Dark Hollow - John Connolly “I dream dark dreams.

I dream of a figure moving through the forest, of children flying from his path, of young women crying at his coming. I dream of snow and ice, of bare branches and moon-cast shadows. I dream of dancers floating in the air, stepping lightly even in death, and my own pain is but a faint echo of their suffering as I run. My blood is black on the snow, and the edges of the world are silvered with moonlight. I run into the darkness, and he is waiting.

I dream in black and white, and I dream of him.

I dream of Caleb, who does not exist, and I am afraid.”

Charlie Parker, almost a year after the murder of his family, is trying to find peace. He has returned to Maine where he spent his youth and has moved into his Grandfathers old house in Scarborough with the intention of doing it up. Unfortunately he doesn’t get very much done as before long he is drawn into the hunt for the killer of another mother and child. The obvious suspect is the woman's violent estranged husband.

But there is another possibility – his grandfather (a policeman) was haunted by a shocking series of unsolved murders in the area, the perpetrator was meant to be the monster known as Caleb Kyle. As the decades past Kyle sank into the mythology of Dark Hollow only to be resurrected by tired mothers as the bogey man used to scare errant children. "Caleb Kyle, Caleb Kyle, when you see him run a mile"

Far to the north an elderly lady, from a nursing home, is found wandering in the snowy woods saying she has seen Caleb Kyle…

There is a whole different atmosphere to this book, from EDT, it feels sinister, forbidding and very gothic! The intensely visual descriptions of a freezing winter in Maine, drip with a dark, brooding menace. I felt cold the whole time I was reading it!

As the author says:

“I wanted to use the Maine landscape, the changing of the seasons, the cycles of nature, to illuminate the novel. The book is filled with images of predatory nature and, combined with the onset of winter; I hope gives the book some of its power.”

It is a genuinely haunting, dark and unsettling read but Connolly’s lyrical writing, almost mystical in parts, make it a breathtaking experience.