“A twisting spiral of lies and corruption, a pitch-perfect portrait of contemporary London, and a beguiling bastard of a hero—what a recipe for a great read.”
—Val McDermid, author of The Mermaids Singing
Describing London police detective Nick Belsey, hero of The Hollow Man, an enthrallingly original thriller from British crime novelist Oliver Harris—the Daily Mail declared, “He’s got to be London’s coolest cop.” Crime fiction fans are sure to agree, especially those hooked on the novels of Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Mark Billingham, and Jo Nesbø. The first book in a series of tense and twisting police procedurals, The Hollow Man starts with Belsey at rock bottom, and then embroils him in a brazen identity theft scam and possible murder that could leave him either wealthy or dead. It’s time to discover Oliver Harris, a new master of noir who’s destined to be a big man at the scene of the crime.
British author Harris's searing first novel, a noir police procedural, features the anti-est of antiheroes, Det. Constable Nick Belsey, who wakes up one morning on Hampstead Heath, bruised, bloody, keyless, walletless, watchless, homeless, and bankrupt. From this low point, Belsey undertakes a personal investigation into the apparent suicide of Alexei Devereux, a high-flying international financier, whose ritzy Hampstead house becomes his secret pied- -terre for his attempt to use Devereux's resources as startup capital to escape the mess he's made of his life. Supported by a convincing cast of reporters, policemen bent and otherwise, and villains great and small, Belsey draws on his intimate knowledge of London's criminal underworld to unravel Project Boudicca, a multimillion-euro scheme to make gambling Britain's 21st-century version of heroin. At one point, during an extended London pub crawl, Belsey feels "mystery settling in layers, like snow." Readers should be prepared for a mind-bending resolution that hurtles down as remorselessly as an avalanche.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Delightfully dark and witty police procedural
This was an unexpectedly delightful novel in which Oliver Harris introduces a very unlikely, almost despicable protagnoist.
On its surface the plot centers around broke, homeless, and soon to be former London police detective Nick Belsey. Having decidedly hit bottom and with literally nowhere else to go, Belsey manages to stitch impossibly disparate clues together. Gradually, he become likable, even as the reader is left questioning whether his motivation is selfishness or vengeance against the "hollowness" theme woven into this story on several levels - in the detective's own life, in the corrupt and unmotivated police investigators, and in the apparent disappearance of a character who forms the novel's central mystery.
With rich prose and the occasional witty, dark humor, this is a surprisingly good read fans of Michael Connelly will thoroughly appreciate. The location descriptions will confuse anyone unfamiliar with London, but no more so than unfamiliarity with Los Angeles would detract from Connelly's work.
The Hollow Man left me wanting more from this little-known author and his unlikely hero. A throroughly enjoyable read.