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Customer Review

71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great find!, August 30, 2011
This review is from: A Soul To Steal (The Sanheim Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 16, 2012 7:46:18 PM PDT
Shmonkey says:
I would have to disagree on the location being the strongest aspect of the book- it's actually why I stopped reading it. I've lived in Loudoun County for over 20 years and Leesburg for 2, the inaccuracy was getting to be a bit too much. Where in Leesburg can you reasonable think a horse might be outside your apartment? NO WHERE! Maybe it's not noticeable to others but for me I found the name dropping (of locations) far too distracting. For example, why can't it be just be at Starbucks, why does it have to be Leesburg Starbucks? It reminded me of performers who mention the town they're playing in just to get a "WHOOOO" reaction from the crowd.

Admittedly, I have not gotten far in the book (couldn't get pass the constant location name dropping) but I would argue that the town is not "colonial-era". I mean, Purcellville and Middleburg... Maybe...? "Rich with history"? Meh, not any more than any other towns in USA. "Otherworldiness"? Hardly. It kind of sounds like you're describing Colonial Williamsburg and trust me when I say that there is nothing Williamsburg-ish about Leesburg or any of its surrounding towns.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 11:14:49 AM PDT
E. L. Sapp says:
I have not yet started the book, so cannot comment on that. I do understand your distaste for the location-dropping. But keep in mind, most people are not going to have the perspective that you do on the town.

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 5:33:01 PM PDT
Lol, I love your "non-comment" on King 's Dark Tower book. I have, to best of my knowledge, every King book out there, but I stopped reading the Tower series cuz it's all too tedious.

Oddly, I have had the ebook version of A soul to Steal in my Kindle collection. I just saw this promotion and was reminded that I should read it. I read your review, and now I'm doubly inspired, you seem to think like me. Thank you! :-)
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