Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
I’m proud to give Robert McCammon newest novel, The River of Soul, a 5-star rating. Though this book isn’t as thick as his other “Matthew Corbett” novels, it is definitely as beautiful to look at and as entertaining to read as Mister Slaughter and The Providence Rider were.
To escape his strong feelings for Berry Grigsby for a short period of time (remember, in The Providence Rider, our lead character told Berry to find someone else so Professor Fell would lose interest in her), Corbett decides to accept what seems to be easy money for the Herrald Agency. He has to make his way to Charles Town in the Carolinas and escort a rich girl to the town’s yearly ball.
Once there and after a series of incidents, Corbett soon finds himself traveling up the Solstice River with others, who are in search of three runaway slaves. One of the slaves may be guilty of murdering the daughter of a plantation owner, or the real killer may be in the group of vigilantes. Corbett has reason to believe someone other than the slave murdered the young girl and is determined to see the supposed killer brought back to stand trial.
This is certainly a journey that’s fraught with danger from several different avenues: a menacing lynch mob who wants to take justice into their own hands and collect the huge reward that’s being offered, to a dark, uninviting river full of hungry alligators, a strange tribe of Indians who enjoy cutting off the heads of their victims and using them for sport, and a mysterious creature that’s following after them, waiting for the right moment to attack its prey.
Matthew Corbett will have his hands full as he learns about humanity in all of its terrible forms. He will also make a few new and unexpected friends, and together they will attempt to do the impossible.
I loved Corbett’s return to the Charles Town, which was mentioned in the first novel, Speaks the Nightbird. I felt this particular novel that deals with Corbett’s search for justice into the dark soul of the night was just as good as the previous books in the series.
Though Corbett’s other friends from New York City are only mentioned in the story for a few pages, it seemed somewhat important to me that the lead character be more-or-less on his own during this rather unusual and exciting adventure. I feel the writing was just as tight as in the previous novels and that the many characters were completely fleshed out to my own personal satisfaction. This was a novel I read quickly, looking for any reason to pick it up and to move ahead a few more pages at each outing.
If you’re never read this series by Robert McCammon, I would suggest that you begin with the first novel, Speaks the Nightbird. From there, read the rest of them in order: The Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter, The Providence Rider, and The River of Souls. The author has five more “Matthew Corbett” novels planned for the future so get ready for a lot of reading.