Title: The Hollow Man
Author: Oliver Harris
Review: It is funny how when you really have nothing else to lose it seems to make sense to double down and go for broke. Nick Belsey is a police detective with problems. He drinks too much, he gambles, he is broke and homeless. We find him waking up with a crashed police car, which he stole, hung-over, and most likely to be shortly unemployed. All in all his life is crap.
But as the hammer is about to fall he avoids his bosses with one last call, a missing person case. And were off on the wild ride involving reclusive Russian billionaires, teenage prostitutes, high finance, assassinations, and behind the scenes deals. Detective Belsey is definitely a man who believes the ends do justify the means; and the end in mind is to step out of his life and disappear with the nice parts of the victims.
You get a sense Belsey wasn’t just having a bad night from the moment he steps into the victims house. His true nature comes out while suffering from ruined wet shoes he spots a very expensive pair of shoes in the closet are his size and he changes into them. Next on is the pricey suit followed by the Porsche from the garage. The very wealthy victim is missing, presumed dead from suicide, and has nobody in his life to claim him. Instead of a crime, Belsey sees an opportunity to get his life back on track again. He just needs to figure out a few first, and then he is gone.
Told in quick choppy chapters with concise witty dialogue, Oliver Harris leads you through a compelling crime at breakneck speed. Introducing the true anti-hero, the detective you hate to love, Harris has opened up a London you never knew existed. I was so glad to hear this is book one of a projected series; which can only get even better with time.
Publisher: Bourbon Street Books: October 23rd 2012 by Harper Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2011)
Quick Review: 4 out of 5 stars
Why I Read It: Enjoy modern English mystery/thrillers.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review. TLC Book Tour.
Synopsis: The first in a series of gritty and original thrillers following cunning detective Nick Belsey from a rising voice in British crime fiction
"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
Waking up on Hampstead Heath in a crashed squad car, still drunk, with no wallet, no phone, and only a Masonic candlestick to remind him of the events of the night before, London police detective Nick Belsey has hit rock bottom. At dawn he checks in at the station to collect his things on what should be the last day of his career, but something in the overnight files catches his interest-a missing person report from Bishops Avenue, London's richest street. Alex Devereux-worth a fortune, never seen, lived alone-has vanished, leaving his Porsche in the garage and a suicide note on his desk. In Devereux's disappearance, Belsey sees a way out for himself: the opportunity for a new start by stealing the man's identity. It's a pity, however, that so many other people are looking for Devereux as well. Belsey quickly realizes that his would-be scam is about to be outclassed by a far more ambitious fraud, as the race to get to the elusive oligarch's fortune becomes a game with life and death stakes.
The Hollow Man is a tour de force of pace and plotting, and a vividly evocative love-letter to London. Oliver Harris is a sharp and stylish writer who has created a seductive, worldly, and cunning anti-hero. Nick Belsey is amoral and cynical but nonetheless deeply serious about his investigation, about a police officer's vision of the world, and about the quest for truth that haunts any good detective.
Author Biography: Oliver Harris was born in north London. He has a first-class degree in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from UCL, and an MA in creative writing from UEA. He has worked in clothing warehouses, PR companies and as a TV and film extra. More recently he assisted with research in the Imperial War Museum archives, and continues to act as a reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement.