Holm, Chris F. -- Dead Harvest (Collector, 1)
Noir, noir, very noir. The classical definition of the hardboiled
detective story -- pardon me if I get this wrong, it's not my field --
is the not-quite-fallen hero working on behalf of the
not-quite-innocent victim. This is a relentlessly literal take: Sam
Thornton is a damned soul, dead and Hell-bound. In his case, Hell is
the world of the living; he's charged with collecting the souls of the
worst sinners, i.e., people just like he was. Only his intentions were
good (pause for cliche); it doesn't count towards parole, or towards
anything else, but he tries to hold onto what humanity he's got.
Knowing that it will slip through his non-corporeal fingers anyhow.
Like I said, very noir. The setup is great; the book is not quite what
I was hoping. I guess it's a problem of familiarity. It's a
Milton-for-the-modern-age Christian cosmos, which has exactly no
surprises for anybody who grew up on Sandman and Hellblazer comics.
The big reveal at the end was a big "Yeah, this again" from me.
To be sure, the book has plenty of plot -- most of which consists of
cinematic chases, fights, helicopter crashes, manhunts, and an
intimidating bystander body count. (The bystanders are, to the
author's further credit, not faceless.) It was a fast
adrenaline-driven read. I may read the sequels. But I'm not getting
the sense that I'll get anything out of them, beyond the
moment-to-moment burn of danger.
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