Review: The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm (5/5)

My name is Cheffo and I’m a Holm-a-holic

I didn’t mean for this to happen.

Hell, a year ago I didn’t know who Chris F. Holm was.

Somebody, somewhere in the Twittersphere posted something about some war between the covers of Dead Harvest and Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds. Curious to see what could possibly compare to Joey HiFi’s beautiful rendering of Miriam Black, I rushed over and (like a dutiful little minion) cast my vote against the pulpy goodness of Dead Harvest.

But I was intrigued.

Clever title. Creative cover design. Memories of books from my youth. Creased and stained. Well-loved. Never discarded.

So I fired up KindleGadget and clicked away. Read it and wanted more, so I went back and clicked again. “Hey, he’s got a collection of shorts on sale.” Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Hey, he’s got a story in this collection over here.” And again. A quick look at today’s KindleGadget shows that I have 3 Collector Series, 2 collections of Chris F. Holm shorts and at least 1 anthology containing his stories.

Somewhere I crossed a line and there is no way back.

Another delicious pulpy noir cover to love

The Collector covers speak to me.

“Look at me.
Love me.
Never let me go.


Sammy Got Some Swagger

For me, The Collector has always been the best part of the series that bears his name. I loved watching him in Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye as he moved uncomfortably, even regretfully, through his world, trying to save ours.

It seems that Sam Thornton has taken one too many trips to Guam and stopped by the duty-free for a couple of bottles of Smart-Ass and a gallon jug of Bad-Ass. There is no hesitation nor any self-deprecation as he proceeds with his assigned task of destroying the Bretheren (a group of former collectors who long-ago escaped indenture and have been hiding in our world ever since).

Sam finally seems to be comfortable in other people’s skins and it rings through in the narrative, conjuring cheers of laughter as I read. Old friends and frightening new, yet familiar, enemies round out the cast and we finally get a good look at Lilith, the sultry handler from hell. Each new reveal feels like a forgotten gift found hidden against the wall under the backside of a Christmas tree.

A Collector story would not be complete without the deft application of flashbacks to shed a little light on the world of The Collector and his journey through it. As in the previous two books, the backstory and exposition do not interfere, but rather complement the narrative. I particularly liked the contrast as we watch Sam’s character change. And change again.

Holm closes The Big Reap by opening a door and giving us a brief glimpse at what might be.

I can’t fucking wait.

Review: Dead Harvest (4.5/5) and The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm (4/5)
As petty and mercurial as a poorly socialized toddler. (@popqueenie on The Big Reap)
…nothing fixes something so intensely in your memory as the desire to forget it. (@lucysfootball on The Collector series)
Get the t-shirt!


  1. I want everyone to read these just for the selfish reason that I need more people to discuss them with.

    Thanks for pimping my shirt!

    1. We seem to be of one mind on this. And psychically linked – Iwas just clicking ‘like’ on your review when this notification popped up!

      1. haha! I noticed that, as well.

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