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Release Date 8/20/24

Award-winning author James Wade blends atmospheric prose with soul-stirring themes in Hollow Out the Dark, a gothic adventure set against a Depression-era landscape where a whiskey war threatens to decimate a small Texas town.

A veteran of the Great War, Jesse Cole is grateful for the quiet life he now leads. But when his closest friend runs afoul of local criminals Frog and Squirrel Fenley, Jesse is forced to spin his moral compass and enter a violent and volatile underworld. There he encounters corrupt lawmen, hired assassins, and a dark family secret that will upend all he once knew.

Complicating matters are Texas Ranger Amon Atkins—who arrives to investigate the Fenleys just as their empire is threatened by a deadly new competitor—and the green-eyed, raven-haired Adaline, a love Jesse thought he’d lost forever.

With resources scarce and winter falling hard on the town, a desperate Jesse must choose between the law and the lawless and find a way to survive while still protecting the people he loves.

A heart-pounding tale full of plot-twisting revelations, Hollow Out the Dark brings readers into a whiskey-fueled world where everyone has a secret, and love everlasting balances on the edge of a knife.


“James Wade is a poet of the dark. With gorgeous lyricism, he writes of men and women caught in the bleakest of circumstances and the choices that must be made when desperate times require desperate measures. It’s been forever since I read a novel so stunning in its language and so moving in its effect. Read this book and prepare to be amazed.”

William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land

“In Hollow Out the Dark, James Wade casts a cold East Texas landscape in all its grim glory, reflecting the hearts of the men who battle for their piece of it. This prohibition-era Western is no simple tale of bootleggers and lawmen but a meditation on morality in which even the good must choose their own corruption. Wade imbues poetry, philosophy, and craftsmanship in his prose. From story, to scene, to sentence, his care is present in each word. A joy to read.”

Caroline Frost, award-winning author of The Last Verse and Shadows of Pecan Hollow

“James Wade’s newest novel, Hollow Out the Dark, is a masterpiece of atmospheric crime fiction; a worthy successor to the likes of William Gay and Cormac McCarthy. Set in East Texas, it is an epic, and age-old, story of greed and generational betrayal—where vengeance is swift and forgiveness a long time coming.”

Kathleen Kent, New York Times bestselling author of Black Wolf 

“With his characteristic insight and imagination, James Wade takes us to another era and makes it tremble with authenticity. The manner in which Wade sees life so clearly, even in the dark, creates a psychology of characters carefully wrought. Wade’s distinctive lyricism threads the narrative and his pitch-perfect rendering of the biome of the piney woods throbs with metaphor, running through the novel like a river, clean and clear.”

Lucy Griffith, WILLA Literary Award–winning poet

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