The Moving Soul by Joshua Criss
Self-Published (October 2015)
262 pages; $9.95 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Josh Black
“Three hundred and thirty-five years ago, a settler in the Virginia colonies completed a sacrificial spell and buried a legendary occult book for the next one destined to find it. Now, that person has…”
The Moving Soul is a supernatural thriller that focuses on three main characters, all students at Jamestown University in Virginia. Louis is a meek, socially awkward kind of guy, Carolyn is the girl he longs for and eventually ends up in a relationship with, and Darin is his new roommate. Darin also happens to be a real piece of work, a sociopath who’s seeking everything he needs to complete a spell that will grant him immortality. When he makes a certain sacrifice and reaches that goal, he intends to taunt, torture, and kill for eternity.
As the first few chapters prove, Criss can deliver some solid prose. Things get off to a quick start with some evocative description, well-placed tension, and moments of genuine surprise. As far as characters go, Louis in particular is charming in a pitiable sort of way, filled as he is with self-doubt. The problem is that his internal monologues come far too frequently early in the novel, and go on for far too long. He analyzes every little detail of what happens between him and Carolyn, and while this may be true to life, it becomes tiring and the plot suffers.
Aside from that little speed bump, which isn’t as prominent from about the halfway point, it’s an enjoyable ride all the way through. The characters, while not all that interesting, have just enough meat on their bones for readers to be invested in them, and some of the everyday life moments are amusing. The plot goes to some unexpected and intriguing places, particularly in the final act. The history behind the spell and the one being sacrificed to could have been fleshed out more, but everything wraps up well enough.
All in all, The Moving Soul is a fun read. It doesn’t break any new ground and it takes its time getting to the page-turner parts, but it’s worth a read if you like occult or supernatural thrillers.