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The Soul Hunter

The Soul Hunter

4.1 6
by Melanie Wells

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Peter Terry Returns

A knock at her door. A bloody axe. A murder weapon in her own living room. The elusive white man with the slash on his back is out hunting again, chasing souls. Peter Terry is haunting minds, invading dreams, and wrecking lives. As Dylan Foster searches for answers, she stumbles upon a dark cult of angel worship. Harking back to the


Peter Terry Returns

A knock at her door. A bloody axe. A murder weapon in her own living room. The elusive white man with the slash on his back is out hunting again, chasing souls. Peter Terry is haunting minds, invading dreams, and wrecking lives. As Dylan Foster searches for answers, she stumbles upon a dark cult of angel worship. Harking back to the days of Noah, it’s now blinding and intoxicating young people, leading them to their deaths. In this battle for souls, everything’s up for grabs, leaving Dylan grasping for strength as the battle rages around her. When at last she discovers the truth, it is far from the truth she expected.

“What does Peter Terry want with my son?”

“The same thing he wants with all of us. Peter Terry is a hunter,” I said. “He’s hunting souls.”

Dylan Foster, a psychology professor at Southern Methodist University, is preparing for a Saturday night date when she hears something at her front door. She opens the door--and a bloody ax falls into her entryway, bringing a young woman’s murder, quite literally, into Dylan's living room. Caught up in a desperate search for answers, Dylan must use her psychologist’s mind and acute spiritual radar to unearth the connections between the murdered girl; the accused murderer and convicted rapist Gordon Pryne; and Peter Terry, the elusive white man with the slash on his back.

Peter Terry is hunting again, chasing souls, haunting minds, invading dreams, and wrecking lives. As Dylan draws closer to the answer she seeks, she stumbles upon a discovery that draws her ever deeper into danger. But Dylan cannot find the truth—not until she realizes nothing is as it seems in the fight for the human soul…

“The master of supernatural mystery, Melanie Wells delivers big time in The Soul Hunter. A dash of romance and a generous serving of humor, seasoned with grace, makes this a thriller not to be missed.”

Kathryn Mackel, author of The Hidden

“Part mystery thriller, part comedy of manners, part novel of moral scrutiny, The Soul Hunter showcases Wells’ gift for spinning an intricate tale filled with an edgy mix of humor, suspense, and spiritual intrigue. I swallowed the novel in one deliciously terrified gulp.”

K. L. Cook, author of Last Call and The Girl from Charnelle

Story Behind the Book

“These themes—the reality of spiritual warfare, the faithfulness of God, the significance of seemingly mundane events, the importance of individual faithfulness—have always fascinated me. And Peter Terry is such a compelling character. Writing this book was almost like showing up to see what he would do next! The dimensions of the individual being seemed to spin out, creating fascinating characters and a storyline that wove itself in complicated and unexpected ways.”

—Melanie Wells

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Day of Evil Series , #2
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


A Novel of Suspense

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2006 Melanie Wells
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-427-6

Chapter One

You'd think I'd have learned my lessons by now. Some people, it turns out, are not what they seem. Some secrets, it turns out, are better left untold. And some specters, it turns out, are better left unseen. And the answers, it turns out, don't always arrive in order. And when they do show up, they just might kick open a door you're better off leaving closed up tight.

I thought I'd gotten all the education I needed a year or so ago, starting with an innocuous decision I'd made to go to a cold spring pool on a hot summer day. I'd found myself standing in the gaze of the red-hot eyes of hell and discovered, quite by accident, that I'd caught the attention of the universe somehow. But not the kind of attention you want, if you get my meaning.

I'd looked evil in the eye that day and faced it down in the weeks that followed, more out of necessity than anything else. It certainly had nothing to do with bravery or spirituality or any quixotic sense of adventure I might have had. I'd just found myself in the target zone, so I'd fought when I had to, ducked when I could, and run when I couldn't think of anything else to do. And I'd eventually gotten out of the whole mess with a good-sized dose of grit, some help from the Almighty, anda couple of trips to Chicago.

It began this time, as some of my least intelligent moments do, in front of the mirror. It was the eve of my thirty-fifth birthday and I was feeling the need for self-examination, I suppose. Some misguided ritual to mark the passageway to the other side of my thirties.

Magnifying mirrors were invented by Satan, I'm convinced. No human I've ever known could spend any time at all in front of a magnifying mirror examining pores and eyebrow hairs without coming away from there with a toxic sense of shame and self-doubt.

On this occasion, I committed the additional catastrophic error of looking at myself from behind. In a department store dressing room. Under fluorescent lights. While trying on bikinis. In winter.

To my dismay, stuck right there on the back of my formerly firm legs were my mother's thighs. My mother's Texas milkmaid thighs.

I work hard to stay in shape. Though I am an academic, and most of the professors I know are thoroughly slovenly in their personal habits, I have resolutely risen above the fray. I am non-lumpy. I have fitness goals. I have completed a triathlon.

And I absolutely refuse to let my rear end slide south toward my ankles.

So the dismay I felt at that moment under the lights was genuine. I could not have been more surprised.

Now, all women know the steps to combat body-image trauma. Men would do well to memorize the procedure too. This sort of handbook-type information, if utilized correctly, could cut the divorce rate by a third, I'm convinced.

The first step, of course, is to shop. Preferably for expensive fitness gear that will encourage you to work out with renewed vigor and dedication. Or, if you choose to punt on self-improvement, an alternative is to shop for a new and fetching outfit that disguises the body part in question.

I went for the fitness gear. I swim regularly, but those endless laps in the pool were not warding off the impending thigh disaster. Though I have to say, my arms looked pretty smokin'.

The answer here was shoes. I needed running shoes. Now.

The second step is to call a friend, or perhaps an evolved squeeze or spouse, and complain. Qualified and well-trained personnel will assure you that you look like a couple million bucks and that you're just in the middle of a psychotic break.

Let's go get double-hot-chocolate lattes, they'll say.

Which is step three.

Step four is to roll your sad little self out of bed the next morning, strap on your new gear, and get yourself to the gym. Most individuals hit the wall after steps one or three.

I intended to complete the entire process. I was not going down without a fight.

Since I was already at the mall, I abandoned my bikini search and marched myself straight to the sporting goods store, squaring my shoulders against the heady smell of chocolate chip cookies as I passed by Mrs. Fields.

I had momentum. I was feeling good. I was on it.

And then I ran into John Mulvaney.

John Mulvaney is a colleague of mine-a fellow psychology professor at Southern Methodist University. A full citizen in the sometimes moldy and pretentious world of academic clinical psychology. That is the entire extent of our common ground.

That, and the fact that we both believe deeply that he is a genuinely pathetic human being.

We'd crossed paths the year before in a bizarre incident that left me with a strange mix of pity and loathing toward the man. And a powerful urge to avoid him.

In this instance, avoiding him was impossible. I literally bumped right into him.

He was turning away from the cash register at Mrs. Fields, hands loaded with a half dozen greasy warm cookies, a soft drink, and a vanilla milkshake. He had a smear of chocolate on his upper lip.

I pasted on a fake smile. "Hello, John."

"Dr. Foster," he said back.

"You can call me Dylan, John."

"I prefer the title," he mumbled.

We went through this silly little ritual each time we spoke. He had never once gotten a "Dr. Mulvaney" out of me.

His eyes firmly fixed on the ground, he sucked hard on his milkshake straw, coaxing a thick clot of ice cream into his mouth. He chased it with an enormous bite of cookie.

I watched with raw disgust, fighting the urge to wipe the chocolate off his lip.

"Well," I said. "Nice seeing you, John. Have a good afternoon."

I turned to leave. I got a good twenty yards into my escape before he called out after me.

"I'm going shopping," he said. "I need a sweater."

I turned and stared at him. Was this merely a social-skills debacle on his part or had he gone insane?

Incredibly, he kept talking.

"And then I'm going to see a movie. The new art film. At the Inwood."

"Okay, John. Have a good time."

Why do academics love art films? And why was John Mulvaney telling me about his afternoon plans?

I shot him a little wave and walked away. Rapidly. I made it this time. A clean exit.

I bought myself some nifty high-tech running shoes, after a fairly intriguing ritual of rolling up my jeans and walking barefoot in front of the sales person so she could see what my feet do when I walk. I pronate, apparently.

And then I initiated step two and called my evolved boyfriend.

"David Shykovsky," he said.

"I hope you know the correct answer to this question."

"What question is that, Sugar Pea?"

"What do you think of my legs?"

"Ah. Let's see. Many men would fail this test. But not me."

Darling man.

"The correct answer," he said, "if I recall from years of answering this sort of question miserably in other, less crucial circumstances with other, less fabulous women, is that your legs, like the rest of you, are perfect. Wonderful. Sublime."


"Absolutely not."

"Good man."


"No reason. Want to meet me for a double-hot-chocolate latte?"

"I'm working, babe."

Rats. So much for step three.

"Funeral today?"

"Nope. Body coming in."

"I don't know how you do that job."

"I don't know how you do yours either, Professor. At least my patients are mentally stable."

"Your patients are dead."

"Exactly. I don't talk to them. I don't worry about them. I don't listen to their problems. I just drain 'em and dress 'em."

"That's so gross."

"I prefer to think of it as a necessary art."

"How do you figure?"

"You try to make a ninety-seven-year-old dead person with no teeth look like they're forty years younger and in deep, peaceful repose. It's not easy."

"I could see that. Are you still taking me out tonight for a surprise birthday supper?"


"Italian food?"


"White tablecloths?"


"Expensive wine?"

"Midlist, I'd say."

"Death business been slow?"


"How about six thirty?"

"You'll be late."

"Seven?" I said.

"Check. See you at seven thirty."


We hung up. David Shykovsky is an enigma to me. Delightful man. Smart. Charming. Good-looking. Adores me.

Owns a funeral home in Hillsboro.

I can't quite get past that last part.

I spent the rest of the afternoon, a rare sunny Saturday in January, embarking on my new Thigh Recovery Program. Lunges, squats, weights, and a three-mile run. Take that, milkmaid.

I'd be lucky if I could walk the next day.

After my workout, I showered, stared at my thighs some more-I swear they looked better-and then spent a good half hour primping for my dress-up, pre-birthday date with David. All in all, a pretty high-end day for me.

I was smack in mid-primp when I heard something at the front door. It was a knock of sorts. More of a thump, actually. Or a clunk.

I heard a car pulling away from the house. Maybe I'd missed UPS or something. Maybe it was a pre-birthday present!

Twinkling with anticipation, I threw on a robe and scooted to the front door, checking the peephole.

I unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door.

Something slid across the wood and smacked heavily onto the floor of the entryway, catching my baby toe under its end.

I let out a little scream-a mixture of pain and indignation-and looked down to see what had fallen into my house and onto my foot.

It was an ax.

I couldn't see it clearly against the hardwood, so I reached down and picked it up, then flipped on the light.

My hands were red. Why were my hands red?

I turned the ax over in my hands.

The ax was red. Had it just been painted?

I looked over at the light switch. A handprint was smeared in red on my wall. My handprint.

I squinted at the blade.

There was hair on the blade.

I dropped the ax, my eyes widening as it thwacked heavily to the floor.

I slid to the floor, my back against the wall.

That ax was covered in blood.

And that, of course, was the moment I knew I'd made my first mistake.


Excerpted from The SOUL HUNTER by MELANIE WELLS Copyright © 2006 by Melanie Wells . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Melanie Wells has been a private-practice counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks, a community of Christian therapists in Dallas, Texas . Her graduate degrees in counseling psychology and biblical studies were earned at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary, respectively.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Soul Hunter 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
02kinkyeyes-_- More than 1 year ago
It took me 2 nights to read this (yes. Only suring nights because I want to scare myself to sleep. I bought this book coz I saw the cover scary. :D And, well.. about the book.. I was real scared with the bloody axe and the mysterious man. The ending? Nah. I think you're not gonna like it. I don't know but there is something lacking with the story :( poor thing.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
SMU psychology Professor Dr. Dylan Foster returns home to find a bloody axe at her door. Her boyfriend funeral home director David Shykofsky arrives soon after and calls the cops. Detective Jackson of Dallas Police Department arrives and wonders if Dylan is pulling a stunt though he cannot fathom a motive.-------------- The next morning the police find a dead nineteen years old student Drew Sturdivent killed by an axe. However Detective Jackson and his partner Mike McKnight quickly rule that Dylan did not commit the homicide, but they do have a viable suspect, though no in custody. However, Dylan wonders if evil lumberjack Peter Terry has returned seeking souls.-------------- The return of Dylan and the evil Peter makes for a superb intriguing tale in which the eternal war between good and evil is fought within each person¿s soul. Dylan remains a reluctant heroine still not grasping the battle she is in yet knowing much more as to whom the real enemy is. Her prime defense is God, but at times she doubts the Lord is nearby. Fans will enjoy this police procedural suspense thriller that plays out on two planes mostly the mortal but always lurking is the SOUL HUNTER.---------- Harriet Klausner