Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Big Reap by, Chris F. Holm

The last thing I remember was dying.

The opening line grabs you, right? Want to read what's next? Damn right, you do.

Starting just minutes after Goodbye ends, we meet up with Sam at the grave of fellow Collector Danny. If you don't remember, Danny was the Collector in the last book who wanted to perform a ritual to free himself from his Collector contract. The ritual was performed by a group of nine Collectors thousands of years ago and produced the Great Flood (you know...the story of Noah?). Sam is picked up by a man calling himself Simon Magnusson, who it turns out is actually one of The Nine. He has plans to put Sam in suspended animation, but Sam fights back and ends up killing Simon. Realizing The Nine can be killed, the truce between them and Heaven and Hell is torn apart and Sam is tasked with collecting the souls of the remaining eight.

If Dead Harvest was Chris F. Holm's tribute to pulp fiction and The Wrong Goodbye was an homage to road/buddy movies, then The Big Reap is his love letter to the old Universal horror movies. Slogging through The Nine, Sam encounters a Dr. Frankenstein type, a Mexican monster (Chupacabra?), werevolves, and even a Dracula wannabe. This is the creepiest, pulse-poundingest installment of The Collector series yet.

Reap is not just about chills and thrills, it's about choices. Our choices define who we are and the choices The Nine, and Sam, have made over the years either enforce or destroy their humanity. In previous books, Sam typically possesses the bodies of the recently dead, but in this one he possesses mostly (entirely?) living bodies. He keeps telling himself it is only because it's the expedient thing to do, but he does start to wonder if he's losing what little remaining humanity he has.

I don't know if Holm is cooking up more Collector books, but whatever he writes, I'm going to read it.

The Collector series is highly recommended.


David Cranmer said...

Holm's series is essential.

Ricky Bush said...

I actually started this series with "The Big Reap". Chris does a good job of bringing a reader up to speed on what his protagonist is all about. Now, I'll start at the beginning. Great tale this one!

StephenD said...

David - agree. And thanks for all your work on Beat to a Pulp. It's because of your site that I know Chris and Hilary Davidson.

Ricky - I wondered how a first-time reader would react, but I had a feeling it would be easy to pick up.

Chris said...

Thanks, all! For the record, Stephen, I hinted at el Chupacabra, but if you want to know a secret, that creature owes more to my childhood love (and fear) of Alien. Of course, mine lives in tunnels,not the corridors of the Nostromo, and strings people up to bleed them, not impregnate, but still. One of the rare non-Universal monsters to appear.