Top positive review
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A great find!
on August 30, 2011
I came across this book while I was reading the fourth book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series (which has proven to be a real chore, by the way, but that's another review...). As it turns out, it was a welcome diversion. "Wizard and Glass" almost reads like a history book, but "A Soul to Steal" grabbed me from the beginning.
First and foremost, I would say this is more of a character piece that just happens to be against the backdrop of a horror storyline. Actually, I'm not even sure I would characterize it as straight-up horror. If I had to categorize it I would say it blends aspects from character-driven drama, horror, thriller, whodunnit, and even some romance thrown in to boot. Yet it remains a coherent piece throughout, and at the end of the day what you get is the story of two lost souls trying to find peace in a lonely Virginia town.
Which brings me to one of the strongest aspects of the book: the location. It takes place in a colonial-era town in Virginia, so rich with history that you can't help but think there has to be a ghost or two floating around. The town has an almost otherworldliness to it, making it the obvious place for fear to settle in and make itself at home. The book starts out dealing with two journalists who work for this quaint town's newspaper, both of them haunted by nightmares (both figuratively and literally). But it eventually and seamlessly evolves into a conflict that is much larger and far more relevant than the sleepy town in which it takes place. Reality and the paranormal seem to flirt with each other throughout the book, and when they finally meet the story charges like gangbusters towards the end.
The two main characters are as human as I have ever read. They are real people just trying to navigate their way through the crazy events they find themselves in, and they do it with the kind of humor and awe that I hope I would have were I in their shoes. Equally real - frighteningly so - is the portrayal of a serial killer, whose letters to the local newspaper are chilling in their matter-of-factness. He's really the perfect villain for a small town, since he's so lighthearted about the whole thing you could easily imagine him being your grocery bagger.
All in all, this was a great read, and I'm glad I gave it a chance. I can't wait to see what else the author has coming down the pipeline.