Book tip: "Dead Souls" by J. Lincoln Fenn

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Book tip

Dead Souls

J. Lincoln Fenn

Yes, Gogol already wrote a "Dead Souls." And, yes, heavyweights like Goethe, Benét and Marlowe have explored the "sell soul/devil" idea with great literary success. But, damn, Fenn sure has a viciously witty time applying a modern spin on the trope. Fiona, a take-no-prisoners marketing professional who's caught her boyfriend cheating, gets drunk at a bar and meets a seductive fellow called "Scratch." She thinks it's as corny as you probably will — but be careful what you ask for after several mojitos. It turns out the devil is real, is in fact in the souls biz, and requires a to-be-called-upon favor from the seller to complete the bargain. Ever wondered where all of those school shootings, family mass-murders and other seemingly insane acts of outta-nowhere massacre come from? Hmm. In a terrific concept, Fiona joins a support group of diverse fellow-hellbound-citizens, and the subsequent plot spins are mostly clever and delightful. True, as the story roars towards a showdown, souls start getting bartered faster than we can keep up. But, man, this book is delicious and creepy fun. By definition, it's probably not possible for mortals to defeat the devil — but maybe one's perspective of what's acceptable can change on that long, dark ride.

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