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Regis H. Schilken

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Book Review: Soul Trapper by F.J. Lennon
By Regis H. Schilken
Last edited: Thursday, December 23, 2010
Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2010

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A tough young man uses a device invented by his father to locate and eliminate unwanted spirits.

For Readers who enjoy the paranormal as if it is just another part of everyday experience, then F.J. Lennon's tale, Soul Trapper, is the fiction for you. Although he loves music, down on his luck ghost investigator, Kane Pryce, is the epitome of a man who spends his life, hunting down troublesome spirits and blasting them off to the afterlife.

Kane is a hard-nosed, tough acting character who seems more at home in a local bar than in his own apartment. He readily drinks to excess and he does it quickly. In fact, his crude nature seems to relish being lost almost hypnotically in a boozed stupor. "Fuck", "fucking" and "fucked" are part of his normal sentence structure.

Once a spirit is detected, Kane uses a Soul Trapper device invented by his father to blow-away the spiritual entity. Author Lennon never really describes the ghost blaster. He merely states that it is small enough to be carried undetected in a large pocket or a small duffel bag. It appears to shoot a powerful beam that destroys unwanted ghosts. In addition, the Soul Trapper beeps to warn Kane when an unwanted or dangerous entity lurks nearby.

A Catholic priest phones Kane and tells him that he senses powerful troubling influences in his church. The padre called Kane because he wants immediate action and cannot wait out the red tape and/or long wait of having Rome authorities officially investigate and then de-demonize his church.

Kane sets his price and takes the job. Immediately upon entering the church, his Soul Trapper warns him of a presence, but when a human materializes, it is a small boy killed many years ago along with his mother in an automobile crash. The two begin communicating. Kane senses the boy is unable to rest peacefully in his grave. Since he cannot leave the church, the tyke asks Kane for a special favor. To the ghost chaser's surprise, the youth asks him to find his Lone Ranger sheriff's badge lost at the location of the car crash that claimed his life.

The investigation forces Kane to materialize the dead boy's mother. Like her son, she too cannot find peace. Kane finds this woman had secretly sold her soul to the demon world for reasons he hopes to uncover. After subsequent visits to the church and communications with both boy and his mother, Kane approaches their living father, a wealthy businessman who was involved in some shaky business deals over 50 years ago.

Now, Kane finds himself falling for this woman. He can materialize her—a beauty of a woman 50 years ago—but can he ever possess her in present time? Kane investigates the accident scene and locates the young boy's sheriff's badge and returns it. So, what will happen to these three misfits out of sync in time? Will Kane be able to rectify wrongs both in his own life and in the lives of those he now loves? Or is it too late for all of them?

The answers to these questions I will leave to the readers of Soul Trapper. Suffice it to say that although the tale involves the supernatural, I did not find it particularly scary. Interesting, yes, but frightening, not really. To begin with, I think the character of Kane Pryce is so alarmingly negative, that when even the most vile things happen to him, they seem mild compared to his "fucked up" daily life, as he might describe it. This man seems fixated on a path of alcoholism and self destruction from the get go, so as he approaches each terror, when he says he is afraid, I could not believe him. He seems to be facing fiercer terrors in his own mind than he does when called upon to use Soul Trapper.

And yet, the book is magnetic. I couldn't help trying to figure out what would happen when the supernatural and the mundane every day world would collide. If you are looking for a tale about the paranormal, about places where a human can be yanked through a mirror without breaking it, or about places where a soul can be tortured in the abominable conflagration of hell, then buy and read Soul Trapper. I think you will find it a fascinating story.





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