Review

The Soul Catcher

Alex Kava

It's
interesting to watch a fictional character develop. Alex Kava,
creator of FBI criminal profiler Maggie O'Dell, has been slowly
fleshing out her creation for a couple of years now, a process
initiated in her debut novel A PERFECT EVIL, continued in her
sophomore effort SPLIT SECOND, and further developed in THE SOUL
CATCHER, Kava's third novel.

Two seemingly disparate events open THE SOUL CATCHER. The first
takes place in rural Massachusetts, where a standoff between a
squadron of men guarding an arms cache and a group of FBI and ATF
agents leaves five suspects and one FBI agent dead. The second
takes place in Washington, DC, where a Senator's daughter is found
murdered, with her body artfully, frightfully, posed. Maggie
O'Dell, an FBI profiler, is called in to work these seemingly
unrelated crimes. A connection between the two incidents is quickly
revealed, however: a charismatic sect leader named Reverend Joseph
Everett. The men guarding the arms cache were followers of Everett,
and the murder of the Senator's daughter took place following one
of Everett's rallies in the nation's capital.

The knowledge may do O'Dell little good, however, as Everett is
unapproachable. He resides in a heavily guarded compound, cut off
from the outside world except on occasions of his own choosing.
O'Dell has a potential "in," however --- her mother is a member of
Everett's church and is rapidly becoming part of his inner circle.
O'Dell must tread lightly, as her relationship with her mother has
never been close, and Everett has an almost radar-like ability to
ferret out what he considers to be betrayal. When more young women
are discovered ritualistically murdered in proximity to Everett, it
becomes more important than ever to determine if Everett is a
psychotic madman or if he is being framed for the crimes by a
criminal mastermind of such evil genius that he may never be
caught. O'Dell presses on with her investigation, unaware that she
may be exposing her mother, and herself, to terrible danger from an
unexpected source.

Kava is becoming expert at skillfully switching narrative
viewpoints, as she gradually draws disparate scenes together while
at the same time constantly keeping the reader guessing,
incorrectly, as to how matters will end. I thought on a number of
different occasions that I had things figured out. I was, at best,
only half-right. Kava also leaves enough personal plot lines
dangling at the end of THE SOUL CATCHER to keep readers impatiently
waiting for her next novel featuring Maggie O'Dell. Hopefully, they
will not have too long to wait.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

The Soul Catcher
Alex Kava

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Paperback: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 1551667010
  • ISBN-13: 9781551667010