Eye Spy: A Sojourning Souls Story by Kevin J. Hallock is a chilling tale of Stephanie and Christopher Campbell, two survivors of a vicious attack that killed their parents. Christopher (CJ) has become a recluse who is afraid to leave his house except when he sojourns in the bodies of hosts, so he and Steph help their friend, Sheriff Paul Howard solve crimes.
Hallock has written a book that combines the best of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery in a story that will keep readers turning the pages. The characters are compelling and easy to identify with—even sojourner CJ—as we follow their actions and innermost thoughts. Steph is perhaps the character most easy to sympathize, and identify, with. Loyal to her brother, she also has a wild streak that wasn’t completely extinguished by the brutal assault. But, she keeps it in check in deference to CJ and his demons.
The supporting characters are also interesting. From the sheriff who is willing to risk his job in order to support the children of his dead friend to Father Rodney, an investigator for the mysterious VSA, who is determined to find and control all Out of Body Masters (OBMs), we encounter characters that are both bigger than life in some ways (due no doubt to the genre), but who remind us of people we’ve met. The most interesting, and at the same time troubling, character is Cecil, the OBM serial killer who is the main focus of Father Rodney’s search. He is the cardboard villain for most of the book until he encounters CJ on the ferry from Apple Island. Cecil’s attempts to communicate with CJ, and his frustration and anger when CJ is unable to respond make him real at that point. It would have been better if there’d been more of Cecil’s backstory, but the lack of it doesn’t hurt the book.
The plot, really the eventual merging of two parallel stories, is fascinating. On the one hand, there’s the conflict between the Campbells and Doris Morris, the owner of the Apple Island Casino. An effective combination of humor, greed, and mystery actually makes this the most interesting of the two stories. The other story—Father Rodney’s search for Cecil, and Cecil’s deadly flight across the country to Apple Island, is a chilling tale that has some graphic scenes of violence that are not for everyone. The subplot, the actions of the messianic cult and its pedophilic leader, are also graphically disturbing. But, all of this comes together to create a mixed genre story that will keep you reading.
On the mechanical side, this book is extremely well edited and laid out, and the cover signals what the story is about without giving anything away.
I give this book five stars.