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Dead Harvest (Angry Robot) Paperback – 1 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot Books (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857662171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857662170
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris F. Holm was born in Syracuse, New York to a mother from a cop family and a father from a long line of fantasy and sci-fi geeks. He wrote his first story at the age of six. It got him sent to the principal's office. Since then, his work has fared better, appearing in such publications as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, and THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011. He's been longlisted for a Stoker Award and nominated for an Anthony, a couple Derringers, a Silver Falchion, a pair of Spinetinglers, and a handful of House of Crime and Mystery Readers' Choice Awards, even racking up some wins along the way. His Collector novels recast the battle between heaven and hell as old-fashioned crime pulp. Chris lives on the coast of Maine with his lovely wife, writer and reviewer Katrina Niidas Holm. No, she hasn't reviewed his books.

Product Description

Review

This gripping supernatural adventure gives a whole new meaning to possession is nine-tenths of the law --Charles Ardai, Edgar award winning author.

About the Author

Chris Holm was born in Syracuse, New York, the grandson of a cop with a penchant for crime fiction. It was the year of punk rock and Star Wars, two influences that to this day hold more sway over him than perhaps his wife would like. His stories have appeared in a slew of publications, including Ellery Queen s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock s Mystery Magazine, Beat to a Pulp, and Thuglit. He has been an Anthony Award nominee, a Derringer Award finalist, and a Spinetingler Award winner. He lives on the coast of Maine with his wife and a noisy, noisy cat. When he s not writing, you can find him on his porch, annoying the neighbours with his guitar.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dead Harvest is a dark urban fantasy. The book is interesting because it manages to be thoroughly supernatural and yet keep the fantastical elements to a minimum by casting heaven and hell, angels and demons, into everyday landscapes and people. By that I mean, the world is portrayed as we know it, with the souls of the fallen and blessed dwelling in individuals. Thornton `borrows' bodies to undertake his collections. Holm writes in an assured style with engaging prose. The contextual material is well thought through and conveyed and Thornton's back story is nicely told. The characters have enough depth for the story to work but, except for Thornton, are fairly sketchy and a little under-utilised - it would have been nice to find out a bit more about Anders and Pinch, for example. The plot is nicely structured and tugs the read through the story. The first two thirds I thought worked very nicely. The latter third seemed a little rushed, transforming into a kind of caper, and the believability factor, which even in fantasy is calibrated, dropped - Thornton and Kate repeatedly manage to escape encounters in which they really should have perished and the timings felt a little off. It seemed as if the story had slipped from indie production to Hollywood blockbuster, although it's fair to say that in the right hands Dead Harvest would potentially make a good movie. Overall, an enjoyable read that excels on premise and contextual construction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emmster TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sat and read this in two evenings due to a) the wife being out - hence the television stayed off, and b) I found it hard to put down.

First things first: it's written in the first person. If that gives you the shivers - probably best to back away now!
Second things...second. If you have viewed and enjoyed the film "Constantine" then chances are you'll enjoy this book. There are many similarities - but the plot is better and Keanu doesn't feature.

I've seen/read quite a few tales of the eternal struggle between Good & Evil being played out in the earthly realm. This is definitely in my top 10. I liked the character of Sam Thornton, finding him to be immediately likeable and progressively more interesting. I enjoyed the gradual reveal of his back-story via flashbacks interposed within the main story-line.

Chris Holm made the peripheral characters pretty light-weight, sacrificing depth for plot velocity. I have no issue with being given only hints at a character's past as I quite enjoy unchaining my imagination to fill in the blanks. Being in the first person - lots of exposition would have (In my not-so-humble opinion!) slowed things down considerably, making it a very different book.

The criticism I have is directed against the final third of the book. The pace hits light-speed, and for me, it seemed like Chris H. crammed his A2 sized vision on an A5 page. There were a couple of moments where I fell out of my totally engrossed state thinking "hmmm, I'm not sure, even with my 'willing suspension of disbelief', that I believe it...". Once where a scene was just *too fantastic* and the other where the timings of events didn't add up. I agree with another reviewer who mentioned it seemed to get a bit 'Hollywood'.

That said - I will definitely buy the second in the series and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in this sort of material.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Review: Sam Thornton collects souls and sends them on to Hell, as payment for something htat happened years ago. One day, he's sent to collect the soul of Kate Macneil, a young woman who was caught in the middle of brutally murdering her family. But when he gets there and finds her in a coma, the brightness of her soul tells him she's innocent. He can't send her to Hell-that would start a war. Instead, he refuses the job and helps her escape, leaving them on the run from humans, angels and demons.
I've wanted to read this since before I started blogging -I had a period of needing to read EVERY Angry Robot book ever published because they seemed awesome (i'd just gotten into spec fic properly) and although I probably won't do it with all the other books I need to read, I can try.
The introduction of Sam is of him hopping bodies-he possesses them, and leaves them when the job's done. I liked this idea, and it helps move the plot on in places too.
Throughout, we get little pieces woven in to how Sam got where he is, both in job situation and look on life, and I liked that this brought us closer to the character, who we already see quite a bit of in that he refuses orders despite risks. Kate is a really nice character, and you want them to succeed (ie get out of this alive). The non human characters especially had varied and unique motives, and uncertainties to those made the ride mor9e interesting.
The getting Kate out happens very quickly, within the first three chapters, and it keeps going from there. The plot moves on quickly, and isn't slowed down by the flashbacks or the writing style. Action happens frequently, and there isn't anywhere you think “meh. Bored”.

Overall: Strength 4 tea to a fast paced fantasy with a main character you always want to know more about. Definitely reading on
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Format: Paperback
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.
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