The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Title: The Hollow Ones.
Writer(s): Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan.
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: June 23rd 2020.
Pages: 336.
Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy, Mystery.
ISBN13:  9781538761748.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.


There are horrifying things that humankind has seen occur throughout history. From a single heinous and passionate crime to mass-killings making us wonder if we’ll ever be able to prevent these horrors from taking place, evil takes on new forms that simply astonish the most seasoned veterans in the field of crime investigation. But what if the cause of such terrors is beyond Man’s reach? What if there are supernatural forces at play that provoke these incidences against our own will? Authors of the New York Times bestselling The Strain trilogy (also an FX TV series that aired from 2014 to 2017) Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan return to write a brand-new novel where a mysterious entity might be at the heart of gruesome crimes throughout history and one man older than time itself might be humanity’s only hope to stopping it from taking more innocent lives.

What is The Hollow Ones about? Rookie FBI agent Odessa Hardwicke and her partner Walt Leppo chase after a rampaging murderer heading towards his final targets after having taken multiple lives already. On the scene, the young and new recruit is forced to turn her gun on her partner who acts suspiciously as he attempts to apprehend the murderer. During the tragedy, she noticed a shadowy presence exiting her partner’s body that she is unable to rationalize and explain to her comrades, ultimately forcing her to be placed on desk leave. It is upon meeting agent Earl Solomon, the very first Afro-American FBI agent, as well as the mysterious John Silence that she is led down an eerie and occult trail to hunt down an unspeakable evil.

“A dark boundary was trespassed. Two men emerged from it unchanged. One did not.”

— Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Based on author Algernon Blackwood’s character of the same name John Silence, the duo brings us an occult detective tale that is relatively refreshing and fast-paced. The story unfolds through multiple timelines with one of them focusing on Odessa Hardwicke’s modern-day predicament as a rookie under investigation who is trying to understand the mysterious sighting she witnessed during the apprehension of the rampaging murderer. A second narrative focuses on the earlier days of agent Earl Solomon as he investigates the lynching of a white man and meets the strange yet quintessential John Silence who might be the key to solving his case. The third point of view is a sparse insight into the mysterious Hollow One that allow the reader to discover its origin, essence, and purpose.

As much as I’d like to admit that it was a breeze to go through this, it remains flawed in its simplicity. Not a single character in this story was developed and given any depth as they embark on this journey to discover the obscure creature, a creature that essentially remains the main mystery of this story. While some interactions with John Silence were entertaining, the other characters had no charisma to allow the reader to form any attachment with them. The pacing of the story also failed to establish any true momentum, often losing itself in dull interactions or boring detours. While its shorter length somewhat worked in its favour, further developing the mystical elements could’ve helped in establishing the desired horror tone that was unfortunately nonexistent in the end.

The Hollow Ones is a gripping yet poorly-developed occult detective tale featuring the mysterious John Silence.




41 thoughts on “The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

  1. Eh, meh. I think I’ll pass 😉 I’m not a fan of del Toro (though I’ve yet to read/watch Strain, maybe this could change my mind about him, though I have my doubts ;)), and this sounds about as bad as Pacific Rim in terms of ideas and their execution. And it lacks even the freakishly big mecha fighting with dinosaurs 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unsurprising. 😛 I haven’t read or seen The Strain either and I’ll let that series decide if his writing is for me or not. As for his movies, I do find his ideas quite entertaining. I’ll give him that hahaha And yes. No ginormous mecha fighting with dinosaurs here hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have yet to try The Strain trilogy but I’m hearing mixed thoughts on it left and right… This one was probably not the best place for newcomers to start with though, unless the premise is to drool for them! I feel like these two authors might have better stuff worth checking out (e.g. The Strain)! Thanks for reading; I really appreciate it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had high hope for how the Strain started. Sadly, it didn’t keep its trajectory.

        I hope you enjoy it more than I did, but I’m not very optimistic about that 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wait! Guillermo del Toro writes books as well?! I thought he just made movies! DAMN! I love his movies sooo muchhh!! Crimson Peak? Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark?! 😍😍

    AHHHHHH!! 3 STARS?!? WHY LASHAAN WHYYYY?!? But then, I get it – I mean, no fun in reading about half-developed characters! ☹️

    STILLLLL!! I wanna read this oneee!! Just tell me that it’ll be good or else I’ll just keep wondering and won’t pick it up like – at all – and my inner self won’t be able to forgive me! 🤷🏻‍♀️☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep hahaha He’s most known for this Strain trilogy though. Two years ago, he also wrote a novelization of The Shape of Water; an excellent movie but I haven’t read his book to see what he had to offer on that front! 😛

      I think I could only recommend trying his most popular stuff (The Strain trilogy) first before The Hollow Ones. While I haven’t read The Strain, I feel like it might be much more beloved in general since.. The Hollow Ones.. doesn’t exactly blow minds! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh? I didn’t even know that! But you are wise to keep away from the book if you loved the movie that much because….well….reasons! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣

        The Strain Trilogy…okay. I haven’t heard of it but I’ll start with that one then! 😇🦋

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  3. Given my disappointment with the TV production of The Strain (at the end of season 3 I gave up because of the many inconsistencies, not to mention my utter dislike of a couple of characters) and your review of this title, I think that my experience with Del Toro/Hogan Productions Inc. will not move any further… 😀 😀
    Thanks for sharing (and for the very useful warning…)!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahah sorry to not be the bearer of great news regarding these two authors. I’ll probably give their Strain trilogy (at least the first book) a chance to impress me before concluding the same as you though. But man… The Hollow Ones should’ve mean much more. 😮 Thanks for reading, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely love many of Guillermo del Toro’s movies, in fact he’s one of my favorite writer/directors. They do seem to go downhill a bit when he takes on more Hollywood-style stories. I watched and mostly enjoyed the first season of The Strain, but lost interest after that and never finished watching it. And I’ve yet to read anything this duo has written. I’m still curious to try it, but this does at least keep my expectations from getting too high.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear your love for del Toro’s movies! I haven’t seen many of his movies myself with his Hellboy movies and The Shape of Water being the ones I have the freshest memories of. I personally think I’ll still give their Strain books a try before concluding that their writing projects aren’t my cup of tea though but if you try any of their stuff in the future, I hope you enjoy them, Todd!


      1. If you have time I recommend some of his less big budget films and those produced outside Hollywood, though I also enjoy some that don’t fit those descriptions. My favorite is Pan’s Labyrinth, I absolutely loved that film. I also very much enjoyed The Devil’s Backbone. Cronos was not a favorite but it was curious, less developed than others, but also a lower budget early film. Perhaps it contributed to what eventually became The Strain. I also enjoyed Crimson Peak, The Shape of Water, and the first Hellboy.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, I saw this on Edelweiss and passed it up for reviewing after reading the other reviews. Your views reflect what the others have said. The police officer acting weird is a sure hook for me, it’s just too bad it didn’t live up to its potential! Also, I enjoyed watching The Strain, my favorite character(not surprisingly) is Quinlan. He was SO COOL. I initially thought he was the bad guy when he first made an appearance 😀 Haven’t read the books though, are they as good as the show?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen the show myself but I hear that the books might be much better. If you’re a fan of the show, then there’s nothing that could hurt you in wanting to pick up those books hahaha If you ever do end up giving The Hollow Ones a try, I do hope you enjoy the story! Thank you for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yes, I think I’ll keep it on my to-buy list since you say you’ve heard it’s better than the show. And thanks but I think I’m gonna pass this one cuz I have too much already on my shelf 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Even in crime fiction and horror I look for well-developed characters, so I doubt this one is for me. Is this the guy (del Toro) with The Shape of Water? I had no idea he was an author. Perhaps, I’ll try one of his other books one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I found it so odd that the characters seemed so underwhelming. He is the guy behind The Shape of Water. I really enjoyed the movie and didn’t expect him to go on and write a book based on the movie afterward. Hope you enjoy his stuff if you ever do give them a shot! Thanks for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The story sounds great though! 😯 My comment will probably be very stupid but… when I was the cover of the book, I was CONVINCED the author was Guillermo del Toro, and the title of the book was “Chuck Hogan”… 😆 I didn’t see the title in the middle AT ALL😂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A rookie female FBI agent… Such cliche. I rolled my eyes. First African-American agent… I rolled my eyes. Someone’s really trying hard.
    It definitely seems to have some potential and I got excited when you mentioned 3rd person POV but ultimately, meh.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have not read The Strain trilogy because it’s about vampirism and I feel as if that subject has been covered enough. However, I’m curious now about Guillermo’s version, so I just actually reserved all three books from my library!

        Liked by 1 person

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