'The Soul Collector' is the second novel in the Matt Wells series. 'The Death List' was our first introduction to the beleaguered crime novelist, who was singled out by the serial killer known as the White Devil. In the follow up, Matt Wells has no easier a time - the White Devil's sister, the Soul Collector, is out for revenge.
Following his experience at the hands of the White Devil, Matt Wells is now a wealthier (having cashed in with a novel about his time with the serial killer) but paranoid writer. Knowing Sara, his ex–lover and the White Devil's sister, is at large and determined to have her pound of flesh; Matt Wells has fastidiously prepared all who are near and dear to him for the event of her return. And after the brutal murder of his best friend, his paranoia proves to be well-founded.
In order to catch his tormentor Matt and his friends become underground vigilantes, spies, computer hackers, and overall commandos in the race to solve the riddle of the clue to the next victim, and to catch Sara.
The character of Matt Wells is astoundingly arrogant, and the regular reminders of his wealth are more than jarring. "I sat back on my £2000 desk chair and considered the name". As Matt Wells and his comrades dash around London in hot pursuit of the satanic murderer (or murderers), their military gadgets and secret codes are worthy of any young boy's fantasy play-time.
On more than one occasion I found myself snorting at the clichéd scenarios though; on finding his friend's body, Matt and his friends stand over the victim and pledge their rugby team mantra "No mercy, no surrender". From then on, as well as trying to obstruct Sara in her murderous rampage (with not much success), the main motivations for their actions are, "that's what Dave would have wanted". (You get the message).
Once the gangland murders between the 'Turks', 'Kurds' and 'Albanians' become entwined with that of crime novelists' murders; the characters become a little hard to track, as does their relevance.
Though my initial impression was that 'The Soul Collector' is a "boys' book", I found myself roped in by the bad soap opera plot; (Sara was also her brother's lover!), and the edgy pace, which hurtles towards the last gripping hundred pages. In spite of myself I was enthralled; half way through there was no putting 'The Soul Collector' down. Completely fantastical and truly entertaining, set aside your sense of disbelief and enjoy.