09 June 2019

Bastards do not beguile

Detective/Thriller | The Hollow Man | Oliver Harris


The mystery is well done, the detectiving is fine. The writing is pacy and atmospheric, the editing is taut. That should easily get a book 3 stars.

The reason it does not, is the ‘bastard of a hero’ as the blurb too charitably puts it. I found the detective (Nick Belsey) to be an appalling human, greedy, addicted, manipulative, conniving, misusing his position for personal gain, dishonest in every possible way (and yet he manages to con the investigative journalist into falling in love with him, despite lying to her at almost every step).

Deal breaker. It’s only curiosity about the mystery that saw me through the whole book. Next time, I’ll watch a train wreck instead.

So, the rating is the average of 1 star (I hated it, that’s Nick Belsey), and 3 stars (I liked it, that’s the mystery). It’s a shoddy compromise, leaving me feeling vaguely unclean. Like the book itself. More accurately:
   2 stars and a pile of poop.

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