Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm – review

Dead Harvest is a triumphant debut that felt like the book I’d been waiting on for years without knowing it. I grew up loving science fiction and fantasy, and still enjoy it a bit though the prose can be ponderous in many of the titles. But here, Chris takes the elements of imagination and grand story line, and infuses it with the lean story telling that characterizes crime fiction. What emerges is not merely a piece of crime fiction with supernatural elements, but rather a genre bending work that examines the impact of deceit, anger, vengeance and choice in a fantasy setting.

The hero of the story, though that is not a role he seems to relish, is Sam Thornton. Sam collects souls. Not out of joy or malice, it’s just his job. Doesn’t like it much, but can’t quit. He’s collected quite a few, and doesn’t ask many questions. Until he goes after Kate. She’s different. It doesn’t feel right. Sam’s not sure why not, but he does the unthinkable. He leaves her soul.

As the story progresses, Sam seeks to uncover the truth of the events that led to her marking. Along the way he uncovers plots and schemes that could have cataclysmic consequences. However, Chris keeps the story focused tightly on Sam and Kate. Exploring how the schemes of those behind the scenes drive them to run and struggle against daunting odds.

This is a novel that appeals to lovers of crime fiction, fantasy and the best elements of pulp fiction. This is the first installment in a trilogy of stories about Sam. I look forward to seeing what trouble he gets into next. He made a few enemies in his quest for the truth, and he doesn’t seem to be among the most forgiving of people

R Thomas Brown

R. Thomas Brown is the Flash Fiction Editor at Spinetingler and writes the Short Thoughts on Short Fiction series. His writing appears around the web and links can be found at his website. "Hill Country" will be coming out in 2012 from Snubnose Press. When not writing or reading, he is a clueless husband and father of three inspiring and exhausting children.

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About R Thomas Brown

R. Thomas Brown is the Flash Fiction Editor at Spinetingler and writes the Short Thoughts on Short Fiction series. His writing appears around the web and links can be found at his website. "Hill Country" will be coming out in 2012 from Snubnose Press. When not writing or reading, he is a clueless husband and father of three inspiring and exhausting children.

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