Angry Robot, p/b, £7.99
Reviewed by Craig Knight
Sam is a Soul Collector, a courier of damned souls bound for Hell. When he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman charged with the horrific murder of her family, Sam is convinced she is innocent and refuses to take her soul. His actions break an ancient treaty and an epic war between Heaven and Hell looks set to begin.
Dead Harvest is a strange mix – part detective novel, part supernatural story – and it works well. The idea of Soul Collectors has been done before but Dead Harvest puts a refreshing take on the concept by telling this story from the viewpoint of the Collector. Sam is a great character, a decent guy forced to do a job he hates because of crimes he committed when he was alive. Sam’s self-deprecating style and realistic acceptance of his fate allows the reader to warm to him very quickly.
Kate is the victim who has been targeted for collection. She is a sassy and strong female character who doubts her innocence. This works well in keeping the reader guessing as to whether she really is innocent or not.
Dead Harvest is told in the first person which gives the story the tone of a diary. Holm’s use of foreshadowing further encourages this but it is handled well and is by no means a bad thing. There are flashback scenes to Sam’s life every few chapters and although interesting as backstory, they tend to break up the flow of the main narrative and could perhaps have been placed a little better.
My only real gripe, and it isn’t that big a gripe, is the ending. The realisation of who is behind the events comes too suddenly and out of the blue that it threatens the believability of the story. If there had been a few more hints dropped from time to time, it would have been more realistic but as it stands it comes across as a little rushed.
Dead Harvest is a great story. Original, fascinating and absorbing from the onset, it captures the reader and describes an interesting supernatural world that sits alongside our own. If you like supernatural ‘who-dunnits’ then this is the book for you.