The Soul Collectors, cover

A chilling thriller, CSI Darby McCormick faces a strange enemy. Young children go missing only to return years later in bizarre and macabre circumstances.

The Soul Collectors starts with a grotesquely disfigured Charlie Rizzo holding his family at gunpoint and demanding Darby McCormick meet him in the family home. Charlie Rizzo's presence is a surprise as he disappeared as a ten year old more than twelve years before.

arby arrives as part of a SWAT team and goes into the house alone. Before she can resolve the situation and discover what is happening a group of men disguised as SWAT officers burst in. They release sarin nerve gas and kill Charlie and all of the Rizzo family. A badly injured Darby escapes to discover her SWAT colleagues have been killed and she is on her own.

Just before he died Charlie Rizzo, whilst barely able to speak due to his mutilated face, tries to tell Darby what has happened and what he wants. The message raises as many questions as it answered.

Darby is rescued but is held incommunicado in a secure medical facility for biohazard victims. She discovers that the FBI is unhelpful as they are clearly scared by the events. After she escapes from the hospital Darby starts her investigations and finds herself being followed by the FBI and another, more sinister, group. With little help, she follows the trail and the story gets increasingly complex and bizarre until it reaches its conclusion.

Typical Thriller Characters

The characters are rather mixed some, like Darby, are clearly defined others rather less so. Like the heroes in so many thrillers, Darby McCormick is rather too good to be true. Multi-talented, she is as comfortable in the laboratory as with hand to hand combat as part of a SWAT team, or even on her own as an investigator. With the requisite flawed relationship, she is an archetypal thriller hero.

The story runs along at a good pace and will distract for a few hours of a journey or by a beach. As the story develops, the detail seems to get thinner and the events less well explained. Fortunately, it then reaches its somewhat unfulfiling end.

One suspects not many readers will return to read it again. Many aspects of the story may upset some readers featuring as it does child abduction, mutilation and gross disfigurement. It is not a pleasant tale and The Soul Collectors has few redeeming qualities or moments of lightness.

The Soul Collectors is a fast-paced thriller but probably not one for everybody.

The Soul Collectors, They'll Make You Wish You Were Dead(2010,ISBN: 978-0-141-04950-2) by Chris Mooney is published in paperback by Penguin at £6.99


First appeared on Suite101


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