On the run,
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This review is from: The Wrong Goodbye (Collector 2) (Paperback)
Sam Thornton is a Collector - a damned soul fated to work for eternity harvesting others like him, gradually losing his individuality and identify as he dispatches evildoers to their own punishment. His superior in this is the elusive creature Lilith who appears at critical points to give Sam assignments (and deliver crucial information). It's reminiscent of the Hell-as-hierarchy (or lowerarchy?) of The Screwtape Letters though much, much rawer - the same kind of gulf in style and content that separates a Sherlock Holmes or Dorothy L Sayers story from hard-boiled pulp.
In "Wrong Goodbye" Sam is on the trail of a "friend", who has made off with one of Sam's target souls - a soul Sam must produce within three days, or suffer unspeakable punishment. To recover the soul, Sam embarks on a chase (and crime spree) across the USA, aided by the reanimated corpse of a gangster and pursued by insects, demons and the police. The irony of the whole conception is, of course, that Sam may be damned, but he's always trying to do the right thing and so save the world - whether this means taking on demons or even angels (who come across as a pretty unpleasant, priggish bunch).
That may all sound a bit silly - and it has its flaws: I'm still not sure why Sam's old friend had to involve him in this at all, and Lilith seems to have gone from being a truly scary, if seductive, spirit, in the last book to downright supportive here - but it does work, and while I enjoyed the first of Holm's Collector series, Dead Harvest (Angry Robot), this is better story. It's more evenly paced, more varied in tone with a greater range of challenges for Sam to overcome and a more interesting central premise and more credible (if I can use the term - I mean, credible within the constraints of its universe. That's a a good sign for the series, which looks likely to continue.
Definitely recommended. (And it has a lovely cover, which looks like a grimy old pulp novel - get the paper copy not the ebook, it'll be good on your bookshelves.)