Amber Hollow by Edgar Swamp

Trigger Warnings: This novel contains the following topics that may be upsetting to readers: gore, mass murders, sexual assault, and suicide.

  • Published: October 10, 2019 by Swampland Enterprises
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 471
  • Rating: 2 stars

On July 14, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community’s 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict one another; the only link they have in common is a man named Anthony Guntram, who they allege is the primary suspect. Because he is presumably dead, this claim can’t be verified. Further inquiries expose a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors are hiding? Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line, and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.

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I must confess that the book’s cover and synopsis is what initially drew me to sign up for this tour. Once I started reading, I quickly became hooked; the readers are introduced to two detectives: Sadie and Jeremy, who are working a case about a suspicious fire set in the community known as “Amber Hollow.” The duo begin questioning their limited survivors, but soon realize that their stories aren’t lining up, but can’t seem to figure out why…yet. Unfortunately, it is shortly after these events that the book begins to lose my interest. I felt like this book had the potential to be a great horror read, but the author’s mentions of known serial killers and a climactic buildup that fizzled out by the end really put a damper on this one for me.

Throughout the novel, the author makes references to well-known serial killers such as: Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, and Ed Gein. I can understand his reasoning for including them as the case the detectives are working on involves elements drawn from these three in particular, but I felt it took away from the story a tadbit for me personally.

Throughout this novel, Swamp is slowly rewarding the readers with the pieces needed to complete the overall investigation puzzle. Readers are gaining insight from survivors’ testimonies, exploring the isolated community, and more with each new chapter. However, by the time the “big reveal” occurs, it came across as rushed and did not pack the punch it could have for me.

Overall, I found this book to be an okay read that was a fast read; I’d still recommend others to check it out. Perhaps, this one would be best for those readers that enjoy slow-burners.

Thank you, Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me a spot on this tour and providing me a copy of this one in exchange for an honest review.

7 thoughts on “Amber Hollow by Edgar Swamp

  1. Thank you for reviewing the book, and I’m sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations. I just did a blog about receiving criticisim from another blogger on Long And Short Reviews. If interested, please check it out. I have to point out something to the reviewer, however, because you’ll have to go back and read again because you got this all wrong. You said, and I quote:
    “Throughout the novel, the author has the main characters mentioning well-known serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, and Ed Gein; the latter, who Detective Sadie believes could be behind the fire and needs to be brought in for questioning. I may not be completely educated on Gein’s criminal profile, but I know enough to point out that he obtained body parts from his victims in hopes of making a full bodysuit of a woman. This does not only go against the story’s plot, but also takes away from it.”
    Author’s note:
    Ed Gein appears in the novel in an article from the 1940’s, read on microfilm at a library in Rhinelander by a man who becomes the first victim of the cursed village. That is Gein’s only appearance, because the book takes place in 1991, not in the 1940’s, when he was caught. I have to share this because if that took away from your reading experience, it is because you didn’t read it correctly. Jeffrey Dahmer appears in ‘real time’ in the novel, on July 23, 1991, the day he is arressted, but he isn’t a suspect in the Amber Hollow case, it’s just a fun piece of trivia. That said, if the book felt rushed or contrived, hey, that’s your opinion and no one can take that away from you. I’ve read tons of books I don’t like either, so thanks for reading the whole thing; I generally stop reading if I don’t like them.
    I just wanted to clarify your error for any potential readers. Ed Gein isn’t a suspect in the Amber Hollow mystery, because he was locked up in the Mendota State Pshychiatric Hospital for the Criminally Insane at the time. Yes, still alive, but a very old man. And yes, he did love making and wearing fleshsuits. Cheers!

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    1. I’d like to thank you for reaching out and informing me of my error and for clearing things up with your author’s note. I have since went back and reread the parts involving these killers and have realized I was in fact wrong. I’d like to apologize for that and have also revised my review on that particular paragraph. I’m also sorry that this novel didn’t hit the mark with me and that I had to give it below three stars, but would also like to note that it will not hinder me from looking into your other works.

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      1. No reason to be sorry! Thanks for looking into it. The serial killers are a part of Wisconsin lore; residents of the state have enjoyed their inclusion, and I officially just received my first two-star review ever, a milestone in my life. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you Bernie! The title was an important part of the novel and had to encapsulate more than just the title of the book, it had to mean something deeper. I can’t tell you why though, because that is part of the mystery. Take care!

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