I just finished reading My Soul to Keep (Multnomah Books) by Melanie Wells. I first met Melanie in January 2008 at Kathy Patrick’s Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas. A fiddle player, she accompanied guitarist and singer Trish Murphy, and I was quite impressed with Melanie. After reading her novel, My Soul to Keep, I am even more impressed. This beautiful and quiet-spoken author is deep water. She is a counselor in private practice in Dallas and is also the author of When the Day of Evil Comes and The Soul Hunter, two novels I now intend to read.
For anyone who knows and loves to read about Dallas, Wells’ novel is a fine read. I was raised in Dallas, in parts of the city described in the novel, and as I read, forgotten streets and locations were resurrected in my memory. Wells is a skilled mystery writer, but she also has extraordinary talents in character development. Some children are key to her story, and though it’s tough to make a child’s character interesting and dynamic in an adult novel, Wells pulls it off. I’ve been an English instructor with universities for many years, and I identified completely with Dylan Foster, SMU professor and the novel’s protagonist. Why? In my fourteen years of adjunct English instruction at three colleges, I have known instructors just like Dylan Foster–sensitive, somewhat eccentric, and passionate. Wells’ story reveals deep research on her part in psychological and paranormal topics.
The novel’s plot is solid, intriguing, and best of all–not predictable. While the novel has an edge to it, there’s nothing repulsive or offensive in its presentation. Wells’ novel reveals in-depth research on her part into the criminal mind, as well tremendous general insights into human nature. The novel is written so that the pace and intensity increases as you read, and before too many pages, you find yourself solidly, though imaginatively, a part of Dr. Foster’s world.
Wells has the gift of expression. Her writing is full of wit and understatement both in narrative sections and in dialogue. This is a novel you should read.Here are are just a few of my favorite lines:
“God has a tendency to not follow my orders, a niggling little policy of His I find quite maddening” (52).
“The manic laughter drained from his expression, leaving the raw hate and the impentetrable mistrust from years of a hard, bottom-scraping life” (291).
“My sink is pristine. My soul could use a can of Comet” (150).
“That was his style–vandalism with a creep-out factor” (195)
Melanie Wells website has already been mentioned on this blog, but you can find more about her here: