His name used to be Sam Thornton. He was by all accounts a good guy. As he put it, "I paid my taxes. I went to church. I didn't litter." Sam was a loving husband, too, and his wife was suffering from tuberculosis. Out of work, Sam runs into a man who can not only offer him work, but also pull strings to get his wife into an experimental program to cure TB. What else could he do? Sam takes the job, running errands for a crime boss. His wife thrives in the new program; indeed, her tuberculosis is cured. Then, as Sam puts it, "It all went to shit."
Sam's boss was a demon of sorts, but when Sam killed him, he did so assuming he was human. Thus, according to supernatural law, Sam was damned. He became a Collector. His job is simple. He's assigned a person with a damned soul. He stalks that person, then reaches into his or her chest, removes their soul, and buries it somewhere.
We join him on an easy case. His mark is a famous poet. Sam grabs his soul, buries it, and he's done. His next case is far more problematic.
Kate MacNeil is a teen in New York City. One day, she killed her little brother and father, then tortured her mother until her screams caused the neighbors to call the cops. The NYPD burst into the luxurious apartment, and Kate slit her mother's throat.
She ended up in a New York hospital. When Sam went to collect her soul, he found it was full of light and goodness--there's no possible way, he reasons, that she killed her family on her own. She must have been possessed.
And off we go into a wild chase through New York City. Sam and Kate are running for their lives. The cops, plus angels and demons are all in pursuit, and if something goes wrong, the armies of Heaven and Hell will be at war. Then it will go to shit for everybody.
This was a fun book. Sam is an entertaining narrator, and he and Kate befriend some unlikely folks during their travels. I couldn't help but smile, too, that Kate--who was possessed when she killed her family--has the same surname as the possessed girl in "The Exorcist." (Regan MacNeil, i.e.).
"Dead Harvest" is one long chase scene, and I liked the way Chris Holm melded the horrors of NYC with the hierarchy of angels and demons.
This is listed as "The Collector #1." I'd be curious to see what happens in future installments. "Dead Harvest" wouldn't make my top ten favorite books list, but it was a fun read, fast-paced and interesting. Just perfect for us "meatsacks" to enjoy over a weekend.