DEAD SOULS by J. Lincoln Fenn


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An uninhibited thriller with a dash of social commentary where the devil is in the details.

Fiona Dunn is a pisser of a character—a go-for-the-throat marketer whose suspicions about her live-in, Justin, get her into a spot of trouble. She trails Justin and sees him enter a taxi with another woman while supposedly traveling out of town on business. The answer of course is to go to a bar to drink away her sorrows, where she is plied with drinks by a dark, charming stranger. Scratch, the pickup, is also an intriguingly crafted character—a dark force with a wry sense of humor, he's a rather likable guy until he tells Fiona exactly who he is. He is, it turns out, the devil, Satan, real name unpronounceable, and he strikes a deal for Fiona’s soul that gives her the power of invisibility at will, so she can spy on her wayward partner. This has to be the archetype of a bar tryst gone bad. Scratch controls a cadre of dead souls in Oakland who meet in a converted church to discuss their woes and plot their escape, under the direction of Alejandro, a photographer who charms Fiona after seeing her dark pallor—the sign of the damned. Scratch has sealed the deal with all these wayward souls by giving them a business card stating their date of soul-selling and a blank space titled “Favor.” When the time comes, the blank fills mysteriously with a deed and instructions, and the novel turns gruesome in the acts. The implication is that the mass murders, the unconscionable acts of terror of our contemporary times (and all time) are the result of selfish deals with the devil—these acts are Favors, the payment due the devil. Fiona commits her obligated soul to turning the tables on Scratch and righting many wrongs. The countdown to Fiona’s Favor is a thriller of a chase with a wicked but not-so-elevating ending.

A wild, well-written novel that fuels suspicions about what might be going on in our oh-so-unbalanced world.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-1093-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016


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