Read Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm Online


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.“No.”...

Title : Dead Harvest
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780857662187
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 381 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dead Harvest Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-04-02 13:25

    ”What happens when a collector reaches the breaking point?”“They go mad. They begin to enjoy the work. They delight in their role. They bury their humanity so deep, they can’t even hear its screams. And eventually, their soul just withers and dies. You wanna know what’s worse than being damned? Allowing your soul to be snuffed out, just erased from the record books like it never was. There is no greater punishment in existence and no greater crime, than being party to your own eradication. It’s as if you’re admitting that all you’ve touched, all you’ve done, everything you’ve seen, is for nothing. to choose oblivion is to turn your back on God. There is no greater betrayal. And once you do that, all that’s left of you is a monster.”Sam Thornton was colossally screwed. He did some bad things to help someone he loved and his black tinged soul was collected. Not a pleasant thing having your soul ripped out of your chest, but to further compound his suffering he is pressed into service to become a collector of dark souls. If he had any moral issues they are put aside as the BLACK surrounding the souls of those he is sent to collect make it clear that they have earned their appointment with the collector. He prefers slipping into the bodies of the recently dead while collecting souls. He can slip into the bodies of the living as well, but the endless screaming in his head of the living soul trying to reassert control is...well...annoying. All is going well, 90 years walking the earth, most of that time spent working as a collector until he reaches in to grab the soul of a teenage girl named Kate MacNeil, who slaughtered her family in spectacular fashion, and instead of the darkness of a normal collection he finds a soul bright, shiny, and untainted with sin. He can’t take the soul and by refusing to do so finds himself in the uncomfortable role of protector of the innocent, not part of his job description.LilithHe has a smoldering, sexy boss from HELL, Lilith. That first wife of Adam that no one wants to talk about. She gives him his marching orders and leaves him puddled with desire and self-loathing. She is puzzled at Sam’s reticence in refusing to collect the soul. A war is brewing between angels and demons, in no small part because Sam has mucked things up, and Sam and Kate are right in the middle of the shit storm.”Lilith approaches me then, and draped one arm around my neck, pulling me in close. Her body pressed against mine, and my head swam with the scent of her, all jasmine and spice and sex. I clenched shut my eyes to steady myself, but it wasn’t any use. As her lips brushed against my ear, she spoke.This vessel suits you, Collector--we could have some fun with it, don’t you think? It’s a pity they will flay it alive for what you’ve done. And who knows? Perhaps I’ll see you then. One way or another, I think I’d like to hear this body scream.”With a boss like that who needs homicidal co-workers or indifferent angels or vengeful demons...oh yeah he has those too. Because an innocent soul has never been damned before he has difficulty convincing either side that Kate; and by proxy himself, have been set up. A demon friend of his, Merihem, explains the situation.”Do you think either side wants a war? When last it happened one-third of our number fell--and all because a son of fire refused to kneel before a son of clay. You couldn’t begin to understand the world of shit that would rain down upon us all if one of our kind was caught damning an innocent soul to rot in hell for an eternity.”Things go from bad to worse and just when you think you have a handle on where the plot is going Chris F. Holm drops a beautiful twist into the blender and you, the reader, find yourself slack jawed with a buzzing in your ears like a grenade just went off in the room. Angry Robot Publishing has been on the periphery of my awareness for some time. They get style points for their cover designs. This one has a smudged and scratched appearance, despite being brand new, as if the book is a decade old and has been through the hands of several readers. It looks like a book that has been sliding around with a bunch of well thumbed porno magazines and greasy fast food containers for a couple of thousand miles in the cab of an eighteen wheeler or been left splayed open on the community lunch table of a factory for a month. They have several really interesting looking series they are publishing and I for one intend to check each and every one of them out. You can continue to be square by not reading an Angry Robot Book or you can come join the cool kids, and when I say cool I mean the nerds, and find out for yourself what little gems are waiting for you in this publisher’s catalog.

  • Nancy
    2019-04-13 12:30

    Posted at Shelf Inflicted 5 stars for the cover and the publisher name!I’ve been wanting to read an Angry Robot book and my friends’ enthusiastic reviews led me to grab this one from the library. I just wish I could muster as much enthusiasm for the rest of the book. I like noir and hard-boiled mysteries, but urban fantasy has been hit or miss for me lately and I’m not sure how I feel about combining the two.Still, this was a fun, gripping and intense story for 2/3 of the book, at least. Sam Thornton was once human. Now he is a demon without a body to call his own and has to find living or dead “meat suits” to inhabit in order to perform his job as collector of souls. His latest job is to collect the soul of a young girl who slaughtered her family. Only when Sam finds her, he learns her soul is pure and instead of taking it, he makes it his mission to protect her.Now that Sam has incurred the wrath of his boss, Lilith, and the angels and demons are about to start a war, he and Kate are on the run.This book was heavy on the action and dialogue, which made it fun and fast-paced and gave it a very cinematic feel. It was humorous and there were interesting flashbacks about Sam’s past and how he came to be a collector. I could have done without the helicopter hijack and the subway tunnel chases which for some odd reason slowed the pace of the book for me and I ended up setting it aside a couple of days. While Sam was an interesting character with a distinct personality, I found Kate and the secondary characters rather thin. By the last third, I got tired of the chase scenes and found the plot twists underwhelming. For a book about a flawed man who is trying to do the right thing, yet is doomed to be a servant of Hell for the rest of his eternal life, I would have liked some thoughtful exploration of Sam’s spiritual conflicts and his feelings about his gradual loss of humanity, particularly in comparison with the other demons.Not sure I’ll be continuing with the rest of the series.

  • Trudi
    2019-04-10 11:21

    This was a blast -- a seamless mash-up of pulpy noir goodness set in a gritty urban landscape featuring soul Collectors and very bad ass mofo angels and demons. Who would I recommend this book to? Fans of the movie The Prophecy most definitely. And to a lesser extent that movie Fallen starring Denzel Washinton and Elias Koteas (I love Elias Koteas). And if you've ever been a fan of Supernatural's angel-demon-apocalypse epic story arc then this is most definitely the book for you. Even though Dead Harvest is laced with all the delicious tropes of detective noir fiction, I would find it hard to believe that the author hasn't also been influenced by the Winchester Family Business. The references to 'vessels' and 'meat-suits' and fallen angels, and 'free will' and souls and a war on earth between the hosts of heaven and the legions of hell... well, I know the writers of Supernatural didn't invent this mythology, but they've certainly put their own stamp on it in a way that it shone through the pages of this book with the brightness of a soul ripped from its mortal host. That's another thing -- even the way the souls are harvested. I could not help but be reminded of this:Not that you have to be a Supernatural fangirl like myself to enjoy this book. Not in the least. Soul collector Sam Thornton is a great character -- and while I had an easy time picturing him as Dean Winchester -- he's also cut from the mold of classic noir detectives. He's an anti-hero with a past. He's stopped consciously looking for redemption but somewhere deep inside he still hopes for it. Even though his line of work whittles away his humanity one job at a time, Sam still manages to hold on to some of who he used to be. He smokes, he drinks, he curses. He's not impervious to fear, or to making stupid mistakes. Or to still long to "do the right thing." Never in his wildest dreams though, would he have imagined himself smack dab in an otherworldly conspiracy between angels and demons to kick-start a war on earth to bring on the apocalypse. You think either side wants a war? When last it happened one-third our number fell -- and all because a son of fire refused to kneel before a son of clay. You couldn't begin to understand the world of shit that would rain down upon us... While this book is largely a plot-driven, action piece, it also contains some great dialogue that had me snickering a few times:Just because you're thinking about stabbing somebody doesn't mean you have to be a dick about it."Is he - I mean, do you have to go..." she stammered. "Is he in hell?" I laughed. "Near enough - he's in Staten Island." The best part about Dead Harvest? It's a series and the sequel The Wrong Goodbye just became available. This is an Angry Robot book. If you've never heard of these guys, check them out. They are publishing some wickedly fine shit. I've become so enamored of their catalogue that I've given them their very own goodreads shelf. High praise indeed. Hope you check this one out. If you do, be sure to let me know what you think! Unless you hate it. Those thoughts you can keep to yourself. I won't mind.

  • Amanda
    2019-04-17 17:21

    You know those kitschy Chinese lucky cats? Yeah, well, next time you're dining at a local Chinese restaurant, you might want to pick up one, or two, or three to have on hand for when shit gets real. This is the most important lesson I learned from Dead Harvest, but you'll have to read the book to find out why.Sam has been merrily plucking the souls of the living for decades now, with no remorse. As a Death Collector, remorse really isn't an issue. Souls need to be harvested when their hosts are ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. It's all part of the complex system that keeps everything in balance between The Maker and The Adversary, as well as the host of angels and demons that do their bidding. And, all things considered, both the holy and the damned are happy with the arrangement and don't want to do anything to tip the balance in such a way that will usher in the apocalypse.That's why Sam hesitates on his newest assignment. When he is sent to collect the soul of Kate, a teenager guilty of torturing and murdering her entire family, Sam is shocked to discover that, as he closes his fingers around her soul, it is pure, innocent, blameless--and if there's one thing guaranteed to piss off those up on high, it is the reaping of an innocent soul by the damned. The evidence against Kate is irrefutable, but so is the spanking white condition of her soul. Until Sam can figure out the paradox, he kidnaps Kate, bringing all the forces of Heaven and Hell to bear on him.Another reviewer compared this to one long chase scene, which is apt. The action begins on page 1 and never lets up. But it's a clever chase scene, full of quirky (if sometimes underdeveloped) characters, a fun mythology, and sharp dialogue. It's Good Omens meets Elmore Leonard. As a Death Collector, the character of Sam is a likable anti-hero, wanting to do the right thing yet managing to make a fuster-cluck out of everything. His inability to live outside of a human body (living or dead) is a twist that creates several unique problems for an essentially immortal (though certainly not all-powerful) being, and it provides interesting narrative possibilities for future books. He prefers the bodies of the recently deceased ("meat suits") because he's not hindered by the internal monologue and pesky thoughts of sharing a body with a living host. Also, if a living host is killed while he's in the body, his soul is jettisoned out and into another body, which could be nearby or on the other side of the world. Because Sam still has a conscious, he doesn't want to destroy any living vessel he's "borrowed," but circumstances don't always make his choices so easy and his aversion to danger possible.I can't wait to get my hands on the second book (which features Sam on the cover, looking a lot like John Constantine--or is that just my imagination?). Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder

  • Carol.
    2019-04-01 14:26

    Dead Harvest comes to be by way of some very enthusiastic reviews of good friends, but I confess it missed me. While it started off well with an engaging character hook featuring a soul collector, by mid-book, I found myself bored by the repetitive plotting. I set it down for a week, returning only with the goal of providing a review. The brief: Sam Thorton is now a soul collector, harvesting souls bound for Hell. With the job comes the ability to body-hop, either by 'riding' a living body--and therefore fighting with the normal resident for dominance--or by animating a recently dead one. Sam finishes a job in England only to be sent to a collection in New York, his hometown. A young woman who tortured and killed her family is lying in the ICU, but when he discovers her soul is innocent, Sam refuses to collect. Sam and the woman go on the run through New York in a plot line that seems suspiciously close to The Transporter, minus the flashbacks that give background on how Sam became a collector.The story begins well, with an intriguing beginning and initially enjoyable writing style. Holm clearly has writing talent. Several choice phrases stood out for their vivid imagery:"By noon the place would be packed with people eager to exorcise the demon winter--couples strolling hand in hand through gardens rife with fresh buds...""My heart raced--the useless panic response of a fledgling meat-suit""The result was a tangled labyrinth of wrong turns and dead-end corridors, peppered with the occasional brightly colored map in what I can only assume was a fit of architectural sarcasm.""Man, I hope she tries to kill me, I thought. I could use a happy ending.""my head felt like it was full of angry bees."Unfortunately, there were also examples of less coherent and thoughtful phrasing to provide contrast:"I threw myself upward like a sit-up from hell, slapping away its hands and shoving the creature backward...""Something happened to its eyes that I'd rather not describe""I tried to force any thought of Kate from my mind, Which was about as useful as, I don't know, something not so useful."There were a few further missteps, most notably in dialogue feeling stilted and of the 'overly explanatory' variety. ("But why would you do that?" "Because..." yada, yada; long explanation in the middle of running from the police). The few flashes of humor that I found so enticing in the beginning don't really continue in a way that maintains the balance between tension and character. The most disappointing aspect was the general action-oriented storyline. As I picked it up expecting a noirish-urban fantasy mystery, what I found was almost entirely action flick, including awkward dialogue. The fugitives careen from major skirmish to major skirmish with very little investigating along the way. Various deus ex machina save them from being cornered. Despite Sam's body-hopping ability, he spends much of the chase battered, bleeding and nearly crippled. There is even--forgive the spoiler--a helicopter hijack. Call me slow, but it was then it dawned on me that this had about as much in common with a noir detective as the average Hollywood action script. Which is what it reads like--Chris Holm's calling card to Hollywood. Good for him--it appears screen ready.Truly for me, it was two stars on the enjoyment scale. I would have rated it a strong four stars until chapter ten or so, but the fugitive plot failed to entertain, and the creative promise of the collector was cancelled out by the leaden dialogue.

  • Brandon
    2019-04-14 14:09

    Sam is a collector. A collector of souls! You see, Sam's wife had contracted a strain of TB and in a moment of desperation, Sam accepted a sketchy employment opportunity from a gentleman named Dumas. While Dumas promised a complete recovery on the part of Sam's wife, he remained closed mouth on the true nature of his employment. Unfortunately for many, deals of this nature are extremely short sighted and if Sam possessed the foresight to know what his future would entail, he may have taken a little more time to come to his decision.Dead Harvest is what you get when you fill a casserole dish with equal parts detective noir, supernatural sci-fi, cover it with some snappy dialogue, pop it in the oven and broil the shit out of it. What you get is a recipe that will not only satisfy your palate but leave you hungry for more.I feel like Chris Holm had some excellent ideas here and you can tell he was influenced by some similar work that came before him (Hellblazer comics, Supernatural TV series, ). While I enjoyed the first installment in what looks to be a lengthy series, I'm more so excited of what's to potentially come. I'd like to think Holm can take what he's established here and build upon it, giving us a more complete picture of this world he's created. It's not too often that I walk away from a debut novel with such anticipation for future books.A lot of the supporting players came of a little bland at times, at least in comparison to Sam and Kate. That being said, there were times when Kate seemed like your average girl-in-peril. However, Holm lets her grow along with the story giving her a few chances to shock the reader.I'm really digging Angry Robot so far. This is the second book I've devoured that they've published and if this is par for the course for what they're releasing, I may have stumbled upon a cornucopia of entertainment. They certainly have some smart people over there - stay golden, pony boy.*Oh, and there's a nod to Lawrence Block.A few rooms in, a uniformed cop sat slouched beside an open door, his nose buried in a Scudder novel.

  • Tfitoby
    2019-04-04 16:19

    Formulaic plot told in a shiny way.Chris Holm has written an enjoyable book with cover art to die for. It's about this guy who loses his soul to a demon or whatever and has to collect souls for eternity or until they find something worse for him. But he doesn't want to this one time and because he doesn't the apocalypse is on the cards. Cue mad dash to save the world by discovering the real reason behind his hesitant approach to his given task.“Just because you're thinking about stabbing somebody doesn't mean you have to be a dick about it.”We've read this book before but without demons and collectors. Wise cracking noob who doesn't really know what he's doing but decides to break the rules because of a girl or whatever moral reason he has and has to survive his superiors, his enemies and save the world? Yeah yeah yeah, only last year I read Charles Stross using this exact plot in The Atrocity Archives and I enjoyed that one a little more. Perhaps it was his humour that bested this effort, or perhaps it was that really I'm not a massive fan of Urban Fantasy, or maybe it was just that Dead Harvest exists as one long chase scene that gets more and more obviously cinematic (read absurd) as it goes on. Oh yeah there's an unnecessary origin story thrown in to the mix at random irritating intervals as well; one tenth of this book is told in flashbacks, it's filler, I ended up skimming, essentially it works to shock you with "the big twist" at the end but if you didn't see it coming you won't care anyway because the twist lasts for a paragraph before it's put to bed. Holm is not a bad writer, he has crafted a fun story, he just gets a little repetitive in his word use and when he isn't he has obviously been hitting the thesaurus. Example, there's a concept that involves the reaction of a human to being possessed and somewhere towards the end when he's written every conceivable variation on "vomit" we are treated to what I consider the worst line in the book "an old lady starts spilling sick." I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I am removing a star for that line alone.“You ask me, I'd guess heaven and hell look pretty much the same, only in hell, everything is just a little out of reach.”Faults out of the way though, this was an entertaining read, it does Urban Fantasy in a way that I can get behind, hardboiled noir style. It moves along at a fair old whack like all good popular fiction for the masses should, there are a lot of interesting ideas and terminology thrown in - meat suits anyone? - plus the added bonus that I'm hooked for a sequel. EDIT: I should mention the secondary characters of Kate, Anders and Pinch, all three of them offer your traditional sidekick material and more; all are interesting in their own way, Anders especially, and whilst I was disappointed with the way Holm used and discarded them I think it was a bold move to avoid that one cliche of the genre for now. Sometimes a book doesn't need to be excellent to make you want to keep reading, look at the legions of fans James Patterson has, it just needs to be brilliantly entertaining, that this one is despite its numerous flaws is possibly the best thing I can tell you about it. Chris Holm writes almost as well as Ed Gorman. Need I say more?

  • Mieneke
    2019-04-04 17:14

    Two of my favourite TV shows of seasons long past were Dead Like Me and Reaper. Both of these shows dealt with characters who collected souls, though one was actually already dead, George from Dead Like Me, while the other, Sam from Reaper, was still alive, but due to a deal his parents made, he was a bounty hunter for the Devil, who retrieved souls escaped from Hell. So it isn't much of a surprise that when I read the above blurb for Chris F. Holm's debut novel Dead Harvest, I was immediately captivated, not to mentioned drawn in by that awesome, awesome cover! Unlike Dead Like Me and Reaper, however, Dead Harvest isn't a comedy; it's a dark, hard-boiled, thriller of a book that manages to combine urban fantasy and crime seamlessly. That being said, there are some really funny lines in the book as well.Dead Harvest has a great concept, a collector of souls with a conscience in a world where angels are pitted against demons, but angels aren't the nice guys either. The plot was interesting; I didn't figure out whodunit until the end of the book and even then I was a bit surprised and discovered I'd missed some of the clues. Sam spends the novel both on the run and investigating who set Kate, his collectee, up and why. This causes the breathers the characters receive to never last very long and make the book very hard to put down.Sam is a fabulous protagonist. He's a collector of souls, not because he wanted to be, but because he has to be. I loved that we got Sam's history as well and that it was relevant to the plot in the present, not just as an explanation how he came to be a collector, but in further ways that I won't go into to avoid undue spoilerage. Because Sam is technically dead, he gets around by possessing the bodies of others. This body switching is cool and I like that Sam is a good guy, in so far that he only picks dead bodies to take over, not just because the living blabber too much, but because he doesn't want to hurt them. Of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and during this book he's put in the position where he has no choice than to occupy a living body and we get a closer look at why he doesn't like doing so. The scene in which we first see him selecting a new body is funny, with him buying a paper from the city he needs to go to and opening it to the obit page, bemoaning the fact that so often it only contains octogenarians who died in their sleep.Sam is surrounded by an interesting cast of secondary characters, first and foremost of whom is Kate. She of the doomed soul Sam refuses to take, because he believes she is an innocent. Her character is as skilfully drawn as Sam's, maybe even better as Sam is a rather straight forward lead – a good guy forced into a bad job – where Kate kept me guessing throughout the book.  Sam is convinced she's innocent, but some of the others, both angels and demons sow doubt in the mind of the reader and Kate doesn't help her case at times. So I was never quite sure of her and the further along we got, the less sure of her I became and the more I started to analyse everything she said and did to try and figure her out. Another important character is Anders, who becomes Sam's assistant in keeping Kate safe. I liked how his seeming schizophrenia turns out to be nothing but a sensitivity to the other plane in which demons and angels exist and he truly sees things others can't, he isn't having hallucinations. One last character I wanted to mention, just because I really liked the reference is Lilith. She's Sam's handler, giving him assignments and checking up on him, but I loved that she was the legendary Lilith, meant to be Adam's first wife, but kicked out of Paradise because she had a mind of her own. Holm is merciless on his characters, the amount of damage Sam has to take is frightening and he doesn't hesitate to kill of characters either, some of which really made me sad. But it also gave the book an intensity that said 'trust no one' and nothing is as it seems.Dead Harvest is a phenomenal debut novel with a cracking plot and amazing characters, easily the best one I've read so far of this year's crop and it has set the bar high for those who are to follow! I can't wait for the second book, The Wrong Goodbye, which is due out in November. Do yourself a favour and go read Dead Harvest, it's worth every penny and every second, you won't want to put it down until you've finished it! Dead Harvest is due out from Angry Robot Books on February 28th in the US and Canada and on March 1st in the UK and the rest of the world.This book was provided for review by the publisher.

  • Sean Cummings
    2019-04-09 15:06

    I have a soft spot for anti-heroes. I think it all started with the movie Dirty Harry – no, scratch that. It started with Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. If you don’t know who Mike Hammer is, you’ve been living under a rock: think bad-ass private eye. Serious pulp fiction. Chain smoking, whiskey drinking, get the case solved tough guy with a soft spot for dames in distress. There’s a whole hell of a lot of Mike Hammer in Chris F. Holm’s just released DEAD HARVEST. Right from the pulp fiction style cover all the way to the very last page, you’ve got a character in Sam Thornton who is the urban fantasy version of Mike Hammer. No, he’s not a detective, but he’s gotta do detective work. Thornton is a soul collector – he collects the souls of generally very undesirable people and sends them packing. The book starts off with Thornton standing amid a pile of cigarette butts waiting to collect s soul and from the very first page, I knew I liked the guy. A lot. (I should mention that Sam jumps into the bodies of the deceased so he can actually carry out his function.)In short order, Sam learns that he’s got to collect the soul of Kate – the seemingly guilty party who apparently was caught in the act of whacking her entire family. Sam learns pretty damned quick that Kate didn’t do it, even though all the evidence points to her and BOOM! We’ve got a plot that keeps you turning the page to see what happens next. (I love it when the plot just grabs you and takes you for a ride almost immediately.)In the background to all of this is the eternal conflict between angels and demons. A lot of inter-office politics of biblical dimensions. A lot of “is Kate really innocent because damn, that evidence is AWFULLY convincing.” Another thing that Holm does really well is that he doesn’t hit you with an immediate info-dump as to how Sam Thornton actually became a soul collector. He weaves a solid back story into the plot with brief glimpses into Sam’s past and what’s more – this doesn’t have any effect on the flow of the book. I suspect this is because Sam Thornton is point blank, a great, GREAT character. He’s got a unique voice that’s a hell of a lot more different that what we see in many urban fantasy novels with a male protagonist. (And the number of UF novels with a female protagonist outnumbers the ones with men, so it’s really very refreshing to see a guy once in a while.) If we were to draw a scale as to what kind of character Sam is, put Sandman Slim at the far end of the scale with Remy Chandler on the other and Sam Thornton is about two thirds of the way toward Kadrey’s Sandman Slim. He’s as courageous as Harry Dresden and he’s as smart as John Taylor. He’s a whole hell of a lot of fun and DEAD HARVEST is a great start to a new series.I bought my copy as soon as I’d read Angry Robot Books‘ Tweet announcing it was release day and I couldn’t put it down. I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down either.So there you have it. DEAD HARVEST by Chris F. Holm is a shit storm of soul-ripping, chain smoking, anti-hero bad-assedness. From the gritty looking pulp fiction style cover right to the very last page, Holm delivers a knuckle-dusting blow to the solar plexus in his protagonist Sam Thornton. He’s a little bit doomed, a little bit damned and 100% shit disturber. You won’t be disappointed because this is a great read!But wait! There’s more! The second in the series comes out this October and it’s called, get this, “THE WRONG GOODBYE”. Baby, if that ain’t a pulp fiction title, I don’t know what is

  • Lou
    2019-04-15 11:20

    He is a collector he collects from those marked for collection. One routine job is about to prove troublesome something goes wrong.Whats to follow is he finds himself in company of a beautiful young girl with a harrowing and bloody past that she has no recollection of being part of.Humorous moments, interestingly original and supernatural.In a world where all is not what it seems and literally in this tale the main protagonist Sam 'the collector' knows and learns even more of this reality.If there is a soul needing collection, Sam the collector is the man to call. Be he a kind of ghostbuster but he's after souls a collector of the guilty stained souls. The taking of a pure soul is forbidden and would result in catastrophic consequences.The last thing the world needs is a battle between demons and angels.Behind the face of evil, the blood and murder other forces have a part, be it djinns demons whatever name suits your fancy, this influence is ever ready to woo you along or possess you to evils. With other characters featured in this story with names like Merihem, Beleth and Lilith you know your dealing with other dominions. Supernatural in a way that the tv-series Supernatural was thrilling, presented in pulpy and noir prose like the writing of Cain and Thompson. There are quite a string of soul taking stories appearing out there now, but this with the noir blend has an edge and a cut above the rest.He packs a twist in the tale and delivers with some nice lines of writing in this story.This looks to be a character that would be carried on with successfully in the next book. Holm looks to be a writer with a promising future and has a lot more to offer to his readers after delivering a successful debut. The scope of the book is very ambitious in a not easy genre/theme to write in."The truth is, there've been thousands. Some, like Gardner, are so damn surprised they never even see it coming. Some spend their lives in fear of the moment, and catch my scent a mile away; they beg, they plead, they scream. In the end, it doesn't matter -I always get what I came for. And I remember each and every one of them. Every face. Every name."Visit the Authors website @ http://www.chrisfholm.comPublishers website @ for an interview visit: How’d you get the Gun? A shotgunhoney interview with Chris F. Holm @ you do like it, there is not long to wait for book 2 keep September 2012 noted for release of Book 2 The Wrong Goodbye.(there is a taster chapter at the end of this book)

  • Mark
    2019-04-04 18:30

    Sam Thornton is a Collector: one of the Damned, eternally cursed to collect souls, usually by inhabiting recently-dead bodies and then touching the victim in question.He’s been doing it for a while and has that world-weariness of someone who has been undertaking work they dislike for a long time.The latest job seems straightforward: teenage Kate MacNeil was found by the police covered in blood and cutting her mother’s throat, after seemingly having repeatedly stabbed and killed her mother, father and younger brother. After being given the job of collecting her soul, Sam claims the body of a recently deceased corpse from the Belleview hospital morgue and goes to do the deed.However, things go wrong: Sam finds he can’t take the soul and ends up running away with the unconscious Kate whilst he works out what happened.Even weirder, Kate has no recollection of what happened herself.As discoveries are made, and it seems that Kate might be innocent, it’s clear that there are bigger issues at stake. The taking of an innocent soul could mean ‘some serious End of Days shit’. No Collector has ever refused to take a Soul before, because of the apocalyptic consequences that could occur. As a result, Sam and Kate end up on the run from others who want the job completing, as it seems that a War is starting between the Collectors and the Angels which could lead to the End-Days. But who is manipulating events, and why?It would be easy to summarise the book as ‘detective thriller meets the supernatural’ but it is a pretty glib summary. There’s more going on here than you might think. Sam is an interesting character himself in that he’s not particularly pleasant, at least to begin with, in a manner that’s rather more Charlie Houston’s Joe Pitt than Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Sam holds grudges and isn’t going to let this one go. As the book progresses, though, we see that perhaps this is just a front and that there are reasons for his nature. We discover how he became a Collector in 1944. By the end we realise that he has ethical values and is prepared to stand up for what he perceives as ‘right’, even though this may put him at odds with some seriously nasty things. This includes Bishop, the Collector who acquired Sam’s soul in the first place.This is a great book with the clipped style of a first person Hammett/Chandler detective film-noir, pared down to the basics:“Just because you’re thinking about stabbing somebody doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it.” (page 40)The book starts fast and keeps the pace up throughout. We go from the original incident to wider issues as it seems the episode is being used to escalate a War between the Angels and the Collectors. We meet the commanders of each side who are unwilling to believe Sam’s opinion. There’s a lot of running and hiding with Sam and Kate finding some unexpected allies, as well as meeting formidable foes. There’s a lot of collateral damage in the city, with police cars damaged, explosions at a hospital, an underground train wrecked, and a helicopter crash along the way as the police try to catch Sam and Kate and the Angels and the Collectors try to find them. The ending’s a big showdown, with a big revelation that connects Sam in ways previously unconsidered, and with a nod to events on a larger playing field that will no doubt be covered in later books. Comparisons between this and Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden are perhaps inevitable. Whilst there are basic similarities here, this is a much darker world. In Dead Harvest there is none of the humour Jim uses in Dresden to counterbalance the dark deeds. Consequently, Dead Harvest is quite bleak, but understandably so for one involving a member of the Damned. The interesting thing is that, unlike Dresden, where the reader knows that Harry will usually win out, the future for much of Dead Harvest is less clear for Sam. Nor are the motives of each of the characters in Dead Harvest totally clear. Throughout much of the book there is a possibility that Sam may have got it wrong and that Kate is not as innocent as he thinks, and as a reader we have a sense of doubt until the end of the book.Comparing again with Dresden, there are things that Sam does as a Collector that Harry would never even consider. Though Sam clearly hates himself for it, there are reasons. Where such actions would give Harry recurring issues that he would mull over continuously, here they are accepted as just part of Sam’s normal routine. As one of the Damned, Sam realises that what he does is wrong and yet he also believes he has little choice. So similar, yet different. In a crowded world of Urban Fantasy, it’s difficult to make an impression amongst the many, many tales out there. However, as far as urban fantasy goes, this is one of the most assured debuts I’ve read since first reading Jim Butcher’s first Dresden.The tale is capped by a great retro cover reminiscent of old-school Penguin Book covers of the 1960’s and 70’s, too!Its sequel, THE WRONG GOODBYE, follows in November 2012. Can’t wait. Recommended.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-04-09 17:26

    Have you made a deal with the devil? Worried about how your soul will be conveyed to its eternal torment upon the expiry of that deal? Not sure you can trust the Grim Reaper with so important a task? Never fear: the Collectors are here! And they are going to take you straight to Hell.Chris F. Holm mashes up the concept of the damned, human soul collector with the tradition of noir pulp fiction. Sam Thornton hops from body to body, preferring to possess dead ones, all the better for maintaining his tenuous link to his humanity. He travels across the world collecting the souls of the damned at the behest of his handler, the dangerous and sexy Lilith (yes, that Lilith). But when Sam tries to collect the soul of a 17-year-old who committed triple homicide on her family, he gets serious backlash. With no idea why Kate’s soul is pure, Sam nevertheless takes her on the run and becomes a fugitive from both Heaven and Hell while he tries to sort things out.Holm wastes no time propelling us into the main part of the story. We get a brief prologue that introduces us to the nature of Sam’s job, and then he’s off to collect Kate’s soul—a task at which he fails miserably. He finds himself in a catch-22, because failing to collect a soul is an act of rebellion that might trigger Judgement Day … yet collecting an innocent soul is also a J-Day trigger. So what’s a poor collector supposed to do?Sam’s answer is “run like Hell” for the entire book. This gets kind of old, fast, especially when he repeatedly attempts to stash Kate somewhere “for her safety”, she refuses, and then they end up getting attacked. While I suppose this structure is reassuring, it is also very formulaic. This is the result of Dead Harvest’s central problem: namely, the stakes are the same for the entire book.By dropping the apocalypse on us at the beginning of the book, Holm leaves the tension with nowhere to go but down. With each demon Sam encounters encouraging him to collect Kate’s soul, with each close scrape with the cops, Holm’s action-oriented writing entertains. But there is little question that, by the end of the story, Sam is going to prevail. There’s no sense that he’ll have to sacrifice—I mean, what has he got to lose? Aside from Sam, and maybe Kate, none of the other characters acquire more than one or two dimensions.Flashbacks reveal how Sam became a collector, how a demon dragged him into the sordid business back in the 1930s. Although I wasn’t a fan of how Holm scattered these throughout the book, I’m glad they are there; I liked learning more about Sam’s backstory. That being said, I might prefer reading that novel instead of Dead Harvest.This is a book where I really like the concept but have so many reservations about the structure and content … there are plenty of ways I can think of to improve it. I’d like to see a larger, more dynamic cast of characters. I wouldn’t mind more exploration of the mythos Holm has created for his angels and demons. Surely in his several decades of collecting Sam would have found more informants than a few piddly demons!After some more reflection, above all else, what would have clinched Dead Harvest for me would be more meaningful exploration of Sam’s existential crisis. Holm seems to do his best to hammer home the point that it is only a matter of when, not if Sam becomes as soulless and deranged as the other Collector, Bishop. And this is the most fascinating facet of the mythos Holm is creating: how do Collectors deal with their slow descent into Hell? Do they ever meet up to compare notes? Again, Holm spends more time in “thriller” mode than he does in more meditative modes, and this makes for a much less satisfying story.If, unlike me, you have more experience reading noir fiction, there’s a chance you’ll enjoy this book more than I did. For me, however, Dead Harvest was a hollow read.

  • Steve Weddle
    2019-04-16 18:14

    In this fantastic debut, Chris F. Holm brings his solid crime-writing pedigree from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine to an amazing supernatural story that is sure to thrill readers.I can see this appealing to fans of the TV show Fringe, to lifelong Dashiell Hammett devotees, and to scholars of the occult.While many people will talk about how deftly Holm marries the supernatural with his crime fiction, what will keep readers coming to this "Collector" series will be the flawless storytelling and captivating characters.Sam Thornton became a "Collector of Souls," damned to Hell, by doing what the best of us would probably have done in his situation -- sacrificing to save the love of his life. This first book in the series introduces us to Sam, giving us his past and his present as he battles for the future of -- and this isn't overstating it -- the whole planet.An absolutely breathtaking accomplishment, DEAD HARVEST is the book you'll be blathering about to everyone you know. My suggestion -- grab and read this one now, before you're playing catch-up to everyone else.

  • Josh
    2019-04-10 17:18

    The premise: a man with a tentative grip on his soul is forced to collect those of the damnedThe plot: the soul of a murderous young woman responsible for slaughtering her family is targeted to be the next in line for collection The twist: the woman’s soul is far from the deviant, violent, and evil thing Sam (soul collector) was lead to believe The investigation: Sam is forced to question his allegiance, faith, acquaintances and everything else to determine why this seemingly beautiful soul was set-up The ramifications: Sam has to do all this without laying the grounds for war amongst men, angels, and demons ‘Dead Harvest’ may well be the catalyst that drives the metamorphoses of urban fantasy into the noir realm. Charlie Huston has a new companion in Chris Holm, one whose craft encompasses the added element of the fantastical with just as much sleuth and sickly sweet violence as the Joe Pitt Casebooks. Despite the Michael Bay vehicular crash spectacular, this novel echoes the true to form noir/dark investigator persona right down to the title itself (which pays homage to the genre). Chris Holm does a great job of blurring the genre lines while maintaining a core linear plot, informative back-story which introduces readers to Sam’s soul collector origins, and an eye to the future with a broader all encompassing look at the ramifications associated with a budding war of good and evil. One of the greater aspects of ‘Dead Harvest’ is the character switching (the use of ‘meat-suits’ for souls to inhabit to walk the earth) which added an element of confusion to the protagonist and enabled the reader to closely identify with what the accompanying characters were experiencing. I liked the semi disjoined feel of a protagonist who can’t be described by a single physical description - this maintained an aura of mystery and complexity to the Soul Collector throughout the novel. Sam himself assumes the role of protector, not unlike Spillane’s Mike Hammer, in which his damsel is spared as much distress as he can influence. However, Kate, for her part was beautifully written and well portrayed as firstly a murderer, then victim, then murderer, then victim – I for one questioned her ‘innocence’ throughout, never quite settling on either side of the fence until the very end. Speaking of endings – I couldn’t pick this one, the complimentary cast is so varied that pinning down motive is almost impossible – great stuff. The verdict: 4 stars – From beginning to end, ‘Dead Harvest’ delivers, both in its unique platform, action, character depth, and classic whodunit overtones. I can’t wait to see where the events of ‘Dead Harvest’ take Sam next. This is one unique series sure to set the reader world on fire.

  • Ami
    2019-03-27 15:22

    It all started with a task ... Sam Thornton is a Soul Collector. His task is to collect souls of the damned. On his latest job, he must takes a soul of a 17-year-old girl, Kate, who tortured and killed all of her family members. However, when Sam touches Kate's soul, he realizes that hers is unlike any other souls that he has taken. Kate's soul is the purest white ... Sam realizes that there is no way Kate is one of the damned. So Sam does one thing a Soul Collecter hasn't done. He defies order and tries to find out who has set Kate up.Oh, wow ... and here I thought at first that it would be some sort of urban fantasy that I am used to read. But it's not. It doesn't have werewolves, or vampires, or zombies, or faes ... this is practically a thrilling supernatural crime story, involving demons & angels (which is one of my favorite tropes. See, after Sam decides that he needs to save Kate, he discovers that it involves a plot to start a war between Angels and Demons. So the rest of the book is how Sam and Kate dodge those demons and angels, while trying to uncover the truth. Sam is being betrayed, new friend being killed, a lot of casualties, intrigues, actions (one even involves a helicopter hijacking!), and really, really cool body swapping (remember Denzel Washington's 1998 movie, Fallen, where the demons can switch bodies? Yes, like that) scenes. There are also some flashbacks to Sam's old life, what drawn him (back in 1940s) to become a Soul Collector.A really good supernatural story.

  • Ramsey Hootman
    2019-04-07 11:33

    Urban fantasy is not usually my genre of choice, but I'm a pretty wide reader so when I saw this brilliant cover, I decided to give it a try. Yes, that's right, I just admitted to buying a book entirely on the basis of the cover art. I still think it's a brilliant piece of marketing, and it does pretty accurately reflect the content of the book: straight up pulp fiction. Given the premise that I was expecting pulp, I'm not really going to complain about the writing style, which was often clunky and unnecessarily convoluted. Dead Harvest is, in a word, cinematic. It felt as if the author had envisioned a screenplay and simply wrote out exactly what he saw on the screen. If you like reading highly visual books that feel like movies, you will probably enjoy this one. There's a lot of action, imaginative visuals, and whiz-bang.While I didn't mind the 'cinematic' style, I guess I was just hoping for a little more. Some insight or window of empathy into the hearts of our characters. I never really connected with anyone in this book and most of the characters seemed a bit like cardboard cutouts who did whatever was convenient to the plot (or momentarily clever) rather than staying true to a particular identity. Even the protagonist's agony, as a damned being, seemed woodenly rehearsed.So, overall, this book earns a "meh." It wasn't awful, but I'm not going to pick up the sequel. Even though the cover art is still awesome good.

  • Nikki
    2019-04-22 12:32

    Mmm, this was awesome. I love the cover, for a start -- I love that everything about it announces that it's a pastiche/homage/[whatever word is right] of noir crime fiction like that of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The title makes that completely obvious (Dead Harvest = Red Harvest, if you didn't get that), as does the name of the main character (Sam as in Sam Spade, Thornton as in Raymond Chandler's middle name), and I think the style works too. I think a lot of that is lost on some readers, but for me it just added to the genius of the whole thing.There's never going to be anyone that can do Chandler as well as Chandler, but Sam makes a decent shop-worn Galahad on his own account. I'm intrigued by the world, and interested to see more of the angels -- the demons don't seem that unusual, apart from Veloch, but the angels... I'm thinking of Supernatural, and Good Omens. After all, "angels aren't always the good guys" is a plot both SPN and Good Omens have done, and "trying to kickstart the apocalypse" is Good Omens, and then the involvement of Lilith and...Anyway, I'm interested to see how it develops. It took me a while to get into the swing of how much gore there'd be, but I found it pretty compulsive reading. I'm really glad I've got The Wrong Goodbye around to read, and an ARC of The Big Reap. Gotta love Angry Robot -- this is definitely a winning series for me. Tremendous fun.

  • Josh Stallings
    2019-04-14 14:34

    Ok, I need some time to digest and write a proper review, but here is the deal; Chris F. Holm is the real fucking deal. He writes like a man possessed and oddly enough about a man possessed, well actually SAM is the possessor. If you have read 8 Pounds:Eight Tales of Crime, Horror, & Suspense then I'm sure you have joined the cult of Holm. I was hooked and couldn't wait to see what he would do with a novel. And yes, it was worth the wait. Disclaimer - not a fan of horror, urban fantasy, suburban fantasy. I like my noir straight, no chaser or demonic battle for the survival of the human race. But damned if I didn't fall for this book. Between this and Stephen Blackmoore's City of the Lost I am having to revise my thinking. Not something I'm real good at. So screw Holm for making me change. Screw him and his wonderful book. Oh sure I'll be first in line to read The Wrong Goodbye - But I won't be happy about it.

  • Daniel
    2019-03-27 18:23

    Sam is a Collector. Long ago damned for committing a heinous sin, Sam is doomed to walk the Earth as a disembodied spirit that can collect the souls of men and women. Essentially immortal, Sam can slip in and out of human bodies (dead or alive) almost entirely at will (although he prefers to inhabit corpses, since the living tend to cause a mental racket when you take over their flesh). When Sam is ordered to collect the soul of a girl that Sam is convinced is pure, he disobeys orders and takes her on the run. Now Sam must find out who would frame an innocent girl for damnation, an act that could very well expose Earth to a final battle between the forces of Heaven and Hell.The story is actually pretty standard for books of this ilk. It is essentially a detective novel combined with elements of the supernatural (or spiritual), and never does the author really try anything new or creative in this regard. Having a very religious upbringing, I've read more than my share of books about angels and demons, and although the concept of a Collector is new (and not even really explained very well), the rest of the book is not.Furthermore, the author does not seem to have found his voice yet. Most of the novel sounds like it was cobbled together from phrases and passages that I have read in other books, with every cliched phrase present and accounted for, some of them more than once (eyes are black as night, demons barrel like freight trains, hearts are constantly pounding in chests, at least a dozen times muscles, woods, and metals "scream in protest" as they are bent). These old, worn-out descriptions are interspersed with only a few, fleeting moments where the author manages to write or describe something with a simple, poetic beauty.The rest of the book is either over- or underwritten. At any rate, it's all inconsistent. "I remembered the eyes of the false WaiSun, their blackness so absolute it reduced all thought of light to the fleeing recollection of a half-remembered dream," announces the same character who will later describe a Jacuzzi as "ginormous." All of the characters, in fact, from the powerful warrior angels to random motorists, talk with the same irregular syntax and characterization, and no one seems to have an interesting or unique personality.The book tries to make Sam a sympathetic figure; he is constantly whining about putting innocent souls at risk, or coming up with ridiculous reasons why he shouldn't jump into a body that isn't in the process of bleeding out (he spends most of the book horribly injured, but that never seems to slow him down). The book is peppered with ill-placed flashbacks that show the (mundane) reason why Sam became a Collector in the first place, but it doesn't change the fact that he is an unremarkable leading man.The story has helicopter crashes, giant explosions, and more than a handful of chases and close calls, and yet the pacing of the book is utterly without tension. The characters spend far more time bickering about what they're going to do than they actually spend time doing it. Every single choice turns into a debate, with characters very thoroughly explaining their motivations and thought-processes to each other. In one scene, seconds away from being flattened by a speeding subway car, two characters on the tracks make a critical and (obviously) time-sensitive decision. Then they actually spend time explaining to each other why they made those decisions. "Why aren't they now diving out of the way of the train?" I wondered. "Oh, yes. Because the author wants to make sure all of this makes sense, at the expense of making the reader feel like anything here is even at risk."This isn't even done consistently. Without giving away too much, I will just say that, at one point, Sam (very very very) conveniently discovers a magical ceramic cat that pretty much saves his skin. This cat's origins, power, and effects are never explained at all, but it plays a central role in the entire story. This is what I'm talking about. The periphery of the world is gone over ad nauseum, while key elements are given the deus ex machina treatment.The author wants to round out his world -- including its murky rules on angel and demon behavior -- but for some reason he chooses to do this almost completely with dialogue instead of narration. Characters who have just seconds ago escaped a horrible death sit calmly down and chit-chat about some of the rules of demonic possession, or what angels look like, or any number of other things that end up not affecting the plot at all. Adding to this, on at least half a dozen occasions, characters remind each other of basic plot points like they are actors from first season CSI ("We should check for GSR." "You mean gunshot residue?" "Yes, thank you for defining out loud an abbreviation that we both already know."). I stopped counting the number of times Sam reminded himself, someone else, or the reader that everything he was doing was to "stop a war of literally Biblical proportions." It, again, neuters the story of any tension or intrigue it would otherwise have.I really wanted to like the story. The last book I read was good, but ponderous and cerebral, and I was in the mood for something high-speed, high-stakes, and maybe even low-brow. This book, however, is slow, predictable, and not particularly engaging. Sam is immortal, so his death is never really a concern. Kate makes no sense as a character, so neither is hers. If she is collected, it could start a war between angels and demons, but since all of these beings seem slow, easily defeated, and not particularly bright, that also doesn't fill the story with much tension. The whole thing reads like a loud, incomprehensible action sequence, punctuated by forced ennui. The book lacks heart, muscle, brains, and guts, and for a novel about people collecting souls, that's the final death knell.

  • Milo (BOK)
    2019-04-11 14:26

    Original Post: Harvest, outside of The Dresden Files, is one of the few Urban Fantasy novels that I’ve read. And, whilst I don’t normally read novels in this particular sub-genre, (it usually takes something special, or a favourite author – to put out novels in this genre that I will read), I figured that I’d give Chris F. Holm’s very first novel a shot. Yes, you heard me, the spectacular Dead Harvest is a début. Which begs the question – why did it not feel like one when I was reading it? There’s a reason for that. Dead Harvest was utterly jaw-dropping. It impressed me, and has defiantly made it into one of my favourite novels (if not my favourite) of 2012 so far. Want to know why? Well, after a quick run-down of the plot, provided by the folks at Angry Robot Books, I’m going to tell you.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.“No.”File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Souled Out | Damned If You Don't | Collector Mania | On The Run ]The novel had hooked me right from the moment that I read the blurb. I wasn’t going to initially read Dead Harvest, mind you – the cover art put me off a bit at first, until I read fellow TFF member Djnn 24′s review of the same novel, which can be found here, as well as other reviewers who praised Chris F. Holm’s first novel.The pace in Dead Harvest, first off, is fast. You will find yourself flicking from page to page desperately wanting to find out what happens next, as the novel itself is far from predictable, with twist after twist which soon will have you knowing that nobody is safe, no matter how important they seem. That’s one of the ways in which Holm keeps the tension high, and one of the many reasons why I enjoyed the novel.Dead Harvest had a little bit of everything in this book it seemed, romance, well-written action and much more which kept the book enjoyable for me, as a reader – and there was never a dull moment, never a bit where I felt like skipping a few pages to advance the story. The plot kept twisting and turning, and I really enjoyed it.I haven’t read many novels within the author’s own setting that have anti-heroes as their main character, and I think the only one that I can recall from memory right now is Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. There seems to be a problem though with anti-heroes, you can’t really relate to them and therefore you don’t really feel sympathetic for them. Despite that though, I believe that Sam Thornton is a pretty likeable character. That’s just my opinion though, yours may change.And, there’s a lot of flashbacks in Dead Harvest, that explore the origin of Sam, and how he became a Collector. It’s a tragic past, and at no point does it feel like the pace is either slowing down or the novel is not going anywhere. Each new flashback, we learn a bit more about Sam’s past, and nothing is wasted space.Containing all the best elements of Urban Fantasy thrown into one, Dead Harvest is a novel that you’ll not want to miss, providing a refreshing break for veteran fans of the subgenre and a great starting point to newcomers.Another thing that leapt out to me whilst I was reading Dead Harvest, I felt that this novel would make an awesome movie, with several awesome scenes that would translate really well onto the big screen, and I hope that somebody makes it happen soon – as If there is a movie of Dead Harvest, I’ll defiantly be going to see it.Although Dead Harvest is Chris F. Holm’s first novel, he’s well established on the short story front and has written several – and has even been nominated for awards with his shorts, which I am defiantly going to look out for, as whilst reading Dead Harvest, I simply couldn’t put it down. It is a page-turner in every sense of the word.Verdict: 5/5The Collector Trilogy: Dead Harvest, The Wrong Goodbye (October 2012), (To be Confirmed).

  • Paul
    2019-03-29 19:11

    I have a confession to make – My name is Paul and I’m an addict, I’m hooked on Angry Robot books. There I’ve said it, feels good to finally get it out there into the open. Things got so bad that I’ve actively avoided Angry Robot publications for the last couple of months. Ever since I pronounced them my publisher of 2011 in December, I realised that I had to go ‘cold turkey’ for a while. There was a serious danger of me reading nothing but Angry Robot books all the time and getting stuck on one publisher doesn’t work terribly well if you are a book reviewer.Up until very recently I’ve done quite well. There has been the odd wobble (I’m looking at you Empire State), but with the exception of that one lapse my life has been Angry Robot free. I’ve taken each day one step at a time and I thought that I had my Angry Robot habit beat.What changed then? Why am I wallowing once again in the quagmire of bookish addiction? I have two words for you – Dead Harvest.I’m a sucker for novels, films and TV shows that deal with the subject matter of life after death, and the afterlife. The last great unknown is a fertile playground for any author, and Chris Holm has let his imagination have free reign in Dead Harvest. He has created a world where the forces of Heaven and Hell are locked in an uneasy detente, just so long as everyone continues to do their jobs.Sam Thornton, the novel’s main protagonist, has a crumpled world-weariness that makes his character immediately engaging. He has been ground down by having to deal with dark forces, demons and scumbags for decades. Such a long time in fact that it’s hardly a surprise that he has finally reached his breaking point. Sam’s one act of rebellion, refusing to collect a soul, starts a chain of events that could have dire apocalyptic consequences. Both sides in this cold war don’t appreciate anyone changing the rules, and Sam’s compassion could be the world’s undoing.I really like the fact that Sam is flying by the seat of his pants for nearly the entire novel. He has spent decades confined by his role but now he is working without the aid of a safety net, just making it up as he goes along. As Sam re-discovers what it means to no longer be bound by the rules of his curse his new found sense of freedom is palpable.Throughout the main narrative there are flashbacks that cover Sam’s introduction into the world of the Collectors. These glimpses into Sam’s past offer valuable insight for the reader. You get to discover the man that Sam once was and, more importantly, why he has ended up in the situation he finds himself in.Dead Harvest is available in multiple formats, as an ebook or paperback, and I have to say that in this case I would favour the paperback edition. Why? Well the paperback has some wonderfully evocative retro style cover art, definitely a handsome addition to any self-respecting bookcase. I was searching for a picture of said cover on the Internet and it appears that the second Collectors novel, The Wrong Goodbye, will be similarly styled. Kudos has to go to Amazing15 for some truly eye-catching designs.Dead Harvest is a fantastic entry into the every growing Angry Robot cannon. Fast paced dark fantasy that is likely to leave you wanting more. Be warned though, this is the literary equivalent of crack, and it is entirely possible that if you aren’t already, you are going to get hooked. Take it from someone who knows.Dead Harvest is released on 1st March 2012 in the UK and as available now in US/Canada. It will probably come as no surprise to learn that Dead Harvest is published by those fine purveyors of addictive literary genre fiction Angry Robot Books.

  • Nigel Bird
    2019-03-29 14:19

    There’s a lot of class in the writing of Chris F. Holm. Read his short works in ‘Eight Pounds’ or his entry in ‘Pulp Ink’ and that will become immediately obvious to you.Stepping up to writing a novel that’s going to engage and maintain the interest of the reader is a different matter entirely. I was confident Chris was going to pull it off, but one can never be sure.Apart from loving the author, I must say that it was the cover on this book that clinched my purchase. It’s retro-chic with scratches to boo. It shows a guy reaching into the chest of another man within a circle of light. If I had a pound for every person who came up and expressed an interest in it and then told me they thought it was a second-hand classic, I’d be at least £20 better off. Maybe I should have charged.The story is slightly outside my usual reading selections in that it involves souls and heaven and hell. Quite something to attempt as a debut novel, that’s for sure.Sam Thornton is the protagonist. He’s a collector. He picks up the souls of the damned and delivers them upon request. I suppose he’s a kind of bounty-hunter of sorts, only there’s no bounty and the guilty are always going to be unsuspecting. The book opens with him at work, the inspiration behind the cover image.Job done, Sam’s given another job. This time it’s to collect the soul of a young girl who’s brutally murdered her family. Problem is that when he reaches in to take her, he senses that she’s innocent. That being the case, he decides he needs to go against his bosses and save her – taking back an innocent soul will spark off a major war between Heaven and Hell, so it’s imperative that he does the right thing.The right thing’s not easy to fathom, however, and it’s made a lot more difficult given that when he runs away with the aforementioned girl he becomes the most wanted of the police, the angels and demons alike.What follows has the feel of a classically, hard-boiled, detective story that is full of the supernatural and has the energy of a chase thriller. And you know what? Chris pulls it off really well.There’s a lot of information to take in at various points about the types of spirit entities that exist. Like pieces in a chess game, each has its own moves and rules. Some need bodies. Others have no free-will. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Thankfully, these points are made with as little fuss or strained exposition as it’s possible to imagine. Sam keeps having to explain things to the girl he’s helping and to some of the people who help him along the way. What is important is that the rules were set and remained consistent, so that there was no confusion as the plot unfolded.Another aspect of the tale, possibly my favourite one, is the story of how Sam became a Collector in the first place. It’s woven through the chase tale and gives the inhuman collector a very human feel. It’s a short story of sorts and I’ve already pointed out that Chris is an artist in that field.I found the book to be extremely entertaining, often gripping and always kept me on my toes. I was also very satisfied and rather surprised by the resolution of the book. Which makes it a damned good read.The good news is that this is the beginning of a series and the opening of book 2 is at the back of Dead Harvest.My advice is that you should pick up a copy of this opener and I’m pretty sure you’ll give the follow-on serious consideration when it’s released.

  • Kristin(MyBookishWays Reviews)
    2019-04-19 17:08

    You may also read my review here: 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!

  • Andrew
    2019-04-22 14:14

    Ah what to do when work emails fail...(this review sort of gives it away)Anyway the book - I really enjoyed it, and so to find the other two in the series. But what about the book. Well I could say that this is just like a bus, you wait and wait for one to turn up wondering what you will do if nothing happens and then 3 turn up together - poor illustration but be patient. there seems to be a trend of one author coming out with a great book, creative idea and easy reading style which makes them a hit (and lots of money for the publisher) then suddenly the shelves are loaded with lookalikes which appear to be riding on the success of the first, now how many of us have seen or thought of this. Now I know that this is not the case it just appears that way as many books picked up, reissued and re-presented potentially where there first and so on but you cannot help but wonder sometimes. Well this book at first glance appears that way - amoral character, the good side of dammed, impossible odds, innocent in need of a hero, the supernatural walking among us, collecting souls in the name of higher powers - yep they are all here - in abundance. So what makes this stand out - for me is the characters they are not two dimensional clones lifted from other stories, its the dialogue - its snappy and realistic and believable, and its how those oh so familiar elements have been taken and subtly changed so that in act fact rather than reading something that feels oh so familiar I honestly felt as though I was reading something new and unique so yes I did enjoy it, and yes I will be looking to see what happens to our collector.

  • Lena Kirichenko
    2019-04-16 14:18

    Сэм Торнтон получил новое задание - забрать душу девушки-подростка, которая жестоким образом (в книге детальненько несколько раз опишут насколько жестоким) убила свою семью. Сэм берётся за рутинное своё дело (ведь он собирает души проклятых грешников уже много лет), но в момент, когда он уже готов отнять драгоценную душу Кейт, он осознаёт, что девушка невинна (а не подстава ли это, Сэм?) И тогда Собиратель душ решает спасти юную проблему и выяснить что к чему.*Забавно, интригующе, много сцен борьбы с ангелами и демонами, мало душещипательных моментов. Для всех, кто любит складное (но не философское) фэнтези про войну между теми, кто в аду и кто в раю.

  • Sabrina Ogden
    2019-03-25 14:17

    In college I dated this guy named Sam. Sam was a pretty cool guy that had a pretty big liking for watermelon. In fact, Sam liked watermelon so much he wrote watermelon poetry. He even wrote me a watermelon poem that highlighted all of the summer nights we spent walking hand-in-hand to the ice shack and eating – you guessed it … watermelon snow cones. “Hey, Hey Little Texas…” *sigh* I really wish I hadn’t thrown those poems out with the trash.But like all first loves (okay, maybe he was my… tenth), our nights holding hands and taking long walks while enjoying watermelon flavored ice finally came to an end. It was a difficult departure, one that ended with a broken promise by him, and an English essay written by me… A Watermelon Love Gone Bad. Talk about an understatement. I should have known by the little hints that he was giving that things were on the downside; his annoyance when I’d sing to the radio, calling me a second grader when I held him a little too long during a goodbye hug. But it was when he told me he couldn’t go to Homecoming because of his photography assignment for the school paper, and how he encouraged me to go with someone else that was the dead give-away. So I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I arrived at the dance with a blind date and saw Sam on the arm of the girl that asked to borrow my car to drive to the city so she could buy a dress for Homecoming, huh? *sobs* Sam was probably the first real love that ripped the ever-loving heart from my chest. It was an open wound I carried for months. Not even the perfect grade on my watermelon love essay could heal the wound Sam had caused. My sadness, though, eventually turned to bitterness, a deep bitterness for the name Sam that I didn’t even realize I had until I learned the main character’s name in Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm. Sam. Sam Thornton… the soul collector. Suffering from consequences of past mistakes, Sam Thornton has been sentenced to a life of collecting souls marked for eternal damnation, a cold and thoughtless job for the most part. You would think a soul collector would be just as cold as the job he’s been assigned to for the rest of eternity, but Sam… seems different.“The truth is, there’ve been thousands… Some spend their lives in fear of the moment, and catch my scent a mile away; they beg, they plead, they scream. In the end, it doesn’t matter – I always get what I came for. And I remember each and every one of them. Every face. Every name.”It was that very paragraph that made me like Sam. It was those words - his thoughts - which made me realize that regardless of his current situation, Sam Thornton… has a conscience. If he didn’t have that, Sam would have no reason to remember every face and every name of every soul he’s collected. But he remembers because he’s been where these people are. He’s had his soul taken himself. And every soul collected is a reminder of the past deeds that put Sam where he is today.The soul collecting is the consequence of choices made; daily realities so to speak, even a necessity. But the normal day-to-day soul collecting takes a different path for Sam when the soul that he’s been sent to collect blinds him with its pure light. Kate MacNeil may have been marked for damnation, but with the beauty that Sam has just witnessed, he’s certain that the assignment to collect Kate’s soul is a mistake. And it’s a possible mistake that Sam can’t ignore since collecting the soul of an innocent is a serious offense- one that could cause some serious fighting between Heaven and Hell. But whether or not Kate’s soul was improperly marked for damnation isn’t the only issue standing before Sam. Sure, taking the soul of an innocent might start a war between Heaven and Hell, but not taking that soul will start a more personal war against Sam, since he’s not really in a position to tell the demons that rule that he won’t be following their orders.But, yet… Sam does just that.Still a believer in doing what’s right, Sam takes Kate on the run to battle demons, past memories, and a replacement collector to snag Kate’s soul. In the story you’ll read about the murders that marked Kate for damnation, Sam’s struggle with his past as he uncovers the hidden secrets behind Kate’s demise, demon deals and murder, and the extraordinary sacrifice of a creature that was once an angel – before the Fall.Yeah, Sam might not be the most worthy in the group, but watching Sam turn from being Kate’s soul collector to her soul protector … well, damned or not, I’d let Sam Thornton snatch the soul from my chest any day of the week. Or… snatch the soul of the guy I dated in college.

  • sj
    2019-03-23 17:17

    Guys, look at that cover.  I love pretty much everything about it.  If I were ONLY judging this book by its cover, it would totally get ALL THE STARS.  Listen, though.  I don't generally judge books by their covers (okay, that's a lie, but you know what I mean), I like to actually read them before I get all "ZOMG THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVAR!!!"Before I go any further, click this and just let it play while you read the rest.  This was part of my reading soundtrack during this book, because I thought Book of Angels was entirely appropriate for a book about, well - angels (and demons and collectors and the FATE OF THE WORLD).Sam Thornton is a Collector.  Not of rare books or beanie babies, a soul collector.  He made some bad choices during his life and as a result, he gets to spend eternity taking the souls of those that are irredeemable.Sorry, it's nothing personal.Within the first few pages, we see Sam collect the soul of "Britain's Greatest Living Author" and receive his next assignment from his handler, Lilith ("I told you not to call me Lily").  I know, it seems like Lilith has become more and more popular in literature and television lately, but her character here is done really well.  From this short interaction, we learn a few more things about the world Holm has created.  Sam can be sent on "contract or freelance" jobs, meaning he collects not only those whose actions have damned them, but also those who've struck the proverbial Deal with the Devil.  DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN.  We also find out that Sam has no physical presence, he gets around by inhabiting the bodies of the living or recently deceased.  He prefers to take over the newly dead because he gets headaches from the living.  An empty vessel won't fight or be constantly yelling in the background.  Oh, and he smokes a lot.Sam's newest job is to collect the soul of a young girl that has just been caught murdering her family.  No big, he's been doing this for the last 60+ years so it should be a piece of cake.  Unfortunately, Sam runs into a complication he couldn't anticipate.  His current job's soul is pure.  Collecting the soul of an innocent would bring on a full scale war between Heaven and Hell, so Sam chooses an unthinkable option - he takes the girl and runs."You ask me, I'd guess heaven and hell look pretty much the same," I replied. "Only in hell, everything is just a little out of reach."The story that follows was what can only be referred to as Hardboiled Urban Fantasy.  Holm has obviously taken his inspiration from Hammett and Chandler, but put his own inventive twist to bring it forward into the 21st century."What kept this from being a five star book," you may be asking.  Well, let me tell you. (the rest of the review can be read by clicking the link to visit my blog, where this was originally posted)

  • Stephen West
    2019-04-15 15:10

    I received this book as a prize in a competition from the publishers, so had no preconceptions about it at all. But I quickly found that I couldn't put it down! The author has an incredibly engaging style, a gift for description, and a fast-moving plot that kept me turning pages to find out what was going to happen next. The supernatural elements are integrated into the gritty, noir style in such a compelling and believable way that you end up pretty convinced that yes, this is how things would work if angels and demons are real. An incredibly assured debut from the author, and I will certainly be on the lookout for more of his work in the future.

  • Peyotitlan
    2019-04-17 12:27

    One of the best books I have read in quite some time!A great premise and great pace and development. Once you understand the first jump, at the end of the first chapter, you're in for a treat.A very exciting book and very glad to see that there is more to come.Fantastic book, buy it! Do yourself a favour.

  • Tr0bl3br34th1ng
    2019-04-18 14:06

    I had been looking forward to reading this book for some time, and I have to say I was left disappointed. After an engaging start, the word I would most closely associate with my experience reading this novel is "underwhelming." While there is nothing inherently bad about it, nothing stands out positively either, causing the book to hang in the undesirable limbo of mediocrity. The plot is straightforward and formulaic with no deviations for ingenuity. The mythology feels largely derivative; copy-and-pasted standard tropes of the genre to the point of feeling like fan-fiction of more popular works at times. The characters, too, feel flat, bordering on stale. Characters I feel I've read and watched dozens of times over to the point they merely serve as vessels to tell a story and not genuine people I can invest myself in. And for a novel that hinges itself on one mystery, the climactic revelations lack any real inspiration. Answers that elicit closer to a shrug than a gasp.In summary, it would require a existing love of urban fantasy to squeeze enjoyment from Dead Harvest, and while it wouldn't be top of my list as a book recommendation there is enough mindless action within its pages to keep you occupied if you have time to kill.