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The Hollow Man: A Novel

The Hollow Man: A Novel

4.0 11
by Oliver Harris

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Waking up on Hampstead Heath not far from a crashed squad car, Detective Nick Belsey wants out—out of London and out of the endless complications of his life. When Alexei Devereux, a wealthy hermit, vanishes, leaving behind a suicide note and his Porsche, Belsey discovers an opportunity—a new identity and a fortune—waiting for the


Waking up on Hampstead Heath not far from a crashed squad car, Detective Nick Belsey wants out—out of London and out of the endless complications of his life. When Alexei Devereux, a wealthy hermit, vanishes, leaving behind a suicide note and his Porsche, Belsey discovers an opportunity—a new identity and a fortune—waiting for the taking.

Unfortunately, there are others who share the detective's interest in Devereux, including Scotland Yard. A dead rich man with suspicious financial holdings is bound to have some dangerous ties and a few ruthless enemies. Now, Belsey and his clever plan are about to be overshadowed by far more ambitious players with their own brilliant—and deadly—scheme.

Combining dark humor, dazzling twists, and a sharp narrative style, The Hollow Man is a tour de force of suspense—and the debut of an extraordinary new writer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Harris’s searing first novel, a noir police procedural, features the anti-est of antiheroes, Det. Constable Nick Belsey, who wakes up one morning on Hampstead Heath, bruised, bloody, keyless, walletless, watchless, homeless, and bankrupt. From this low point, Belsey undertakes a personal investigation into the apparent suicide of Alexei Devereux, a high-flying international financier, whose ritzy Hampstead house becomes his secret pied-à-terre for his attempt to use Devereux’s resources as startup capital to escape the mess he’s made of his life. Supported by a convincing cast of reporters, policemen bent and otherwise, and villains great and small, Belsey draws on his intimate knowledge of London’s criminal underworld to unravel Project Boudicca, a multimillion-euro scheme to make gambling Britain’s 21st-century version of heroin. At one point, during an extended London pub crawl, Belsey feels “mystery settling in layers, like snow.” Readers should be prepared for a mind-bending resolution that hurtles down as remorselessly as an avalanche. Agent, George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)
“The narrative is buoyed by good writing and piercing insights. . . . And is our heel-hero really a study in conflict or a have-it-both-ways fraud, true blue under a raffish surface? That’s the real puzzle, and one thoughtful readers will relish.”
Charlotte Observer
“A knockout debut novel.”
Library Journal
Nick Belsey's life as a police detective in London is out of control, and he is almost out of time before it all falls apart. Bankrupt and homeless, Nick finds himself crashed on Hampstead Heath in a stolen police car. Trying to string along a few more days before the disintegration of his life is revealed, he begins to think he's found a way out of the mess when he investigates a missing persons call in wealthy Bishops Lane and finds a Russian oligarch who appears to have walked away from his life and a great deal of money. Nick steps into the Russian's shoes only to discover that people known to be working with the Russian are ending up dead. VERDICT Debut author Harris maintains the tension and suspense from the first sentence to the last. His antihero is engaging, and readers will be rooting for him all the way to the final plot twist.—Lisa Hanson O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Lib., Winnipeg

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Nick Belsey Series , #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.82(d)

Meet the Author

Oliver Harris has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, in addition to degrees in English and Shakespeare studies, and recently received his PhD. His first novel, The Hollow Man, launched the Detective Nick Belsey series. He also reviews for the Times Literary Supplement. He lives in London.

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The Hollow Man 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As others have said the book starts off a bit slow, but hang in there because soon enough you are sucked in to the world of Nick Belsey. It is a world of feints and counterfeints with a plethora of twists to keep you guessing until the end. His totally debauched character becomes more and more likeable as the story goes on until you are rooting for him to get away with the con of his life. Look forward to more stories from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story line. Well writen.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
The Hol­low Man by Oliver Har­ris is a novel intro­duc­tion a new char­ac­ter, cop Nick Belsey, in what seems to be the first of a series. Nick Belsey is an Eng­lish police­man who seems to have no ethics and cor­rupt morals which con­stantly traps him in the lure of easy money. It is when Lon­don police detec­tive Nick Belsey woke up in a crashed police car, drunk, no phone, and no wal­let did he real­ize that he hit rock bot­tom. As he goes to the police sta­tion, cer­tain that he is going to get fired, he sees a miss­ing person's report from a lux­u­ri­ous sec­tion of Lon­don. As he goes into the house, Belsey assumes the iden­tity of its occu­pier, Alex Dev­ereux who lived alone, has no heirs and it seems that he sim­ply vanished. The broke detec­tive sees an oppor­tu­nity to start his life anew wear­ing a new iden­tity. But there are peo­ple look­ing for Dev­ereux and Belsey quickly real­izes that the scam­mer is about to be scammed and scrammed if he isn't too careful. The Hol­low Man by Oliver Har­ris moves at a break­neck speed with a spec­tac­u­lar end­ing which plants destruc­tion and bed­lam in the Eng­lish countryside. The book intro­duces anti-hero Nick Belsey, a Detec­tive Con­sta­ble in the Hamp­stead CID. Belsey has a seri­ous drink­ing prob­lem, is eth­i­cally chal­lenged and is in per­sonal debt up to his eye­balls. In fact, his pay­check no longer cov­ers the min­i­mum amount owed on his loans. Belsey breaks every rule he could find, from squat­ting in a house where a crime has hap­pened, to tak­ing money, iden­tity theft and more. All while get­ting away with what­ever he can, jus­ti­fy­ing him­self to … well… him­self know­ing all the while that he’s full of bull. The story starts off a bit slowly, but then moves at breath­tak­ing speed. The book is writ­ten with a noir feel to it, almost like watch­ing an old movie where the cop is drunk and grumpy in an attrac­tive, world weary sort of way This is an excel­lent first novel, I loved the cor­rupt char­ac­ter of Nick Belsey and am look­ing for­ward to more cor­rupt shenani­gans. Sus­pend dis­be­lief, put on your seat-belt and get ready for a good time.
Twink More than 1 year ago
3.5/5 The Hollow Man is Oliver Harris's debut novel and the first release from Bourbon Street Books - Harper Collins' new imprint. I loved the opening chapters and introduction to Detective Constable Nick Belsey. "The earth was cold beneath his body,. His mouth had soil in it and there was a smell of blood and rotten bark." Has he been attacked? In an accident? Well, yes, but Nick himself is the car wreck. He has a drinking problem, a gambling problem and at this point no possessions and no home. Once he remembers what he did last night, will he have a job? He heads off to his station and is given an apparent suicide to investigate in a wealthy area of London. Nick finds the body and sends it on it's way to the morgue. With nowhere to stay that night he decides to sleep in the dead man's house. And eat his food, drink his booze, wear his clothes and drive his car. As he looks in the life of (wealthy) dead Alexei Devereaux, Belsey decides to take his money as well. After all, there's no family and it will be a fresh start for him somewhere else. "It takes the average person twelve months to discover that their identity has been stolen. That was for the living. If this was what he was doing, stealing Devereaux's identity, then it gave him some time. He felt ready to pick up where Devereaux had left off. If he was gong to be born again it would be nice to be someone rich." But many, many others have their eye on Devereaux's business as well. Taking over Devereaux's life won't be as easy as Nick first thought. Things are getting complicated. Complicating them more is Nick himself. He's also driven by his own desire for answers. So he starts to work the investigation. Unofficially of course. Nick is the quintessential anti-hero. He's crooked, selfish and self serving. And I couldn't help but like him. For he's also very clever and does have some soft spots. I really enjoyed the way he insinuated himself into situations, finagled what he wanted or needed and bamboozled others. A true wolf in cop's clothing. But, I found myself rooting for him, hoping he gets away with it. I'm unfamiliar with the setting of North London, but Harris did a good job of bringing his setting to life. The plotting is complex and involved, with many twists and turns. My only complaint would be the reveal of Devereaux's master plan - I found it a bit of a let down and somewhat unbelievable. The Hollow Man is the first book in the Nick Belsey series. I'll be curious to see where Harris can take this character after this first outing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is about a hero police detective constable, who is a corrupt, alcoholic, yet brilliant detective. He gets involved in a strange case, by accident, with tenacity, conniving, yet humane to the end. The writing is beautiful and keeps you on your toes until the last page. Love to see some more of Oliver Harris.
Mr_Shaddow More than 1 year ago
A police officer is to uphold the law, not make it up as he goes along. Wonderful read, a surreal life of being someone else. Cloaks and daggers, and hidden agendas. With so many lies out there, what's one more going to hurt?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recommended. Not your typical read as Det. Nick Belsey unravels as he unravels the disappearance of a mysterious billionaire. Local color and plot twists keep this one entertaining to the end.
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