book review

Book Review: Corrupted Souls

CORRUPTED SOULS by Lynn-Steven Johanson is a gripping murder mystery that begins with a single murder and ends with the fall of much more. Check out what Jadidsa Perez has to say in her review of this Level Best Books title.

Book Review: Corrupted Souls

Reviewed by Jadidsa Perez

A gripping murder mystery that begins with a single murder and ends with the fall of much more

Award-winning author Lynn-Steven Johanson returns with a riveting addition to the Joe Erickson Mystery series. Corrupted Souls sets out to challenge Joe both mentally and physically in a convoluted maze-like case. 

Corrupted Souls follows Joe Erickson, a Chicago detective reeling from a previous case, now wanting to return to work. Soon after Erickson’s return to the line of duty, the body of Daniel Silverman, a young Jewish graduate student, is found in a lake with a swastika cut into his back. Joe and his partner Sam take the lead on the investigation and originally suspect Daniel’s death to be a hate crime. As the investigation continues, they realize that Daniel’s murder might have been much more personal.

“Most people would be shocked and wonder how these people could have such hateful feelings? But Joe had seen hate acted upon over and over again. Envy, contempt, humiliation, and hate learned from others and passed on.”

For those who are picking up Corrupted Souls as their introduction to the Joe Erickson series, just know that the author does a brilliant job of filling you in on what you need to know. Corrupted Souls works great as a standalone

The author’s intuitive characterization of Joe and his associates makes the first chapters exceptionally captivating. Readers can immediately identify Joe as a passionate detective that has overworked himself but refuses to rest. His partner, Sam, is witty and acts as a great juxtaposition to Joe’s serious demeanor. I really enjoyed their interactions, which create comedic relief in an otherwise emotionally heavy book. 

My favorite aspect of the novel, however, is the great amount of field-specific research supporting the plot. There’s a lot of care taken into the small details of a detective’s life and the procedures in place. I’ve read a plethora of detective novels, and this is one of the few that explains the behind-the-scenes details while remaining captivating.

“He remembered what Destiny told him weeks ago, ‘You’ve taken the twisting path because, despite its obstacles and distractions, it will ultimately lead you in the right direction.’” 

While the characterizations of Joe and Sam are standouts, I would have liked to get more out of the other characters. Destiny, for instance, is initially a really intriguing person, but her scenes are later reduced to cooking and asking questions about Joe’s case. We don’t get much regarding what she’s up to, and fleshing out some of the minor characters like Destiny could’ve made the twists in this story more shocking. 

I would absolutely recommend this book to murder mystery fans, especially those who enjoy police procedural and detective stories in particular. It’s a wonderful standalone piece of fiction that’ll make you curious to pick up the other books in the series.

Publisher: Level Best Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Print Length: 224 pages

ISBN: 978-1685121006

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