Another addition to the America’s Got Talent (showcasing new writers) slot in Harrogate is Chris Mooney. His latest book The Soul Collectors is his sixth novel I believe (at what point do people stop being classed as ‘new’ authors?)
Children are kidnapped and their bodies never found. Years later their fingerprints are turning up at fresh abduction sites. When Derby confronts one of the kidnapped children who has now grown up and is holding his family at gun point he is found to have been horrifically mutilated. The gang behind this are surrounded by an army of ghouls who try to hunt down Derby, as well as numerous agents in high places trying to cover the operation up.
This book is quite chilling and gruesome in places which I liked. The killing of one man trapped in a room full of poisonous spiders was incredibly scary, and when the spiders later reappear above a little girls head in a plastic prison its quite disturbing. (This could of course be because I hate spiders)
However there was something about this whole book that was just ultimately disappointing. The ending was a complete anticlimax and felt like it just stopped. It was as though the author had written himself into a corner with no way of getting out. There was no explanation as to why the group were kidnapping and then creating a mutilated army. I’m afraid that if it was meant to be some statement on life or culture then it passed me by.
The main character was a women called Derby, who again seemed to me to be quite unbelievable. She was completely indestructible, running away from her captures despite being starved of water and food for what seemed like weeks. (Food maybe, but it’s a fact you die without water after a couple of days) Throw in a couple of broken ribs and she really was a female terminator. I don’t really mind this as books are meant to sometimes be a bit unbelievable, and to test your imagination. However to me her language didn’t feel like the kind of phrases that a female would say, and I’m sorry to say I thought it obviously written by a man.
There was also some sloppy writing, such as on one page she is described as never leaving home without a hair band on her wrist, then a few pages later her hair is getting in her eyes as she had forgot to tie it back. That along with the use of my most hated phrase ‘in her mind’s eye’ meant that alot of this book was not great. There was also a completely unnecessary love story thrown in. I felt as though the author was trying to prove to us that Derby really was a woman as she was in love with her best friend. All a little clichéd I’m afraid, and did not fit with the terminator image that the author seemed to be trying to portray in other bits.
I would however say if you like a bit of scary reading then it is certainly worth trying as its quite a quick, if slightly complicated read with lots of characters involved. The descriptions as mentioned are good and right up to the last few chapters I was keen to keep reading to find out why this group were doing what they were doing, unfortunately I was to be disappointed!