Hollow House: Greg Chapman
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Over the last few years, I’ve read five or six of Greg Chapman’s releases and have become a huge fan of his work. Greg is also a highly prolific cover designer/artist, so I’m always in awe of seeing what he creates both visually and for my reading enjoyment.
Oddly, throughout this time, I never got around to reading his debut novel, ‘Hollow House’ which was nominated for an HWA Bram Stoker Award for Debut Novel. It’s been working its way up my TBR and when it arrived, I was so excited to dive in.
What I liked: ‘Hollow House’ begins with a horrible stench emanating from the Kemper House. A house that nobody was believed to be living in and one that people can’t recall much of a history.
From that basis, Chapman takes us on a roller coaster where we see secrets unraveled, cell phones compromised and characters get pushed around.
I really loved seeing how many different tentacles this story had that snaked out and pulled back in. We get some truly dark and creepy moments, one such early moment was when a neighboring teen crawls under the front porch. These moments occur frequently and each time they are vivid and claustrophobic.
What I didn’t like: I wasn’t a fan of a number of characters, with some of them feeling a bit shallow or lowly developed. A father uses the term ‘boy’ each and every time he speaks to his son and it was small things like that that kept me disconnecting with a few of them over the course of the novel.
I think having read this one after his newer, more fleshed out releases was the wrong way to go. This has seeds of a stunning novel, but it didn’t pan out like I know a Chapman novel would now.
Why you should buy this: I think this would be a great place to start with Chapman’s work. For those looking for a new, unique take on the house next door that isn’t what anyone thinks it is, look no further. Chapman is a great writer and this one will creep you out.
No one in Willow Street pays it any notice, not the disgruntled Campbell family next door, not Alice Cowley and her suicidal daughter, or Mr. and Mrs. Markham down the road. Not even Darryl, the loner at number seventy, who is abnormal himself, thinks much about it. It is just the old Kemper House, forgotten and abandoned.
Until it makes itself known.
When the stench of death wafts from Kemper House through Willow Street, and comes to the attention of recent resident and newspaper reporter, Ben Traynor, it starts a chain of horrors that brings Kemper House’s curse into their own homes and leads others direct to its door. Kemper House not only haunts its neighbours, it infects them with an evil that traverses time and reality itself.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
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