said to have been extinguished (you know, the old "burning at the stake" routine) years ago, but there's more to the murder that's taken place. Sacrificial magic seems to be involved, and with the birds following Lis around and a shadow stalking her outside her bedroom windows, she can't help but think the witches are either back or have never left. Why did this have to start when she came to town? Bet you'd like to know...

I'll just say that the ending was pretty unexpected. It's difficult to tell who's who in this novel ~ good or evil? I loved how it kept me guessing, totally enthralled me, and scared the living daylights out of me. Great novel. OH, and it's a stand-alone for those of you who are tired of the constant trilogies and series.

Four out of five stars from this reader. I'd highly recommend!

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~


  1. Oh wow! I had this book in my basket to buy last month, but I read some awfull reviews for it & I decided to not give it a try. ah! I should have bought it. Anyway, sounds really good & I'm glad to read your positive review about it.

  2. @Nina Yeah, it was such a fun read.. I gobbled it up in a matter of three days.. which is wicked fast readin' for me :)


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