The author of the acclaimed Sanctus trilogy conjures an eerie epic of good and evil, retribution and redemption—the first novel in the mesmerizing Solomon Creed series in which a man with no memory of his past must save a lost soul in a small Arizona town
On a hilltop in the town of Redemption, Arizona, the townspeople gather at an old cemetery for the first time in decades to bury a local man. The somber occasion is suddenly disrupted by a thunderous explosion in the distant desert. A plane has crashed, and it’s pouring a pillar of black smoke into the air.
As Sheriff Garth Morgan speeds toward the crash, he nearly hits a tall, pale man running down the road, with no shoes on his feet and no memory of who he is or how he got there. The only clues to his identity are a label in his handmade suit jacket and a book that’s been inscribed to him: both giving the name Solomon Creed. When Morgan tells Solomon that he is in Redemption, Arizona, Solomon begins to believe he’s here for a reason—to save a man he has never met . . . the man who was buried that morning.
Miles away, three men scan the skies for an overdue plane carrying an important package. Spotting a black cloud in the distance, they suspect something has gone badly wrong, and that the man who has sent them will demand a heavy price if the package has been lost.
To uncover the secret of his identity, Solomon Creed must uncover Redemption’s secrets too and learn the truth behind the death of the man he is there to save. But there are those who will do anything to stop him, men prepared to call on the darkest forces to prevent Solomon from seeing the light.
A plane crashes in a desert, and fire begins to consume desert surrounding the town of Redemption. A stranger walks away, tasked with saving a good man and his wife, while evil stirs around him. Secrets are unraveled, and the town itself seems cursed, despite the dominating presence of a beautiful church in the centre of the town. Mixing modern-day thriller with classic Western traditions with a healthy dose of religious symbolism and mysticism, The Searcher is a compelling read that will keep you guessing right until the final pages.
Redemption is more than the name of the town; it is also the mission of many of the characters. It is the chance to start again, to redeem themselves or to save their families and to be saved. There are people trying to do the right thing, corrupted by greed and by the influence of a drug kingpin named Papa Tio, who have their own mission along side of Solomon’s, and everyone has a reason for their actions. The reader learns very quickly that there is good and evil in Redemption, but there are also many shades of grey and we are constantly unsure whom we can trust.
The narrative is bookended by fire – another form of ritual cleansing – and is more than symbolic. There are ghosts present in this story, and bargains made long ago that are promises to keep. From the eternal struggle of good and evil to the concept of resurrection, from Solomon (the wise king) to the town’s founding father, Jack Cassidy (JC), religious symbolism abounds and mixes with these ghosts from the past to provide clues and to lead us where we need to be. Flashbacks to the original journals of Cassidy give us insight into how the town came to be, and what secrets it might still hold.
Solomon Creed himself is an enigma; he is a literal blank slate, being an albino with no memory. The only thing he knows for sure is that he is there to see James Coronado, a man who has just been buried in the town cemetery. The clues to Creed’s past lie with Coronado’s widow, Holly, who may hold the necessary information that could restore Solomon’s memories. As the novel progresses, both Creed and the reader begin to realize that he has innate knowledge of some very specific skills that save his life more than once. Someone – or rather, many someones – are actively working against that, and there is race against time to find the truth. I was fascinated by Solomon, and who he might be. I had my suspicions, but will only say that I enjoyed that this was a standalone, despite being the first of a series.
The writing is filled with sensory detail, and the heat of the burning brushfires to the thirst of the desert journey remains vivid in the reader’s mind. There’s no surprise in hearing that it has already been optioned for a television series; as I read it, I could see the story unfolding in front of me. I can only hope that it is given to a director who will be thoughtful and considerate of the slow reveal that the book delivers. There is still so much to learn about Creed, despite the hints provided in the epilogue, and I’m so intrigued to see where he might end up next.
Have you joined the 50 Book Pledge yet? The Searcher will be the 50 Book Pledge Featured Read for this week, and you can add it to you list by clicking HERE.
The Searcher is available now from your favourite book retailer, including Indigo, Kobo and Book Depository. ISBN: 9780062329721, 480 pages. A copy of The Searcher was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.