cover image The Hollow Gods

The Hollow Gods

A.J. Vrana. Parliament House, $4.99 e-book (384p) ISBN 978-1-7333868-2-1

Vrana’s dark, folklore-infused debut, the first of a duology, introduces readers to the residents of Black Hollow, who hold their daughters close and their twisted secrets closer. The town’s girls frequently go missing in the surrounding forest on the outskirts of British Columbia, only to return with no memory and die shortly thereafter, feeding local folklore about “dreamwalkers” in the trees. Floundering Black Hollow college student Emiliya “Miya” Delathorne once rescued one of the missing girls, and is haunted by the memory. When she meets Kai Donovan, he seems eerily familiar. Kai tells Miya about his disturbing tendency to wake up next to the dead girls with no recollection of how he got there. Despite this chilling disclosure, Miya is drawn to Kai and intrinsically trusts that he won’t hurt her. Meanwhile, oncology resident Mason Evans seeks refuge in Black Hollow on the recommendation of his hospital’s psych department following a patient’s traumatic death, and becomes fascinated by the town’s dreamwalker rumors. These three hapless players in Black Hollow’s cycle of malice slowly uncover the extent of the town’s evil. Vrana crafts a unique local mythology and draws from existing werewolf lore to create a sense of creeping dread. Vrana is off to a strong start with this solid, suspenseful tale. Agent: Emmy Nordstrom Higdon, the Rights Factory. (July)