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The Big Reap (Collector (Angry Robot)) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Jul 2013


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (30 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857663429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857663429
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 682,112 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

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since the publication of Chris F. Holm's first Collector novel, Dead Harvest, I've been a fan of the series. I absolutely adored books one and two and book three lived up to my expectations and more and had me once again guffawing out loud at Sam's dry wit. For those familiar with Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, the title gives some clue of what to expect from the novel as it's a word play off of Chandler's book, but there are some twists Chandler himself wouldn't have thought of. Like the previous book, The Big Reap retains the gritty, noir flavour in its story-telling, but in some places it's actually a little darker in tone than anything that went before.

The plot seems rather linear with Sam charged to go and take out the Brethren, a group of rebel Collectors. But it turns out to be far twistier than that. I liked the notion of the Brethren being the people even Hell can't handle and the various members of this exclusive group we meet are suitably unpleasant. He gets to play a game of follow-the-bread-crumbs with these Brethren, being put on the trail of the next one by Lilith once he defeats his current target. The Brethren are a corrupted and twisted lot, but at the same time they're also tragic figures, driven mad by immortality. In many ways what remained of them was less than human and it seems as if killing them was more a mercy than a punishment.

As with the previous books we learn more about Sam's past in The Big Reap. In this story we witness his own Collection, subsequent awakening as a Collector and his first reap, which is an epic one. We also learn more about Lilith and their complicated friendship. I love that we learn more about Sam and his relationship with Lilith.
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By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Aug. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third volume in The Collector series after Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye. If you haven't read either, you may find this review a bit spoilery, in which case stop now. (In that case I'd also recommend reading the other books first: if you read this book you will probably want to read them anyway, and although this part is perfectly good as a standalone, it does give away a fair amount about their plots).

Sam Thornton is The Collector - bound, after agreeing a Faustian bargain, to the service of Hell, specifically, collecting the souls of the damned, under control of his "handler" the mysterious and glamorous being Lilith. In the earlier books, we learned how that happened, and some of the politics of Heaven and Hell, as well as the coven of rogue collectors called The Brethren. In this third volume, which picks up directly from the end of the second, Sam turns his attention to them.

It's noticeably different in concept to the earlier books: the plot is much less twisty, even more gore-filled and violent (with, I think, one of the most disgusting methods of travel to trouble the gentle reader of a horror novel: just wait) and with fewer plots-within-plots, reverses and revelations. But we have the same wise-cracking, hard-boiled Sam and the same paradox of what (despite his crimes) seems to be a basically good man forced to do Hell's bidding and feeling his soul die a little more with every bodily possession, every reaping he carries out.

The book is immense fun, as were the earlier ones, and I don't object to the gore.
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By Derrick Young on 24 Feb. 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Very much enjoying the series and characters in this grim reaper series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What do you mean, there's no fourth book yet? 30 July 2013
By sj - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You know those books that you want to tell everyone to read, but when asked to describe what they're about, you kind of draw a blank because even tiny details venture into spoiler territory? Chris F. Holm's third book in The Collector series, The Big Reap, is one of those books.

Let me backtrack a bit, stay with me.

Last summer I read Dead Harvest, then a few months later got my hands on an ARC of The Wrong Goodbye. Both made my end of the year lists for all the right reasons. I've been waiting as patiently as possible for The Big Reap to pop up on NetGalley and on Tuesday morning I woke up to no less than 3 (THREE!) people letting me know it was available (sidenote: Do I have friends that know me, or what?).

Thanking my lucky stars that Angry Robot has me on autoapprove, I ran downstairs, booted up my laptop and added it to my reader.

I then spent the next 43 hours ignoring things that needed to be done around the house, and only took brief breaks to sleep, eat, write ranty posts and pretend to my kids that I wouldn't rather be reading.

Was it worth the wait? Oh, hell yes.

So now it falls to me to try to convince you all that this book is perfect for your summer reading lists without spoiling the crap out of it.

And that's the problem.

All of the things that impressed me the most, that will stick with me and cause me to re-read the series again from the beginning are things that you don't want to know going in.

I thought when I started reading that I could tell everyone this would be a decent place to start, that reading the first two books wouldn't be necessary because this stands so well on its own.

Heh, SO. WRONG.

I mean, okay - so the recap of the previous two is handled deftly and in such a manner that you won't be LOST if you don't read them BUT the final third won't have as much impact if you're going in blind.

Here's what you need to know before starting:

Sam Thornton made some poor decisions in life, for the best possible reasons. Because of those poor decisions, he's stuck spending his afterlife as a Collector for Hell. He tracks down the people who's souls are owed, working alongside his handler, Lilith (yes, THAT Lilith). The first book deals with a Collection that shouldn't be happening, the second is more of a buddy film road-trip. Both are excellent, but neither are as good as this one.

We get the story of Sam's first ever Collection, and OH MAN IS IT A DOOZY. There are other things that all tie back into what we've read before, and you really get a sense that the development we see here has been building since book one.

The Big Reap is the most ambitious of Holm's Collector stories so far, and the payoff at the end is huge. HUGE.

What I think you should all do is set aside a portion of your summer for these books. You can thank me later.

...or, I mean - you can thank Holm for writing the stories, but THEN you can thank me for making you read them.

[pats self on the back for not giving anything away]

(Originally posted at booksnobbery.wordpress.com)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
That's It! Everyone Out of the Dead Pool! 22 Aug. 2013
By Wag The Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I liked Dead Harvest, and I loved The Wrong Goodbye, so I kind of had my hopes up when I started on the first page of the third book of Chris Holm's Collector series, The Big Reap.

Sam Thornton has been collecting souls for so long, hopping in and out of bodies and losing a shred of himself each time hes does, that he feels a little less human each day. He's really human anymore anyway, what with selling his soul to save his tubercular wife and serving eternity as a reaper of wayward souls, but what remains of his humanity feels like it's eroding faster than he had anticipated. The events of the previous two books are finally catching up to him. Now, Lilith has tasked him with hunting down the Brethren, a group of Collectors turned monsters. They're humanity is entirely gone and now that it's been discovered they can be destroyed, that's precisely what Sam has to do.

The novel actually feels like a collection of novellas interluded with flashbacks to one of Sam's first collection jobs during World War II. Through the flashbacks, we get a much richer history of his relationship with Lilith and how he got roped in with her private agenda and manipulations. Any time you can mix up Nazis with the occult, it's a fun time seeing those evil buggers get some supernatural comeuppance. Back to the main story, though. The Brethren, those Collectors gone rogue, serve as a wonderful homage to the famous monsters of classic horror. Each one that Sam has to hunt down is reminiscent of iconic characters like Frankenstein's monster, werewolves, vampires, and even one tentacular adversary I particularly enjoyed.

Given the episodic nature of each mission Sam goes on in this book, along with the flashbacks, the story can feel a bit disjointed, even jarring with how the focus shifts or jumps back and forth. But The Big Reap actually does more to give readers a closer look into Sam Thornton's past than the two previous novels, and the revelations that come about surrounding his roll as a Collector and his allegiances with those close to him just put this book on a new level. It's still great, pulpy action the whole way through, but it feels like the attention to Sam's character development was intensified a good deal.

If you have been keep up with this series thus far, this third installment will not disappoint. Readers new to the series should be able to get a lot of enjoyment from the story, too. The back story is delivered in drips and drabs that should help newcomers catch up on what's happened already, but you really should check out the first two books to get a full appreciation for the story. Some heartfelt drama amid the horror and hullabaloo make The Big Reap a big standout in the class of 2013. Don't be surprised if it winds up on my favorites of the year in a few months time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A must read! 30 July 2013
By Vanessa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved it! The best of the three books. Holm better controls his characters, his universes and his collector, Sam.

Speaking of Sam. We feel that he distances himself from his human side: he finds it more and more easy to "wear" a living human, whereas in the first books he sought only corpses (I recall that Sam is a damned soul who can't live by himself, but must have a body). We follow his questioning because he doesn't want to lose his humanity, but we also follow his discoveries about the ease with which he possesses the living. There is an internal struggle between the facilities that brings him a living body (credit cards that work, relatives who do not believe you're dead and scream when they saw you ...) and his intransigence of the beginning when he only sought bodies not to traumatize people and not to risk getting them killed (which is easily done in his occupation). So we learn a little more about what he thinks and feels, on who he is actually!

As for the other characters, it was a pleasure to meet back some of the protagonists of the previous books - I won't give their name in order not to screw the pleasure of discovering who returns - even if they're easily guess (because ultimately there is few people we really want to see again, right?) We also learn a lot about Lilith and her story, which I really enjoyed because it allows a better understanding of her actions and reactions.

Let's talk about the humor, because one thing is for sure, this book is stuffed of it - as in the previous two books, which makes these über cool books to read. There is a certain ferocity and cynicism in the dialogues that make them as funny as addictive - dialogues that are often followed by action and hordes of hemoglobin! The fact that Sam possesses human gives way to spread very funny quips for those who like black humor (which I love).

Finally, the story itself and the action, because this book is full of action. I enjoyed the flashbacks of the first collection of Sam and his introduction by Lilith as a collector because it allows us to see the progress made by Sam who is doing better and better. The flashbacks are found in some places in the text and are so well written that the fact that they cut the story do not interfere at all, on the contrary, because they provide a better knowledge of Sam and Lilith. Some might believe that the act of collecting souls might be a bit deja-vu (in the previous two books) and that it is difficult to make it an interesting concept but Holm yet manages to make a breathless story and not at all boring, because each collecting is different. And action ... Action! By reading this book, I thought several times that it would make a great action movie, a kind of blockbuster that would move!

Finally, the weak point of the book (it has to have one right?) Sam is the only collector in charge of collecting the souls of the Brethrens and then I thought, "but why just him. It's not like Hell has shortage of labor, it does not make sense. Ha ha, I have found a flaw in the story? "And well no, the explanation will be given and all will become clear because, dear reader, Chris F. Holm will not let you down, nor leave anything on the sidelines, you'll have the answers to your questions and more. So, no weak spot? Ha! Yes: the book is too short!

Well, I guess my review is totally subjective after all, cause I really like that book!

In a nutshell

A real page-turner to devour without moderation! I highly recommend this book if you like urban-fantasy, black humor and action. This is undoubtedly the best in the series and it will probably not be the last (at least I hope). A must read!

(Originally posted at vanessa-s-bookshelves.blogspot.ca)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great addition to the series 30 July 2013
By Steve Weddle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
FULL DISCLOSURE: I've had the pleasure of chatting with the author online and have interviewed him a few times for my blog. He is a nice person.
--
THE BIG REAP feels like its the payoff for Dead Harvest (The Collector) and The Wrong Goodbye (Collector), but it's also a fine entry for readers new to the series.

Those who have been along for the first two book already will appreciate the nods to earlier stories and the threads being tied up and, i some cases, things that had been tied up nicely coming unraveled.

Having read all three books, these characters have become part of the past couple years of my life. They're drawn so well, it's as if I was reading about things that really happened, in one sense. And yet, with the battles between Heaven and Hell and the demons and the angels and the soul collecting and the bugs and all, I'm pretty sure it was just made up.

For fans of Jim Butcher's DRESDEN files or anything Charlie Huston has done, this is a good series for you.

Also, there's a section about Keith Moon.

Like I said, this book is the perfect third in a series -- it at once feels like the close to a story-arc and, yet, it opens up possibilities for more stories to come.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
My name is Cheffo and I'm a Holm-a-holic 30 July 2013
By CheffoJeffo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I didn't mean for this to happen. Hell, a year ago I didn't know who Chris F. Holm was.

Somebody, somewhere in the Twittersphere posted something about some war between the covers of Dead Harvest and Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds. Curious to see what could possibly compare to Joey HiFi's beautiful rendering of Miriam Black, I rushed over and (like a dutiful little minion) cast my vote against the pulpy goodness of Dead Harvest. But I was intrigued.

Clever title. Creative cover design. Memories of books from my youth. Creased and stained. Well-loved. Never discarded.

So I fired up KindleGadget and clicked away. Read it and wanted more, so I went back and clicked again. "Hey, he's got a collection of shorts on sale." Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Hey, he's got a story in this collection over here." And again. A quick look at today's KindleGadget shows that I have 3 Collector Series, 2 collections of Chris F. Holm shorts and at least 1 anthology containing his stories.

Somewhere I crossed a line and there is no way back.

For me, The Collector has always been the best part of the series that bears his name. I loved watching him in Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye as he moved uncomfortably, even regretfully, through his world, trying to save ours.

It seems that Sam Thornton has taken one too many trips to Guam and stopped by the duty-free for a couple of bottles of Smart-Ass and a gallon jug of Bad-Ass. There is no hesitation nor any self-deprecation as he proceeds with his assigned task of destroying the Bretheren (a group of former collectors who long-ago escaped indenture and have been hiding in our world ever since).

Sam finally seems to be comfortable in other people's skins and it rings through in the narrative, conjuring cheers of laughter as I read. Old friends and frightening new, yet familiar, enemies round out the cast and we finally get a good look at Lilith, the sultry handler from hell. Each new reveal feels like a forgotten gift found hidden against the wall under the backside of a Christmas tree.

A Collector story would not be complete without the deft application of flashbacks to shed a little light on the world of The Collector and his journey through it. As in the previous two books, the backstory and exposition do not interfere, but rather complement the narrative. I particularly liked the contrast as we watch Sam's character change. And change again.

Holm closes The Big Reap by opening a door and giving us a brief glimpse at what might be.

I can't wait.

(originally posted at cheffojeffo.wordpress.com)
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