Cover image for The soul catcher
Title:
The soul catcher
Author:
Kava, Alex.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Don Mills, Ont., Canada : MIRA Books, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
400 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781551669281
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"The Soul Catcher" by Alex Kava, critically acclaimed author of A Perfect Evil and Split Second. The third chilling story featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell.


Author Notes

Alex Kava is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She writes novels in the psychological thriller genre. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her two dogs Miss Molly and Scout. She writes a bestselling FBI profiler series which includes her character Maggie O'Dell.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kava dives headfirst into the headline-grabbing worlds of cult religions and FBI standoffs in this third novel to feature Special Agent Maggie ODell, whose profiler talents were first showcased in A Perfect Evil and Split Second. When a Massachusetts standoff results in the deaths of five out of six young cult members holed up in a backwoods cabin, things are bad enough. But when a U.S. senators daughter is found murdered in Washington, D.C."and her death seems to be related to the cult and its charismatic leader, Rev. Joseph Everett"the situation really heats up for Maggie and her partner, R.J. Tully. The case hits particularly close to both partners homes, since Maggies former alcoholic mother has joined Everetts church and Tullys daughter was with the senators daughter on the night she was killed. Will Maggie be able to solve the case without endangering her own mother? From the Ruby Ridge$like standoff to the inability of some spiritual leaders to sexually practice what they preach, the novel manages to humanize both the seemingly impersonal institution of the FBI and cultists who are normally just labeled as wacko. Kava uses a strong supporting cast to provide Scarpetta-like authenticity and the psychological insights of Alex Delaware, and gross-out levels are high enough to satisfy the Fear Factor contingent. Add to that a clever surprise ending, and this one is sure to be spotted all over the beach by summers end. Agent, Philip Spitzer. Author tour. (Aug. 5) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

Wednesday, November 20 Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on the Neponset River Eric Pratt leaned his head against the cabin wall. Plaster crumbled. It trickled down his shirt collar, sticking to the sweat on the back of his neck like tiny insects attempting to crawl beneath his skin. Outside it had gotten quiet - too quiet - the silence grinding seconds into minutes and minutes into eternity. What the hell were they up to? With the floodlights no longer blasting through the dirty windows, Eric had to squint to make out the hunched shadows of his comrades. They were scattered throughout the cabin. They were exhausted and tense but ready and waiting. In the twilight, he could barely see them, but he could smell them: the pungent odor of sweat mixed with what he had come to recognize as the scent of fear. Freedom of speech. Freedom from fear. Where was that freedom now? Bullshit! It was all bullshit! Why hadn't he seen that long ago? He relaxed his grip on the AR-15 assault rifle. In the last hour, the gun had grown heavier, yet, it remained the only thing that brought him a sense of security. He was embarrassed to admit that the gun gave him more comfort than any of David's mumblings of prayer or Father's radioed words of encouragement, both of which had stopped hours before. What good were words, anyway, at a time like this? What power could they wield now as the six of them remained trapped in this one-room cabin? Now that they were surrounded by woods filled with FBI and ATF agents? With Satan's warriors descending upon them, what words could protect them from the anticipated explosion of bullets? The enemy had come. It was just as Father had predicted, but they'd need more than words to stop them. Words were just plain bullshit! He didn't care if God heard his thoughts. What more could God do to him now? Eric brought the barrel of the gun to rest against his cheek, its cool metal soothing and reassuring. Kill or be killed. Yes, those were words he understood. Those words he could still believe in. He leaned his head back and let the plaster crumble into his hair, the pieces reminding him again of insects, of head lice burrowing into his greasy scalp. He closed his eyes and wished he could shut off his mind. Why was it so damned quiet? What the hell were they doing out there? He held his breath and listened. Water dripped from the pump in the corner. Somewhere a clock ticked off the seconds. Outside a branch scraped against the roof. Above his head, a crisp fall breeze streamed in through the cracked window, bringing with it the scent of pine needles and the sound of dry leaves skittering across the ground like the rattle of bones in a cardboard box. It's all that's left. Just a box of bones. Bones and an old gray T-shirt, Justin's T-shirt. That was all that was left of his brother. Father had given him the box and told him Justin hadn't been strong enough. That his faith hadn't been strong enough. That this is what happened when you didn't believe. Eric couldn't shake the image of those white bones, picked clean by wild animals. He couldn't stand the thought of it, bears or coyotes - or maybe both - growling and fighting over the ripped flesh. How could he endure the guilt? Why had he allowed it? Justin had come to the compound, attempting to save him, to convince him to leave, and what had Eric done in return? He should have never allowed Father's initiation ritual to take place. He should have escaped while he and Justin had a chance. Now what chance was there? And all he had of his younger brother was a cardboard box of bones. The memory brought a shiver down his back. He jerked it off, opening his eyes to see if anyone had noticed, but found only darkness swallowing the insides of the cabin. "What's happening?" a voice screeched out. Eric jumped to his feet, crouching low, swinging the rifle into position. In the shadows he could see the robotic jerks of the others, the panic clicking out in a metallic rhythm as they swung their own weapons into place. "David, what's going on?" the voice asked again, this time softer and accompanied by a crackle of static. Eric allowed himself to breathe and slid back down the wall, while he watched David crawl to the two-way radio across the room. "We're still here," David whispered. They've got us -" "No wait," the voice interrupted. "Mary should be joining you in fifteen minutes." There was a pause. Eric wondered if any of the others found Father's code words as absurd. Or for that matter, wouldn't anyone listening in find the words strange and outrageous? Yet without hesitation, he heard David turn the knobs, changing the radio's frequency to channel 15. The room grew silent again. Eric could see the others positioning themselves closer to the radio, anxiously awaiting instructions or perhaps some divine intervention. David seemed to be waiting, too. Eric wished he could see David's face. Was he as frightened as the rest of them? Or would he continue to play out his part as the brave leader of this botched mission? "David," the radio voice crackled, channel 15's frequency not as clear. "We're here, Father," David answered, the quiver unmistakable, and Eric's stomach took a dive. If David was afraid, then things were worse than any of them realized. "What's the situation?" "We're surrounded. No gunfire has been exchanged yet." David paused to cough as if to dislodge the fear. "I'm afraid there's no choice but to surrender." Eric felt the relief wash over him. Then quickly he glanced around the cabin, grateful for the mask of darkness, grateful the others couldn't witness his relief, his betrayal. He set the rifle aside. He let his muscles relax. Surrender, yes of course. It was their only choice. This nightmare would soon be over. He couldn't even remember how long it had been. For hours, the loudspeaker had blared outside. The floodlights had sprayed the cabin with blinding light. While inside the radio had screeched on and on with Father reminding them to be brave. Now Eric wondered if perhaps it was a thin line that separated the brave and the foolish. Suddenly, he realized Father was taking a long time to respond. His muscles tensed. He held his breath and listened. Outside, leaves rustled. There was movement. Or was it his imagination playing tricks on him? Had exhaustion given way to paranoia? Then Father's voice whispered, "If you surrender, they'll torture you." The words were cryptic, but the tone soothing and calm. "They have no intention of allowing you to live. Remember Waco. Remember Ruby Ridge." And then he went silent, while everyone waited as if hanging by a thread, hoping for instruction or, at least, some words of encouragement. Where were those powerful words that could heal and protect? Eric heard branches snap. He grabbed his rifle. The others had also heard and were crawling and sliding across the wooden floor to get back to their posts. Eric listened, despite the annoying banging of his heart. Sweat trickled down his back. His fingers shook so violently he kept them off the trigger. Had snipers moved into position? Or worse, were agents getting ready to torch the cabin, just as they had done in Waco? Father had warned them about the flames of Satan. With all the explosive ammo in the storage bunker beneath the floorboards, the place would be a fiery inferno within seconds. There would be no escape. The floodlights blasted the cabin, again. All of them scurried like rats, pressing themselves into the shadows. Eric banged his rifle against his knee and slid down against the wall. His skin bristled into goose bumps. The exhaustion had rubbed his nerves raw. His heart slammed against his rib cage, making it difficult to breathe. "Here we go again," he muttered just as a voice bellowed over the loudspeaker. "Hold your fire. This is Special Agent Richard Delaney with the FBI. I just want to talk to you. See if we can resolve this misunderstanding with words instead of bullets." Eric wanted to laugh. More bullshit. But laughter would require movement, and right now his body stayed paralyzed against the wall. The only movement was that of his trembling hands as he gripped the rifle tighter. He would place his bet on bullets. Not words. Not anymore. Excerpted from The Soul Catcher by Alex Kava Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.