Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Mary SanGiovanni
Published by Leisure Books
Let me get this complaint out of the way first and foremost: It always bothers me when the sophomore novel from a new author is a sequel to his or her first novel. It seems to me that if you’ve taken the time to sit down and write a book, chances are you’ve got a lot of ideas rolling around in your head, and just coming up with a sequel to your debut seems … well, kind of lazy to be honest.
Keep in mind I’m generalizing here, so I’m not saying that Found You, the sequel to SanGiovanni’s debut, “>The Hollower (review), is a lazy book, but there are some elements to it that make me wonder if perhaps this wasn’t something she was asked to write as opposed to something she wanted to write.
Found You picks up a few years after the events of The Hollower with the mentally distraught Sally in an institution because she’s unable to cope with the outside world and her brother, Steve, is unable to deal with her on a full-time basis. She’s led by some unknown force to an abandoned part of the hospital where she kills herself, setting into motion a whole new reign of terror for a whole new Hollower.
This Hollower is more powerful than the first, whom the original group killed at the end of the first book. It’s able to create entire environments around its intended victims and push them to kill themselves, in heightened states of fear, which is where it gets its power. A differnt group is targeted, along with the survivors from the first encounter, and pretty soon they’ve all banded together to try and fight this force from another dimension before it gets inside all of their heads and finishes the work started by its brethren.
One thing SanGiovanni does of interest this time around is devote entire chapters to events unfolding as seen from the perspective of the Hollower, which does help give some more insight as to its intentions and its history. While it’s a nice change from following around the book’s characters and seeing events the way they perceive them, it also serves to un-demonize the demon, as it were. The more you understand the reasons a creature does something, the less nefarious it seems no matter their motivations. Sure, the Hollowers are super intelligent and have an extreme distaste for humans in general, but when we see this through the creature’s perspective, some of the impact is lost.
All in all, though, Found You is not a bad novel at all; it’s got the quick pacing and solid characters that The Hollower had, though I admit Steve got on my nerves quite a bit. SanGiovanni’s talents are on full display here, and she’s a very solid storyteller, so ultimately what hurts Found You more than anything else is the fact that it’s more or less the same story being told over with some vaguely new elements.
Hopefully her next book will be a departure from this universe. She possesses the skills required to make a really solid, standout horror story; she just needs to stretch outside of this Hollower box and flex her literary muscles on something new.
3 1/2 out of 5
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