Top positive review
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Back for seconds
on 10 September 2008
Having given us the frenzied plot-driven The Death List in 2007, Paul Johnston is back again with The Soul Collector. And make no mistake, this will grab you by the shirt front and won't let go. The loveable son-of-a bitch lead character Matt Wells is back. It's a couple of years on from his brush with the White Devil and is still a little bruised from the event. Living in luxury after his non-fiction novel about the White Devil has become a world-wide best-seller, Wells is in a relationship with DI Karen Oaten.
The Soul Collector is clever in all the right ways: it's plotting is a little out of the box with it's mixture of all things serial killers; a touch of Golden Age puzzle solving (Colin Dexter would approve); a large dose of machismo bravado, and the emotional exploration of fledgling love. And as quickly as these elements are laid out, you know you are in the hands of a writer whose inventiveness continues to excite his readers.
This time around it's the Devil's sister out to take bloody revenge on Wells but is she also responsible for killing his fellow crime writers? Throw into this the racial confrontation between East End Kurds and Turks and you have a multi-layered plot that will keep you entertained to the end.
If you thought Johnston had worked out all his anger against the writing community in The Death List, forget it. He writes what he damned well wants to in ways you'd never expect. The sheer inventiveness of the story keeps The Soul Collector continually interesting.