Dead Harvest (The Collector #1) by Chris F. Holm
Publisher: Angry Robot Books/Feb. 28, 2012
The Collector series
Meet Sam Thornton, Collector of Souls.
Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure their souls are dispatched to the appropriate destination.
But when he’s dispatched to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.
When we first meet Sam Thornton, he’s in the midst of being assigned his next job, one that will prove a little more than the status quo. Sam is a soul collector, which means he collects the souls of the wicked and sends them off to whatever hell they’ve been assigned to. This new job sounds pretty cut and dry. A young girl, Kate, was caught in the midst of slaughtering her entire family. I mean, she was caught red-handed, so there really can’t be any question of her guilt, right? However, after Sam makes the jump into a newly deceased body, and attempts the collection, he knows right away that Kate can’t be guilty. When Sam decides to spare Kate, he irritates some pretty powerful folk. We’re talking angels and demons here, but Sam is determined to protect her, at all costs, even if, for him, it means eternal torment…
Dead Harvest was just a pleasure to read, through and through. Yes, our hero collects souls, but you’ll see, through interludes that detail how Sam came to be a collector, just how he got where he’s at, and trust me, you probably would have done the same thing. He’s a very sympathetic character, and just plain likable. Told in Sam’s voice, Dead Harvest reads like a smooth shot of bourbon, and you’ll find yourself happy to go along with the ride as he and Kate battle demons and angels alike. Is Kate really innocent (you’ll want her to be, for sure)? Could there be a war brewing between the angels and the demons? All of these questions get answered, but I also liked how nothing was really black and white, which kept me on my toes. In fact, Sam finds allies where he least expects it, and the addition of a fellow collector, Bishop, out to complete the job that Sam wouldn’t, makes for some truly creepy moments. Bishop is damaged, any humanity he once had completely gone, and the ability they have to jump from one body to another makes him all the more terrifying. Dead Harvest is a relatively uncomplicated story (not too many extraneous storylines to worry about, which is kind of refreshing), and that’s certainly not a bad thing. Chris Holm’s smooth writing style and rather charming characters (yes, Sam is charming, so there), made Dead Harvest a pleasure for me. I’m anxious to see what comes next for Sam, and I think Urban Fantasy fans will enjoy this start to what looks to be a wonderfully entertaining series!
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