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Soul City

Review

Soul City

From Richard Gropp, author of science fiction novel BAD GLASS, comes SOUL CITY. Gropp’s latest novel is a mystery that takes place in a cemetery-filled San Francisco suburb called Colma where the dead outnumber the living.

"SOUL CITY is the perfect novel for anyone looking for a quick read that blends contemporary fiction, mystery and a taste of the fantasy genre seamlessly and creatively."

In the Cressman family, the power to observe the death of everyone you come in contact with is passed down from eldest son to eldest son. When 17-year old Luke Cressman’s father dies, he returns to Colma and Mission Hills High School after attending boarding school in Portland. On his first day of senior year, Luke meets the new girl, Mia, and becomes enamored with her. Mia is kind, funny, a bit eccentric and Luke can’t get enough of her. Unfortunately, he witnesses her alarming death during their first kiss and is soon conflicted about what to do. His father always told him that he was never to tell anyone about his powers, how they would die, or intervene to stop a death, but Luke is desperate to save Mia. To make matters worse, a violent motorcycle gang is terrorizing Colma and may be targeting Mia’s family.

Luke learns more about the history of Colma and its founding families, soon realizing that using his power can have deadly consequences. Throughout the novel, he learns that the right choice isn’t always clear and sometimes, you must make sacrifices, even if it hurts.

SOUL CITY is a relatively quick read with an interesting premise; Colma is a town filled with cemeteries and unusual occurrences due to San Francisco’s 20th-century ban on graveyards and Luke Cressman has inherited special powers that his ancestor first received due to his status as a founding member of the town. Unfortunately, it also contains “insta-love” and a somewhat unfocused and anticlimactic plot. Luke is infatuated with Mia from the moment he meets her and it felt somewhat unrealistic (there is no denying, however, that they seem to work really well together). Also, the main conflict of the story feels undefined for much of the beginning creating the unfocused plot previously mentioned.

On a more positive note, SOUL CITY creates an excellent explanation and backstory for the Cressman family’s supernatural powers which provides a very engaging and interesting aspect to the novel. Although there are some parts of the book which are not the greatest, SOUL CITY was entertaining and kept me interested the entire time.

SOUL CITY is the perfect novel for anyone looking for a quick read that blends contemporary fiction, mystery and a taste of the fantasy genre seamlessly and creatively.

Reviewed by Ansley K., Teen Board Member on December 18, 2018

Soul City
by Richard E. Gropp