Dead Harvest by Chris F Holm
Meet Sam Thornton. He collects souls.
Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent 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.
What is pulp fiction? I’m not talking about the movie but that genre of fiction where the rules of reality are skewed off centre, where the most sensational things happen without questioning their validity. Pulp fiction is the "just go with it" genre, the genre that makes all those armchair critics writhe uncomfortably every time the read something that could not possibly happen if you were to consider the facts. With Dead Harvest, Chris F. Holm attempts to make more of these armchair critics writhe by combining the pulp fiction genre with an urban fantasy story. It is a story of angels, of demons and reapers, of bodysnatching and helicopter snatching, and the result is certainly entertaining.
The story follows Sam, a collector of tainted souls whose latest collection does not go according to plan. When he goes against the wishes of the demons by not collecting this tainted soul, Sam sets in motion a chain of events which looks like starting a long overdue war between Heaven and Hell. This is a very open and direct mystery story, one that starts and finishes very strongly with a small lull in-between. Holm does a lot of work up front, setting up the tensions between Heaven and Hell, setting up Sam as the fall guy for a heinous crime, and making sure Sam knows that to clear his name will result in war between Heaven and Hell. We don't know why the tensions exist, we don't know why Sam was set up, and we don't know who is setting this all up or why they want this war to happen. This is a story about a bunch of critical decision points interspersed by consequence based events, and you get to watch Sam grow from the fumbling ill informed collector making poor decisions and suffering harsh consequences, to the well informed barely surviving collector who is one poor decision away from losing everything.
This is a book of decisions, and we get to see the characters grow based on the decisions they make. Sam is a very dead-pan serious guy, he fits well within the framework of the story, but in all honestly I didn't find him all that interesting to begin with. His back story is pretty good, I did like exploring the origins of him becoming a reaper, and I can see he is going to be a very good character in future instalments of the series, but for this book he came across as a beige man playing second fiddle to some awesome action and plot twists. Same goes for girl that Sam spends the whole book trying to save, and the faceless enemy which is made up from a random mix of angels and demons. This is not to say that the characters or the characterisation was bad, I just felt like Holm could have done a bit more to make the characters more compelling.
That said, the overall writing here is clean, fast paced and easy to read. The action scenes, especially the over-the-top action scenes, have been written as well as any I have seen in the last twelve months, and are full of unrealistic expectations, explosions flying in your face, and lots of fun. To quote Dr. Horrible - "What a crazy random happenstance". That is what I like about pulp fiction, the licence to just go and write the coolest things you can think of without worrying about how they make sense in the real world.
This is a fun book full of cool concepts and big action sequences. Mysteries are posed, answers that make sense are found, and characters are fundamentally changed in the process. Holm has created a fantastic world and I can't wait to see what happens next.
This Dead Harvest book review was written by Ryan Lawler
All reviews for: The Collector
Have you read Dead Harvest?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Dead Harvest reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Never Knew Another
Fugitive Rachel Nolander is a newcomer to the city of Dogsland, where the rich throw parties and the poor just do whatever they can to scrape by. Supported by her brother D...
Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu
Mercedes M Yardley
Her mama always said she was special. His daddy called him a demon. But even monsters can fall in love. Montessa Tovar is walking home alone when she is abducted by Lu, a s...
A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe wa...
The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Sure, he takes the occasional trip to Heaven, but his job as an advocate - arguing the fate of the recently deceased - keeps him pretty busy on Earth, and he's more tha...
The Hollow City
Michael Shipman is paranoid schizophrenic; he suffers from hallucinations, delusions, and complex fantasies of persecution and horror. That's bad enough. But what can h...
Life sucks and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth tha...
Miriam Black knows when you will die. Still in her early twenties, she's foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. ...
Deadbeat - Makes You Stronger
Max and Tom are old, old friends, who used to be actors. Tom now owns a jazz nightclub called Deadbeat which, as well as being their source of income, is also something of ...
The Year of the Ladybird
It is the summer of 1976, the hottest since records began and a young man leaves behind his student days and learns how to grow up. A first job in a holiday camp beckons. B...
The Clown Service
The Department: Section 37 Station Office, Wood Green. The Boss: August Shining, an ex-Cambridge, Cold War-era spy. The Mission: Charged with protecting Great Britain and i...
Nameless: The Darkness Comes
Mercedes M Yardley
Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic&rsq...
So welcome to Midnight where nothing is what it seems and not knowing everything about your neighbours may end up getting you killed. I enjoy this kind of story, a mystery/...
Tricia Sullivan has written an extraordinary, genre defining novel that begins with the mystery of a woman who barely knows herself and ends with a discovery that transcend...
They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the cent...
Half-devil and miles from anything resembling heroic, perpetual underdog Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg is the last man standing against Armageddon. As the favorite ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring angels and demons
Best of 2016
Tricia Sullivan has written an extraordinary, genre defining novel that begins with the mystery of a woman who barely knows herself and ends with a discovery that transcends s...
This Savage Song
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a grisly metropolis where the violence has begun to create real and deadly monsters. All Kate wants is to be as r...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brilliant General Janus bet Vhalnich, the opposing powers have called all sides to the negotiating table in hopes of securing an end to the war. Queen Raesinia of Vordan is anxious to...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
The Creeping Shadow
Lucy has left Lockwood & Co. A freelance operative, she is hiring herself out to other agencies – agencies that might value her ever-improving skills. But now Loc...