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Review: Dead Souls

Dead Souls: A Novel - J. Lincoln Fenn

I received a copy from Netgalley.


Almost a week after finishing this book, I’m still not sure I really know what to make of it. I sort of liked it. Certainly an interesting read. A supernatural horror story telling the story of Fiona who thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her, gets drunk at a bar and winds up chatting with a stranger and winds up selling her soul to the devil. The following morning is a boatload of regrets – but oh fuck, it actually happened.


Fiona is not a particularly likable character. She has a huge chip on her shoulder thanks to a bad childhood, growing up with drug addict parents who shoved her out the door at seventeen to make her own way in the world. Which she did, she moved to New York, and made herself a successful marketing career. She’s obnoxious, blunt and kind of a massive bitch. Though she has a very direct manner of saying what she thinks regardless of what anyone else may think. Amusing, but gets a little tiring after a while.  


The concept of the novel was an interesting one, after a drunken night and chatting with a guy calling himself Scratch, Fiona realises it’s not just a big con after all, he’s left a card – one favour to be called in at any time in exchange for the gift she requested in selling her soul. To make things worse, she gets a big shock when she finds out what her boyfriend was really up to. Nothing like what she thought and now she’s sold her soul and the devil can get her do any sort of “favour” when he feels like.


Though Fiona finds out she’s not the only one who sold her soul, and there’s a group of them, calling themselves “Dead Souls” others who are waiting for their favours to be called in. The discussion that obviously comes up – is there a way out of this deal? And the rest of the novel focuses on Fiona figuring out a way to double cross the devil to save herself and her boyfriend.


Fiona’s marketing skills come in handy in quite an interesting way, it’s quite fascinating as she figures it out, using a marketing degree in how to get one over on the devil. Of course, nothing is as it appears and the favours start coming in one by one and really gruesome things start happening.


It’s pretty grim stuff. But kind of addictive in the way that even though I didn’t really like hardly any of the characters in the book (with maybe the exception of Fiona’s boyfriend Justin, who was actually a pretty good guy and put up with a hell of a lot of shit from her) I still wanted to know what happened, and if Fiona was able to pull off the plan she put in motion.


But of course, when you’re dealing with the devil nothing is ever straightforward or simple. It all got rather gory and weird towards the end. I was with the plot until the very last chapter. I reread it twice before I got it, and admittedly it did kind of make me grin in a morbid way.


Don’t think I would read this again, but would definitely read another book by this author.


Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for approving my request to view the title.