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The Soul Catcher
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The Soul Catcher

4.2 74
by Alex Kava
 

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In a secluded cabin six young men stage a deadly standoff with FBI agents.

In a wooded area near the FDR Memorial in Washington, the body of a senator's daughter is discovered.

For FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell, there is nothing routine about being called in to work these two cases. As an expert criminal profiler,

Overview

In a secluded cabin six young men stage a deadly standoff with FBI agents.

In a wooded area near the FDR Memorial in Washington, the body of a senator's daughter is discovered.

For FBI Special Agent Maggie O'Dell, there is nothing routine about being called in to work these two cases. As an expert criminal profiler, Maggie provides psychological insight on cases that involve suspected serial killers. She can't understand, then, why she has been assigned to two seemingly unrelated crimes.

But as Maggie and her partner, Special Agent R. J. Tully, delve deeper into the cases, they discover there is a connection: Reverend Joseph Everett, the charismatic leader of a high-profile religious sect. The men holed up in the cabin were members of Everett's church, and the murder of the young woman took place following one of Everett's rallies.

Is Everett a psychotic madman who uses his power to perform heinous crimes? Or is he merely the scapegoat for a killer more cunning than he? Maggie realizes the only way to find out is by using her own mother, a member of Everett's church, as a pawn in a deadly trap.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kava dives headfirst into the headline-grabbing worlds of cult religions and FBI standoffs in this third novel to feature Special Agent Maggie ODell, whose profiler talents were first showcased in A Perfect Evil and Split Second. When a Massachusetts standoff results in the deaths of five out of six young cult members holed up in a backwoods cabin, things are bad enough. But when a U.S. senators daughter is found murdered in Washington, D.C."and her death seems to be related to the cult and its charismatic leader, Rev. Joseph Everett"the situation really heats up for Maggie and her partner, R.J. Tully. The case hits particularly close to both partners homes, since Maggies former alcoholic mother has joined Everetts church and Tullys daughter was with the senators daughter on the night she was killed. Will Maggie be able to solve the case without endangering her own mother? From the Ruby Ridge$like standoff to the inability of some spiritual leaders to sexually practice what they preach, the novel manages to humanize both the seemingly impersonal institution of the FBI and cultists who are normally just labeled as wacko. Kava uses a strong supporting cast to provide Scarpetta-like authenticity and the psychological insights of Alex Delaware, and gross-out levels are high enough to satisfy the Fear Factor contingent. Add to that a clever surprise ending, and this one is sure to be spotted all over the beach by summers end. Agent, Philip Spitzer. Author tour. (Aug. 5) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781460301548
Publisher:
MIRA
Publication date:
09/17/2012
Series:
A Maggie O'Dell Novel
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
27,974
File size:
650 KB

Read an Excerpt

The Soul Catcher


By Alex Kava

Harlequin Enterprises

Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551669285


Chapter One

Wednesday, November 20 Suffolk County, Massachusetts, on the Neponset River

Eric Pratt leaned his head against the cabin wall. Plaster crumbled. It trickled down his shirt collar, sticking to the sweat on the back of his neck like tiny insects attempting to crawl beneath his skin. Outside it had gotten quiet - too quiet - the silence grinding seconds into minutes and minutes into eternity. What the hell were they up to?

With the floodlights no longer blasting through the dirty windows, Eric had to squint to make out the hunched shadows of his comrades. They were scattered throughout the cabin. They were exhausted and tense but ready and waiting. In the twilight, he could barely see them, but he could smell them: the pungent odor of sweat mixed with what he had come to recognize as the scent of fear.

Freedom of speech. Freedom from fear. Where was that freedom now? Bullshit! It was all bullshit! Why hadn't he seen that long ago?

He relaxed his grip on the AR-15 assault rifle. In the last hour, the gun had grown heavier, yet, it remained the only thing that brought him a sense of security. He was embarrassed to admit that the gun gave him more comfort than any of David's mumblings of prayer or Father's radioed words of encouragement, both of which had stopped hoursbefore.

What good were words, anyway, at a time like this? What power could they wield now as the six of them remained trapped in this one-room cabin? Now that they were surrounded by woods filled with FBI and ATF agents? With Satan's warriors descending upon them, what words could protect them from the anticipated explosion of bullets? The enemy had come. It was just as Father had predicted, but they'd need more than words to stop them. Words were just plain bullshit! He didn't care if God heard his thoughts. What more could God do to him now?

Eric brought the barrel of the gun to rest against his cheek, its cool metal soothing and reassuring.

Kill or be killed. Yes, those were words he understood. Those words he could still believe in. He leaned his head back and let the plaster crumble into his hair, the pieces reminding him again of insects, of head lice burrowing into his greasy scalp. He closed his eyes and wished he could shut off his mind. Why was it so damned quiet? What the hell were they doing out there? He held his breath and listened.

Water dripped from the pump in the corner. Somewhere a clock ticked off the seconds. Outside a branch scraped against the roof. Above his head, a crisp fall breeze streamed in through the cracked window, bringing with it the scent of pine needles and the sound of dry leaves skittering across the ground like the rattle of bones in a cardboard box.

It's all that's left. Just a box of bones. Bones and an old gray T-shirt, Justin's T-shirt. That was all that was left of his brother. Father had given him the box and told him Justin hadn't been strong enough. That his faith hadn't been strong enough. That this is what happened when you didn't believe.

Eric couldn't shake the image of those white bones, picked clean by wild animals. He couldn't stand the thought of it, bears or coyotes - or maybe both - growling and fighting over the ripped flesh. How could he endure the guilt? Why had he allowed it? Justin had come to the compound, attempting to save him, to convince him to leave, and what had Eric done in return? He should have never allowed Father's initiation ritual to take place. He should have escaped while he and Justin had a chance. Now what chance was there? And all he had of his younger brother was a cardboard box of bones. The memory brought a shiver down his back. He jerked it off, opening his eyes to see if anyone had noticed, but found only darkness swallowing the insides of the cabin.

"What's happening?" a voice screeched out. Eric jumped to his feet, crouching low, swinging the rifle into position. In the shadows he could see the robotic jerks of the others, the panic clicking out in a metallic rhythm as they swung their own weapons into place.

"David, what's going on?" the voice asked again, this time softer and accompanied by a crackle of static.

Eric allowed himself to breathe and slid back down the wall, while he watched David crawl to the two-way radio across the room.

"We're still here," David whispered. They've got us -"

"No wait," the voice interrupted. "Mary should be joining you in fifteen minutes."

There was a pause. Eric wondered if any of the others found Father's code words as absurd. Or for that matter, wouldn't anyone listening in find the words strange and outrageous? Yet without hesitation, he heard David turn the knobs, changing the radio's frequency to channel 15.

The room grew silent again. Eric could see the others positioning themselves closer to the radio, anxiously awaiting instructions or perhaps some divine intervention. David seemed to be waiting, too. Eric wished he could see David's face. Was he as frightened as the rest of them? Or would he continue to play out his part as the brave leader of this botched mission?

"David," the radio voice crackled, channel 15's frequency not as clear.

"We're here, Father," David answered, the quiver unmistakable, and Eric's stomach took a dive. If David was afraid, then things were worse than any of them realized.

"What's the situation?"

"We're surrounded. No gunfire has been exchanged yet." David paused to cough as if to dislodge the fear. "I'm afraid there's no choice but to surrender."

Eric felt the relief wash over him. Then quickly he glanced around the cabin, grateful for the mask of darkness, grateful the others couldn't witness his relief, his betrayal. He set the rifle aside. He let his muscles relax. Surrender, yes of course. It was their only choice. This nightmare would soon be over.

He couldn't even remember how long it had been. For hours, the loudspeaker had blared outside. The floodlights had sprayed the cabin with blinding light. While inside the radio had screeched on and on with Father reminding them to be brave. Now Eric wondered if perhaps it was a thin line that separated the brave and the foolish.

Suddenly, he realized Father was taking a long time to respond. His muscles tensed. He held his breath and listened. Outside, leaves rustled. There was movement. Or was it his imagination playing tricks on him? Had exhaustion given way to paranoia?

Then Father's voice whispered, "If you surrender, they'll torture you." The words were cryptic, but the tone soothing and calm. "They have no intention of allowing you to live. Remember Waco. Remember Ruby Ridge." And then he went silent, while everyone waited as if hanging by a thread, hoping for instruction or, at least, some words of encouragement. Where were those powerful words that could heal and protect?

Eric heard branches snap. He grabbed his rifle. The others had also heard and were crawling and sliding across the wooden floor to get back to their posts.

Eric listened, despite the annoying banging of his heart. Sweat trickled down his back. His fingers shook so violently he kept them off the trigger. Had snipers moved into position? Or worse, were agents getting ready to torch the cabin, just as they had done in Waco? Father had warned them about the flames of Satan. With all the explosive ammo in the storage bunker beneath the floorboards, the place would be a fiery inferno within seconds. There would be no escape.

The floodlights blasted the cabin, again. All of them scurried like rats, pressing themselves into the shadows. Eric banged his rifle against his knee and slid down against the wall. His skin bristled into goose bumps. The exhaustion had rubbed his nerves raw. His heart slammed against his rib cage, making it difficult to breathe.

"Here we go again," he muttered just as a voice bellowed over the loudspeaker.

"Hold your fire. This is Special Agent Richard Delaney with the FBI. I just want to talk to you. See if we can resolve this misunderstanding with words instead of bullets."

Eric wanted to laugh. More bullshit. But laughter would require movement, and right now his body stayed paralyzed against the wall. The only movement was that of his trembling hands as he gripped the rifle tighter. He would place his bet on bullets. Not words. Not anymore.



Excerpted from The Soul Catcher by Alex Kava Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Alex Kava grew up in rural Nebraska, outside the small town of Silver Creek (population 500). As a child, Alex wrote short stories on the backs of old calendars and scrap paper, sharing them only with her younger brother and hiding them in a shoebox under her bed.

Alex earned an art scholarship to attend college. To pay living expenses, she worked in a nearby hospital's central surgery department scrubbing equipment, utensils and basins from the morgue and surgery departments. She graduated magna cum laude from College of Saint Mary, in Omaha, Nebraska, with a B.A. in Art and English. She has advanced studies and certificates in advertising and marketing.

For the last 15 years, Alex has worked in graphic design, advertising, and public relations. She has designed food packages and logos for national corporations, written brochures and newsletters, created a line of greeting cards, and directed TV and radio commercials. During the summer of 1996, Alex quit her full-time job as a director of public relations in order to dedicate more time to writing fiction and getting published. To pay the bills, she resurrected her home-based graphic design firm, Square One. She refinanced her home, maxed out her credit cards, and even took on a newspaper delivery route.

Also in the summer of 1996, serial killer John Joubert was executed. Alex's inspiration for A Perfect Evil was drawn from her experience while working at a small newspaper in the community where Joubert's rampage had taken place in 1983. His execution reminded her of the terror and panic experienced, not only by that community, but by many parents across Nebraska.

A Perfect Evil is Alex'sfirstnovel. She has just finished its sequel, Split Second, and has begun work on her third novel. Besides managing her clients' projects at Square One, she also teaches part-time at an area college.

Alex lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her two dogs, Miss Molly and Scout.

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Soul Catcher (Maggie O'Dell Series #3) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am addicted to Alex Kava's novels of serial killer suspense and FBI investigations. I have read all of her books and find myself upset when I am almost finished her latest one knowing I have to wait for the next one to be published. In my opinion she can't write fast enough to satisfy my craving. I am waiting for Nick's return soon. I love him and Maggie together! Everyone should read her books - starting with the Perfect Evil, Split Second , then Soul Catcher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love Alex Kava's books! Fantastic author, fantastic book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She can do no wrong, i love that she has a women as the lead person, stong and independent and rocks every book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Alex Kava's books except 'Whitewash' (waiting on paperback). I love the other titles, but this one, I could have done without. Re-occuring character Maggie O'Dell is in this book, which is a plus, and the rest of the characters were pretty solid for the most part. I just could not get 'caught up' in this book. The plot was a little predictable and I just couldn't get into the 'religous rallies' and the group holding them. Fans of Alex Kava may enjoy this one, because it is just as well-written as the others, but the plot just wasn't as crisp. There were not the twists and turns that one would expect. I thought the book was just ok. If I had it to do over again, I could skip it and not miss out.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I woke up to my Apple clock beeping. Im Lillian Curole and I live in New Orleans, Louisiana in the year 2054. I put on a aqua flowy tanktop jean shorts and braided my long blonde hair. Running downstairs, I grabbed my phone and quickly ate breakfast. Today was the first day of summer!!! After breakfast i put on some sandal wedges and walked to the next door apartment. I knocked on the door and my BFF answered. She looked tired and hugged me. "What's wrong? " I asked noticing that she was not herself. "My brother. He's GONE!!" 'Well this is gonna be a long summer' I thought.
christalvp More than 1 year ago
This was another great addition to the Maggie O'Dell series. This one involved a creepy cult whose young members are completely controlled by the enigmatic leader. Maggie's own mother is caught up in the organization. As the bodies of young females are found, it soon becomes clear that there is a tie-in to this group. Maggie and her partner, R.J. Tully are tasked with investigating the murders. The Soul Catcher grabbed my attention right away, and I loved delving back into Maggie's world. I liked seeing the familiar secondary characters as well. The storyline was good, and it was rather creepy. There were a few twists along the way that made for an even better story.
Cope66 More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book. I read her newest book Breaking. Creed and really liked it so I have started back to the beginning of her series featuring Maggie O'Dell. So far I recommend all her books in this series.
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Attention grabber from beginning to end!
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The Maggie O'Dell series are exciting, different, and just great reads.
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