It’s been a little while since I’ve devoured a book as quickly and feverishly as I did SILVERS HOLLOW. It drew me in from the very first page, tightened its grip in the middle half, and then catapulted me into a state of satisfaction with its explosive climax. If you’re looking for a book that is nightmarish, uncanny, and absolutely captivating then I’m pleased to say that this latest from author Patrick Delaney absolutely hits all three of those criteria.
To begin with, I love how the author drops us right into the narrative with the protagonist; both of us lost, confused, and increasingly afraid as the story goes on. The story starts with a nameless young woman who has been picked up from a train station by a police officer and can’t remember why she’s there. She appears to be in her hometown of Silvers Hollow, but as we go on there are strange little disturbances and unnerving hints that things aren’t quite right. It’s perpetually night, but there is no moon or stars. It’s the town she grew up in, but it’s a ghost town, and the few people remaining are treating her very oddly (the sideways glances, the looks of fright, the vague remarks). It’s the empty house she grew up in, and the red door, and the disturbing memories that are clawing their way to the surface, but what does it all mean?
Why is she suddenly there after so many years of being away? Why is the town and everything in it so strangely off kilter? And what is the menacing “emergency” everyone keeps referring to?
I don’t want to say too much as this is DEFINITELY a book to be experienced instead of explained. Going in blind kept me on the edge of my seat the entire ride. I absolutely loved the author’s writing style here. It’s a surreal maze of ambiguity in a manner that is almost experimental, but the atmosphere and pacing are perfect. I sensed the timelessness of an out-of-body experience. I felt adrift in a starless nightmare, the kind where the terror is subtle until it suddenly isn’t. I knew something was off, but I couldn’t figure out what. As I read I thought of Channel Zero’s second season NO-END HOUSE, the TV version of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Rob Zombie’s song “Perversion 99”, and remnants of various psychological thrillers – all of which gave me the same sense of disquiet and alarm that I got while reading this book.
Truth be told, I loved everything right up until the very end. It’s weird, but I’m very indecisive about ambiguity, especially when it comes to endings. Typically I don’t mind it, but there are times I dislike it. Unfortunately, this is one of those times. Because the majority of the book is all questions and few answers, the way it ended was simultaneously intriguing and frustrating to me. However, I feel like this is definitely a book that, like the best psychological thrillers in film and literature, will reward multiple experiences. The author has written in many layers of meaning and nuance, and I get the nagging feeling I was only scratching the surface. Perhaps further readings will provide the illumination that eases the ending for me.
Regardless, this is still a book I would recommend checking out, especially if you enjoy atmospheric thrillers of the psychological variety. It has subtle ties to the author’s previous book (THE HOUSE THAT FELL FROM THE SKY) that act as easter eggs for the attentive reader, but it can also be read as a stand alone novel. SILVERS HOLLOW has buried itself in my brain. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a heck of a good time, and I’m already raring to dive back in.
Ben’s love for horror began at a young age when he devoured books like the Goosebumps series and the various scary stories of Alvin Schwartz. Growing up he spent an unholy amount of time binge watching horror films and staying up till the early hours of the morning playing games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Since then his love for the genre has only increased, expanding to include all manner of subgenres and mediums. He firmly believes in the power of horror to create an imaginative space for exploring our connection to each other and the universe, but he also appreciates the pure entertainment of B movies and splatterpunk fiction.
Nowadays you can find Ben hustling his skills as a freelance writer and editor. When he’s not building his portfolio or spending time with his wife and two kids, he’s immersing himself in his reading and writing. Though he loves horror in all forms, he has a particular penchant for indie authors and publishers. He is a proud supporter of the horror community and spends much of his free time reviewing and promoting the books/comics you need to be reading right now! For more of Ben’s work check out his website, ReadingVicariously.net, or follow him on Instagram and Twitter.