The Hollow Places

An eccentric small-town museum hosts a portal to a twisted, lethal realm of the multiverse in this hilarious and deliciously shiver-inducing horror story by T. Kingfisher (The Twisted Ones).

When Kara finds herself newly divorced and "at thirty-four, staring down the barrel of moving back in with my parents," her chronically strange but much-loved Uncle Earl invites her to stay with him at the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy in tiny Hog Chapel, N.C. Kara accepts, happy both to avoid her mother and catalogue the museum's whimsical collection of albino raccoons, assorted junk and a "Genuine Feejee Mermaid." While babysitting the museum during Earl's knee surgery, Kara and her friend Simon discover a portal to an eerie world where extradimensional beings stalk through malevolent willow trees, waiting for a meal to blunder through one of dozens of doors. Lost in the nightmare realm, the question becomes not only whether Kara and Simon can find their door again, but what might follow them home.

Told in Kara's down-to-earth, wisecracking voice, this spooky romp combines Lovecraftian horror with real-world woes, the willow universe's many doors echoing the possibilities and danger that come with starting over. Kingfisher builds a sense of oppressive dread in the second half that she dispels with a finale filled with cathartic action and the best reanimated taxidermy subjects since Night at the Museum. Witty, frequently terrifying and downright oddball, The Hollow Places is pure, brilliantly imaginative fun. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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