by Mark Pryor
Published in 2015 by Seventh Street Books.
Reviewed by Manning Wolfe.
Creepy-good crime noir! Mark Pryor spins a smart and suspenseful tale through his character’s twisted mind in Hollow Man.
“It’s like I’m hollow. I can hide that from most people, but some seem able to hear the emptiness.” Those are the words of psychopath Dominic, a prosecutor, musician and Englishman living in Austin, Texas.
Early in the story, Dominic learns that his parents have died and he’s been demoted in his job. On the same day, he’s accused of stealing a song from another singer-songwriter. The resulting changes cause Dominic to lose his carefully protected stability and one connection to humanity – his music.
When Gus, a friend and fellow lawyer, suggests a payroll heist from a client, Dominic takes interest. After Gus bails, Dominic enlists the assistance of Tristan Bell, his weirdo roommate, and Otto Bland, an ex-cop turned security guard, to carry out the caper. The ostensibly foolproof robbery derails and results in a double homicide while a mysterious seductress in a green dress adds spice and intrigue.
The book begins slowly, but Pryor’s design is evident in acquainting the reader with the way Dominic’s mind works. All the while, the author drops hints at incidents from Dominic’s childhood, and builds toward understanding of the character’s later actions. “There is no one on the planet more important than me,” Dominic reveals.
The psychopath’s strategy is to think of the crime as if later being prosecuted in a court of law. Next, he looks back to what the evidence might indicate, then tries not to leave that evidence. Clues and red herrings are intelligent and cleverly placed. “The perfect crime is where no one knows a crime’s been committed.”
The author is particularly adept in this, and his other books, at building tension in the novel and racing to the finish line. The fast paced ending in Hollow Man is an exhilarating example of this strength.
Mark Pryor is an assistant district attorney for Travis County in Austin. He recently published The Reluctant Matador, his fifth novel in the Hugo Marston series. Hollow Man is his first stand alone thriller.
Manning Wolfe is an author and attorney residing in Austin, Texas. After many years of storytelling, Manning has written a legal thriller series involving a Texas attorney based in Austin. The first in the series, Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs. Boots King was the winner of the 2014 Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest. A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, she specializes in business law. Visit her website www.manningwolfe.com.