The Hollow Kind is a horror novel about a family and the danger of inheriting seemingly cursed land. Nellie flees an abusive marriage with her son Max after finding out she has inherited her grandfather’s estate in Georgia. It is a falling down farmhouse and weirdly silent woods, once used for turpentine, and it offers hope for Nellie and Max, but the strange whispering voices and unsettling sense of ancient power suggest it is a place less safe than Nellie imagined.
The book is split between the “present” narrative of 1989 and an earlier one featuring Nellie’s grandfather and father, using the dual timelines to unfold the family secrets and the kind of gothic horror based on echoes of the past and inheritance of this terror. It is a pretty standard horror, with a few side threats from real men blurring the line between what is supernatural danger and what is very real life danger. Max is a mature-for-his-age horror child, and the relationship between Nellie and Max is a highlight of the book, especially how the book explores parent and child relationships and the complexities within them. The earlier parts of the book, with more subtle unnerving horror as you don’t really know what is going on to Nellie and Max and weird things are happening in the house, is perhaps scarier than the later more dramatic scenes, but the book does build up to a good climax that forces the family to face up to the generational horror.