by Lincoln Fenn
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 9 hours and 30 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he's the devil, she figures it's just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she's now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar "dead souls" - those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in...and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.
Dead Souls was twisted, an addictive tale that will have you avoiding strangers. The author has a flair for unfolding a story that pulls the reader in from the very first page. Add the smooth narrations of Julia Whelan, and you are in for one heck of a ride.
So the devil walks into a bar sits down next to you and……
Fiona Dunn for all her career success hasn’t had the greatest go with relationships. She falls apart when she seeing her boyfriend get into a taxi with a blonde. He is supposed to be out of town on a business trip. Feeling dejected Fiona stumbles into a bar and orders a drink before realizing that she forgot her purse and keys to her apartment. She can just add those to the list of things that go wrong because Fiona is about to sell her soul to a faceless man named Scratch.
While the premise is nothing new, Lincoln twisted it and weaved in vibrant, complex characters to engage the reader. When Fiona awakens the next morning, she is completely flabbergasted that she sold her soul even when she discovers her wish was granted. Scratch controls a corps of dead souls in Oakland. All have given their soul and can recognize each other by ah darkness or shadow surrounding them. Each carries a card from Scratch that contains the date they sold their soul and the words Favor followed by a blank space. The favors have devastating consequences, and we learn of some very infamous historical figures who owed the devil a favor making us cringe in anticipation. When your “favor,” is called, it will appear in the blank space.
Fiona befriends other damned souls. They meet in an old converted church. Ironically, the church is now a bar. They meet each week to share their woes an AA meeting for the damned. Eventually, their conversation gets around to escaping their fates. Alejandro is their leader. A photographer who is the oldest damned of the bunch, through him Fiona learns and plots. When Fiona learns of the “double-deal” she sets her mind to work.
Fiona is the perfect protagonist for this tale. She is flawed, successful, strong and bright. Her flaw is her insecurity, and at times she is desperate. She was easy to root for and identify with even when she is shocking. Fiona is looking for a way to outwit the devil and get the happily ever after she wants.
We get to witness twists turns and high body counts as Fiona moves towards the day when her favor is called in. Lincoln makes this horror story seem plausible in today’s work by weaving in actual events and people when explaining the devil’s existence and man’s wiliness to sell his soul. As we get further into the story, favors are called in, and horrific tragedies make the news.
The narrator Julia Whelan was new to me, but I enjoyed her voice. Fiona reminded me a little of Georgina from the Georgina Kincaid series and the narrated picked up on Fiona’s unraveling. I won’t hesitate to listen to another book if she narrators.
OMG, Lincoln had me completely caught up in this game of cat and mouse. I held my breath as Fiona tried to out maneuver Scratch and the others. The ending for Dead Souls delivered everything a reader could hope for in a horror story. I found myself squirming as Lincoln delivered an ending that satisfied me and left me craving more.
Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn delivered thrills and chills when the devil walked into a bar Click To Tweet
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