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Summary

The long-awaited sequel to the number one Amazon and Audible best seller The Stone Man, shortlisted for Audible Book of the Year 2015.

On a quiet seafront in the middle of the afternoon the sun sets, the clouds part and something like a pale, elongated human figure appears on the horizon. 

For Maria, watching from the beach, it’s proof that she should never have dared to return. Five years earlier, her life shattered by the arrival of the Stone Man, she’d fled the country. But now she can’t escape: suddenly, there are news reports of ‘Empty Men’ materialising all around the coast, and the roads are gridlocked. The Empty Men are killers, and they’re heading inland. 

A hundred miles from the sea, lonely, grieving Eric obsessively keeps watch in the ruins of Coventry, never straying far from Ground Zero, the site of the Stone Man’s first appearance. For five years, Eric has known there was a massive government cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the Stone Man and its disappearance, and he’s determined to find the truth. 

As Maria battles the Empty Men in a desperate chase for survival and Eric is caught in a terrifying transformation of Ground Zero, both find themselves on a path leading straight to the heart of the Stone Man mystery.

Chilling, fast-paced and full of stunning twists, this is the highly anticipated second book in Luke Smitherd’s Stone Man series.

©2017 Luke Smitherd (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Empty Men

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I’m a massive Smitherd fan. I’ve read his entire back catalogue but I’m sad to report that this is (IMO) his weakest effort. For the first time it was an effort to get to the end.

The characters were under developed and grated. There was pace but zero suspense.
The plot was weak and convoluted... It felt like a bit of a (whisper it)... cash in.

11 people found this helpful

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Fantastic sequel

Brilliantly written by Luke Smitherd and wonderfully narrated by Matt Addis.

I absolutely loved the first book and have waited years to read/listen to the sequel. Smitherd has managed to meet the high expectations that his readers are now used to.

I highly recommend.

10 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I'm really sad to report that I'm about halfway through the book and I'm totally bored with it. Uninteresting and confusing characters and storyline which jumps around and I find impossible to follow. I'm a massive fan of all Luke Smithard books and this is the first one I'm unable to finish. Really sad as I was really excited to listen to it. Can't understand the glowing reviews at all.

8 people found this helpful

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Luke Smitherd at his best

I loved it! Great narration as always by Matt Addis. the story pretty much picked up where the last book left off so I'm glad I re listened to The Stone Man when The Empty Men appeared in the pre order section. The story is just as good as the first book, full of mystery, suspense and humour. I'm not really a fan of making books into movies but I wish they would of this series just so it would reach a wider audience. it deserves to be noticed!

6 people found this helpful

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Really enjoyed the follow up to TSM

Kept me engaged throughout wanting to know what was going to happen next. Well worth buying.

3 people found this helpful

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Great sequel

enjoyable and interesting, definitely worth a listen or read if you ultra liked the TSM

2 people found this helpful

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great sequel to this series

really enjoyed this book can't wait for the next installment. will be checking out more titles from this author

2 people found this helpful

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Not as good as the first one

Very disappointed with this sequel. Nowhere near as good as the first one. I could not bring myself to finish it. Save your credit, it's not worth it. The only good thing about is is the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome follow on to the Stone Man!

If like me you loved the Stone Man and couldn't put it down (turn it off 😀) then you will not be disappointed in the Empty Men. Loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next installment.

2 people found this helpful

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Great follow up

really good sequel to the stone men.
plenty of new twists, turns and character s

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marci
  • 08-11-20

Always good

Another winner from Luke Smitherd. His books are always a good read/listen. Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 14-11-20

Writer's afterword

I doubt you'll ever read this Luke but if you do - huge thank you as an avid fan. To anyone considering reading this - do it. You won't regret it. Get a move on with book 3 though mate :) ill buy it twice if the sales #s need to convince you to keep going

3 people found this helpful

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  • R. Celaya
  • 29-11-20

Book need a model taken on women characters.

Before my review of Luke Smitherd’s new book, I need to relate it to 2 other book I listened to recently.

Both were scifi related, written in the 1960s. I read them years ago and considered both a favorites. But listening to them recently I was surprised by how women were depicted. In the first book, women characters were mostly secretaries with no impact on the story. And a male character describes all women as sexually neurotic. In the second book, there was one minor female character that the main character decided to marry... because she was a good mother. The only other woman mentioned was an airline attendant who the main character ogled her butt.

Listening to these books in a modern context, made me rethink my judgment of them.

Sixty years later, women characters don’t fair much better in “The Hollow Men”. There are 2 main characters - a man and a woman. Due to events in the story, both are under stress.

The Man: He is driven by curiosity despite his fear. He makes friends with a couple other men he meets, but he’s largely self-sufficient.

The Woman: she is constantly in a state of panic or hysteria - driven by her fear. She’s dependent of other people (mostly men) for her safety.

(NOTE: There is a minor character, a carry over from The Stone Man. She’s in a position of authority and regularly barker orders. But we know nothing about her or how she ticks.)

Maybe my opinion is shaded by listening to those other books I mentioned. It also doesn’t help that fairly early I found I didn’t like either main character very much.

I don’t think Luke Smitherd is a misogynist but in his next book I’d suggest he re-examine the women characters. I don’t think modern women are helpless and need always be protected. They can be action heroes too.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Caryn McHeartwood
  • 07-11-20

Loved The Stone Man. This one is not for me.

One thing I loved about The Stone Man was the absence of romantic entanglement. Like the best sci-fi, the challenges the main characters faced were universally human: fear, honor, selfishness, the desire to do the right thing, failing then at last succeeding. I eagerly bought and downloaded The Empty Men the day it came out...and was surprised to meet the main character, a weepy yoga instructor...and the next main character, a gay man. WTH? The sexual wokeness keeps getting more and more gratuitous in contemporary fiction. I don't want to embrace your in-my-face sexual orientation. Why do you need me to? At least the yoga instructor wasn't a minigun-toting Ripley-ripoff... Still probably will not keep it. Sorry, Mr. Smitherd, I loved The Stone Man when I read it in print years ago, so much that I bought the audiobook when I learned the new one was coming out. This one is not for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • adam de jesus
  • 22-11-20

love it

Well worth the wait for this, expanding on the ideas of the first book while giving us a creepy new threat to be scared of. Fantastic! Can't wait for the movie.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KendallRN
  • 15-11-20

The Empty Men is Brilliant and More!

I so very impressed with this sequel to The Stone Man! Mr. Smitherd’s descriptions allowed me to see the blood, hear the screams, and feel the desperation and determination of his characters! I promise I don’t only say these things because the author begs his readers to write good reviews...the book is really, really good! I’ll be waiting for more!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • BigRedMachine
  • 12-11-20

An AMAZING sequel!

I was afraid this wouldn’t live up to the first book, but it exceeded all expectations! Can’t wait to read the next Luke Smitherd masterpiece. This is a must read, especially if you’ve read The Stone Man.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Me
  • 11-11-20

So good

The author really tells a good story. Adding to the first book with necessity, not redundancy. Great new characters, surprises, and well thought out connecting plot points. More please.

1 person found this helpful

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  • olyduck
  • 08-11-20

Just bad

I enjoyed the first book. This one was just a mess. i stopped listening about half way through. Had no idea what was going on or why. disappointing. The first book was a lot of fun...Sadly the sequel just was bad.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 18-03-21

Picks Up Steam After a Slow Start

I really enjoyed this sequel, though I would have been fine with no sequel. It has been a couple of years since I read the first book, though I re-read the last few chapters before reading book 2. Book 2 has a lot of vivid scenes and several characters that draw your empathy. I did think the first half was slow as new characters are introduced, but knowing the characters in-depth makes the second half of the book richer. My hope is the next book doesn't expand the main character pool too much, but contains more action and more insights. It is not like "Lost", which is referenced in Book 2, but it could be if this story goes on for several more volumes with a lot hinted at, but not explained. If you are looking for some Smitherd to read while he writes book 3, "Closure" and "Your Name is in the Book" in the Tales of the Unusual are fantastic!