The author of this book gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. I liked it, and it was cheap, so I bought it anyway. I’ve been a fan of other Four Fools offerings, and I was drawn in by the Mike Mignola-esque cover on this one. It turned out to be a fun addition to the modern paranormal conspiracy genre, and I recommend that you check it out.
The Truth Is Out There is the story of Matt Olsen, a globetrotting reporter for a fringe newspaper. He’s on the trail of the Hantu Jarang Gigi, a race of ghostly hominids said to haunt the Malaysian jungles. He finds them, along with something possibly more important. Olsen is just the sort of character you’d expect in this role: like Carl Kolchak, he’s too curious for his own good, and like Fox Mulder, he has a single-minded fixation on finding “the truth” which sometimes leaves him blind to the real truth. It’s somewhat of a conventional archetype, but it’s become a convention because it works so well. Hollingsworth captures the essence of this character type very well in the story, revealing a man whose personality make him alternately likable and wearying; free-thinking and yet, on occasion, surprisingly doctrinaire considering his profession. To touch on one example (that I suspect will figure prominently into the rest of the series), Olsen is a casual scoffer when it comes to religion, though of course he’s ready to believe almost anything else, sort of like the guy from Ancient Aliens.
Hollingsworth’s storytelling is capable and sometimes exceptionally vivid and creative, especially in his ability to evoke a surreal, perception-doubting horror. I appreciated the unusual choice of monsters and the glimpse of something larger on the horizon. These ingredients, combined with the swift-moving punchiness of the story, as well as the cover art, brought to mind Hellboy and BPRD comics.
Alas, I have to deduct some points because we never get much more than a glimpse and a hint of what that is. I would be more upset about this if the book weren’t clearly labeled “Book 0” and sold for $0.99, but as it is, it’s an enjoyable and promising teaser of what will hopefully turn into a regular series.