Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Soul To Keep - Melanie Wells

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Soul To Keep
(Multnomah Books - February 5, 2008)
Melanie Wells


As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits and a staple gun…

It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year…graduation day. And her little friend Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seen to lead nowhere.

The police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces of a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.
Like water rising to a boil, My soul To Keep’s suspense sneaks up on you…before you know it, you’re in the thick if a frightening drama…Superbly crafted.”
---ROBERT LIPARULO, author of Deadfall, Germ, and Comes A Horseman
Written with passion, a good dose of humor and, dare I say it, soul, this novel reminds us that we all, with grace and good fortune, bumble our way toward salvation.”
---K. L. COOK, author of Late Call and The Girl From Charmelle

Dylan Foster is perhaps the most neurotic, obsessive compulsive, emotionally immature person I have ever met in fiction – especially since she is supposed to be a 30-something-year-old college professor. She has a flippant attitude toward God and His power, is lacking many social skills, is very undisciplined and chronically late. Is it any wonder in this world that her boyfriend is having second thoughts? Who is Dylan Foster? Oh, I forgot. She is the main character in Melanie Wells’ trilogy of supernatural suspense novels featuring a demon (or something similar) named Peter Terry. I’m quite torn as to what to tell you about this book.

Now, let me preface anything I might think by the fact that I have not read the two books that precede this one (When the Day of Evil Comes and The Soul Hunter) and it is very obvious that those two books contain vital information if you are to fully appreciate this third installment of Dylan Foster’s supernatural experiences. I strongly suggest that you read them first, or you will find yourself as I do now, totally unable to figure out what to do with this book. You can follow the story just fine, but you don’t have a lot of background on Dylan herself which makes it impossible for you to know where she is spiritually. If all you have to go on is this one book…well, edgy books with covert messages are all the rage, so this definitely qualifies.

Dylan Foster is a college professor at a small Methodist University who has been having violent, dreadful encounters with some sort of demon creature named Peter Terry. In the opening scenes of the book a friend’s child is kidnapped during a visit to a local park, and Peter Terry is almost immediately suspect. Problem is, Dylan is the only one clued into this guy. However, in this book, her friend’s six-year-old daughter Christine seems to have a similarly installed spiritual radar, and she can see/sense evil and good beings (demons/angels) like Dylan can. Hence, many of Dylan’s friends and co-workers consider her a total NUT with the WORST bad luck. In the meantime, it appears that poor Christine is spiritually tied in with the kidnapped child and vicariously experiences his abduction. It’s exciting. It’s suspenseful. It’s well-written. I just wished that there was more spiritual depth to the story. Somehow that seems important when you are dealing with spiritual beings.

There was no spiritual depth to any of the main characters to speak of, so I was left feeling like I was watching a bunch of rather worldly folks try to make sense out of something totally out of their league. If even one of the main characters had had a modicum of spiritual depth it would have added a more meaningful dimension to the story. However, as it stands, it’s no wonder the main characters are so suspicious of these other-worldly encounters that keep Dylan’s life so messed up. In the end, it left me kind of frustrated. Well, not really frustrated, but just wishing I new more about the main character’s personal relationship with Christ – more specifically, if she even HAD one. Hence the very strong suggestion to read the first two books. Either way, be prepared to be creeped-out BIG TIME! This is not for the “big honkin’ chicken club” members AT ALL! It’s a great suspense ride! Just do not read it before bedtime!


A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists.

When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. Melanie lives and writes in Dallas.


Scrambled Dregs said...

I like your review. Since I read so many books for review, books that I might not pick up otherwise, I'm pretty picky when it comes to reading for pleasure.

Reviews like yours help me to determine what may be a selling point or an avoiding issue for me.

I always read multiple reviews before investing in a book. So carry on. Tell me how you really feel. And I'll do the same.

Chrissy said...

I agree with Kelly. Great review. I also like to read reviews to see if that's a good book for me.
And after reading this review, I think this is the next trilogy I read on my list.
Speaking of Trilogy's, I recently read The Osogoode Trilogy, by Mary Martin. This book was 'Oh so good', I think it belongs on the big screen! The suspsnse, the murder, the fraud, I loved it!