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The Hollow City

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,017 ratings  ·  341 reviews
Dan Wells won instant acclaim for his three-novel debut about the adventures of John Wayne Cleaver, a heroic young man who is a potential serial killer. All who read the trilogy were struck by the distinctive and believable voice Wells created for John.

Now he returns with another innovative thriller told in a very different, equally unique voice. A voice that comes to us f
Kindle Edition, 334 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Tor Books (first published October 1st 2011)
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EmilyViolet No, there aren't any references I could see.
Some similar themes and potentially(?) set in the same world, but nothing conclusive. Both are great thoug…more
No, there aren't any references I could see.
Some similar themes and potentially(?) set in the same world, but nothing conclusive. Both are great though! Read them all!(less)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,017 ratings  ·  341 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Michael Shipman is a paranoid schizophrenic. Or is he?

After reading (and re-reading) Well's I am not a serial killer, I knew that I had to read anything this guy ever wrote.

And so, here we are.

We are thrust into the crazy (or not so crazy?) world of our unreliable narrator - Michael Shipman. Ever since he was a teenager, Michael has slowly descended into his on schizophrenic world. He's long since lost the respect of his friends, family and father. And his latest bout has brought him right to
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review, 2012
Dan Wells is my hero.

In his debut novel, I Am Not A Serial Killer (review), he takes on a protagonist who's a teenage sociopath. In The Hollow City, his protagonist is a schizophrenic mental patient. Both get you into their heads and both make you feel like you understand people a little bit better. Both are compulsively readable and impossible to put down.

I gotta hand it to Wells, that's quite a way to start a writing career.

The Hollow City is like Memento goes to the nuthouse. Not that it's to
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Shipman wakes up in a hospital bed, not knowing why he's there and unable to remember the past two weeks. The doctors tell him he was brought in after falling from a window. Checking his medical files, they see he also has paranoid schizophrenia. After talking with him, they begin to link Michael with the Red Line serial killings. Michael knows he's innocent and instead feels himself to be in mortal danger from the Faceless Men. Is he guilty or innocent? Is what he sees real or a halluci ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“How much do you know about me?” I demand. “What’s really going on here?”

“I…,” she stumbles over her words, brow furrowed in confusion. “I don’t know anything, why? Are you a member of the Children?”

“The Children of the Earth are a murder cult,” I say. “They kidnapped my mother while she was pregnant, and when I was born they killed her. I wouldn’t associate with them for anything. I’d kill them first.”

Her face goes white. “You did not just say that.”

“What do the Children of the Earth have to do
Something is terribly, wonderfully wrong with Dan Wells. His superb writing skills and brilliant eye for story are all tangled up in a twisted mind that produces books of breathtaking genius that will leave you curled up on the floor sucking your thumb and crying for your mommy.

Within a chapter of I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, I adored John Cleaver and was terrified for him, because I didn't want him to grow up to be a serial killer. And within a chapter of THE HOLLOW CITY, I was sick for Michael S
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-lbc, 2016
I am so conflicted about how to rate this book. The first 75% of this book was amazing. I couldn't put it down and was amazed at how real the main character felt. The last 25% felt a little lame to me - it was as if the book turned into a strange X-Files episode. ...more
*•.¸♡ ᒪᗴᗩᕼ ♡¸.•*
❐ Overall Rating 2¾⭐ | Narration 😀 = Good
❐ Narrated by Roger Wayne
❐ Listening Length: 8H 17M
❐ Psychological Thriller
❐ Inside the head of a Schizophrenic
❐ Weird AF

I think listening to this made me feel a little crazy. Overall, I think the craziness just got to be too much for me to follow what was actually going on. The ending went into some out-there kind of crazy...but hey, it was unpredictable.

🅒🅐🅦🅟🅘🅛🅔 4.79/❿
🅒haracters → 4
🅐tmosphere → 5
🅦riting → 5.5
🅟lot → 5
🅘ntrigue → 4.5
🅛ogic → 5
🅔njoyment → 4
Gavin Daphne King
I can't even really sort out my feelings for this book.

I can't think of anything bad to say about it other than "this isn't really my genre," so I'm giving it five stars. For the story that Dan Wells was trying to tell, this is the best possible way I can think of to tell it. It's not really a short book but I read it in one day; it's very self-contained like that. The only thing is... I don't really know who this book is FOR. It's not quite horror but it's not quite urban fantasy. It's really m
Cheyenne DeBorde
I’m not really sure what the genre is for this, but I do have experience with this author’s writing and that’s what lead me to this book. His John Clever series with I Am Not a Serial Killer was really amazing and I loved it! But this was a letdown in comparison to the character development and story execution of that series. Not that I didn’t give this book its own fighting chance on its own two legs. In fact, I would have left the book sooner if it wasn’t for Dan Well’s good reputation.

The Hollow City is a fascinating book that readers will devour. It’s equal parts psychological thriller and science fiction. While it does lose some of it’s pull after the halfway mark, and the ending leaves a little to be desired, at the end of the day this is an unforgettable book. Wells is a brilliant writer who somehow manages to take something that could easily be incredibly complex and makes it amazingly accessible. The Hollow City, despite my quibbles, is a highly recommended read.

Read my
Eric Allen
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hollow City
By Dan Wells

A Review by Eric Allen

Dan Wells has been a busy man this past year. This is the third book he's published in the last 12 months, and he has another short novel to be released in August as a prequel to Partials. I have been a big fan of his ever since the release of his first book, I Am Not a Serial Killer. He is an excellent writer, that keeps getting better with every book that he puts out. And he sure does crank them out.

The Hollow City follows Michael Shipman, a pa
Kelcey Murdoch
I couldn’t put this book down, but I don’t think I loved it. I was frustrated with the way the author portrayed medical professionals. I find it hard to believe that a good medical doctor would refer to a person with mental illness as “crazy” in front of the patient while speaking with people from the FBI. There are medically and socially appropriate terms that could have been used to describe Michael. But despite those annoyances, the story drew me in and I stayed up way too late many nights tu ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Michael...I already forgot his last name, has a history of mental illness that has recently been upgraded to include schizophrenia. With no memory of the past two weeks, he finds himself hospitalized in a psych ward and subjected to a greater and greater number of drugs meant to give him relief from his hallucinations (mostly of Faceless Men out to get him) and fear of electronics. Meanwhile, a serial killer dubbed the Red Line Killer is murdering seemingly random people by shooting them mu ...more
Spencer Borup
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because of how much I loved Dan Wells's John Cleaver series. The idea was fascinating--a man with schizophrenia is caught up in a series of murders, trapped in a mental hospital, and realizes that some of the monsters he sees... are real. Great premise. The book read fast, like every thriller should. The characters were great, especially the main character (if your main character is schizophrenic he better be interesting!). The reader not knowing what was real and what was hallucinat ...more
Michael Shipman, the main character of Dan Wells’ newest novel The Hollow City, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and lives with horrible hallucinations and delusions. He is convinced that Faceless men are following him everywhere. They can monitor him through any electronic device: televisions, mobile phones, even alarm clocks. It’s all part of a Plan that’s been going on for years. Michael doesn’t take the medication his personal psychiatrist prescribes because he isn’t convinced that the do ...more
Dan Wells's The Hollow City is perhaps the best horror novella ever written. It's a terrifying, disorienting ride through the psychoses of the world's most unreliable narrator, a paranoid schizophrenic who believes faceless men are using technology to try to kill him.

Sounds perfect, right? Except that perfect novella somehow - presumably at the urging of the ghost of Percy Shelley? - ballooned into a 336 page novel that insists on teetering on the edge of committing to its plot until the horror
Jen Walker
I'm not sure how I feel about this book in total. From the beginning I thought it was a great read, really pulled me in to the story and I couldn’t put it down. I thought it was amazing. I would have given it 5 stars right there. The dynamic of trying to understand the world and the story from the mind of a schizophrenic was so interesting and so unique and really kept my mind guessing. Granted I did pick up on who was or who wasn't real early on but that did not impact the story for me negative ...more
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, where do I start? This book was awesome! I dare you, nay, I challenge you to try to put this one down once you pick it up. Sheesh, talk about a book that makes you questions your own sanity and then comes creeping back into your memory in a dark room to scare the hell out of you. Loved it!

That took way too long this time. Barely getting snatches at a time between a new baby took a bit away from the story this time. Still enjoyed its uniqueness but I noticed the amateur writing more.
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paranoid tale from the mind of an obvious Philip K. Dick's fan. For some reason this was filed at the library under horror, though it's really more of a scifi with serious psychological aspects. The is he or isn't he mad theme throughout the book keeps the reader guessing till the final chapters and the revelation is definitely worth the wait. Pacing is lightning fast, so it isn't that much of a wait even, several hours of reading. The writing isn't amazing or dazzling, but it is solid and very ...more
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm just not a Dan Wells fan. I wasn't impressed with I Am Not A Serial Killer and never continued the series. I was assured this was different. To be honest I was bored by this book. There were elements with potential but most of the book we are trapped in Michael's delusions and medicated fugue. Yawn. It may have been the Klonopin seeping through the pages because I often fell asleep while reading. Sorry, Dan -- still not a fan. ...more
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Boostamonte Halvorsen
Dan Wells is at his best with the John Cleaver novels. After that it has been hit and miss for me. Luckily this one is a hit! It is in that John Cleaver vein that works for Wells's style of writing and it a super interesting take on mental illness. It reminded me, slightly, of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest but with a very interesting twist and an actual insane person! When I say twist, it is the Wells twist I love, and it one that waits a long time to come about, but it is worth it!

Super good
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
I went into The Hollow City expecting to like it so I had high expectations. They were met when I read this. I have no complaints to talk about. I think that The Hollow City was very well executed with each reaction, clue, and event flowing into the next. The pacing of the book was excellent. It was fast paced but still managed to be coherent.

As far as characters go, I liked John Wayne Cleaver [I Am Not A Serial Killer] more than Michael even though he wasn't any less interesting. I think that I
Lynn K.
I love the way Wells writes. I thought the story was OK, but not as engaging as his I Am Not A Serial Killer series. I also somehow keep picking up books with cults (but the synopsis doesn't mention these cults) and I really don't like books about cults. I find them boring. Thankfully the cult in this book is mostly just in the background. They're mentioned throughout and don't come fully into the picture until the end. That's probably why it took me, like, three days to read the last few chapte ...more
Jessica Nix
I had this on my to read list for quite so time and was so excited to get to it. Sadly I ended up disappointed. It just didn’t work for me. I felt like I was just waiting and waiting waiting for something to happen—I found the beginning repetitive and redundant. The last 1/3 finally got moving and I did enjoy that portion. It was rapid moving and exciting. The writing style was enjoyable so I will try another by him.
Jenni Elyse
I liked the first two thirds a lot. I couldn’t put the book down. It was such an interesting premise and, just like Michael, I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t. But I’m not sure I liked where the book went in the last third. It got a little too sci-fi for my taste. I like sci-fi normally but this seemed like it came out of nowhere.
Ranting Dragon
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aaron

A stand-alone adult novel from author Dan Wells, The Hollow City is a thriller that thematically and tonally follows closely in the footsteps of Wells’ own I Am Not a Serial Killer trilogy, but branches off into new territory for the author in terms of content.

The Hollow City follows Michael Shipman, a man who wakes up in the hospital having lost two weeks of memory. He is quickly diagnosed with schizophrenia and moved to a psychiatric hospital, where he i
Rachel the Book Harlot

Brief Book Description:

Michael Shipman is on the run. Pursued by "The Faceless Men", a secret organization who covertly monitor him through electronic devices such as cellphones and televisions, he finds himself trapped in a hospital with no memory of the past two weeks. Not knowing who he can trust, and desperate to uncover the truth and thwart their diabolical “Plan”, he must find a way to escape before “They” find him.

To make matters worse, authorities suspect Michael may have a connection t
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Dan. The ordeals you put me through.

I won't re-summarize the plot, or even discuss any spoiler-free safe zones, but I will say this: unreliable protagonists sure do make for a heartbreakingly tense read. While Michael Shipman is no John Wayne Cleaver, he is equally burdened by forces others cannot understand. Every step of the way, I felt what Michael's nurses must have felt constantly: I feel for this poor, sweet kid, I want to help...I want so much to believe in him. But I can't.

Kurt Pankau
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The elevator pitch for this book doesn't do it any justice: Michael Shipman is a paranoid schizophrenic who discovers that some of the monsters in his delusions are real. Of the tensions that keep this story propelled, Michael's confusion over whether what he's seeing actually exists is probably the least interesting.

Supposedly this was one of Wells' trunk novels that he completely re-worked, and it definitely has that vibe. There are several different story ideas going on, each of which could b
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Dan, please don't get me wrong... 2 63 Mar 27, 2013 10:17AM  

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Dan Wells is a thriller and science fiction writer. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is he author of the Partials series (Partials, Isolation, Fragments, and Ruins), the John Cleaver series (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want To Kill You), and a few others (The Hollow City, A Night of Blacker Darkness, etc). He was a Campbell nomine for best new w ...more

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