SJI Holliday has been reading crime fiction since she was able to hold a book. She writes short stories and her debut novel, Black Wood was published in spring 2015. You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com.
A plane crashes in the Arizona desert.
One lone figure emerges alive from the wreckage.
He has no memory of his past, and no idea of his future.
He only knows he must save a man.
But how do you save someone who is already dead?
* * *
Who is Solomon Creed? This was the question that proliferated through social media in the run up to Simon Toyne’s most recent release. The story opens with a barefoot man walking away from the wreckage of a burning plane. He’s in the desert. He has a book in his pocket, a memoir… and he’s on the edge of the small Arizona town called Redemption. His mission is to save a man named James Coronado. But that is all he knows. He has no memory of his past, or of how he came to be there – yet he has knowledge of survival techniques, foreign languages, and many things he doesn’t yet understand.
Something bad is going on in Redemption. There are hints of corruption, of drugs cartels… and a widow who is searching for justice. Where does Solomon Creed fit in? He doesn’t know – but he’s determined to find out.
Described as ‘Lee Child meets Stephen King’ it’s easy to understand the comparisons – a drifter with a mission finds himself in an unknown town. A stark desert landscape, with a plethora of intriguing small town characters. Toyne is known for his religious themed thrillers, with dark and sinister tones. Solomon Creed fits the mould – tight prose, short chapters, a distinct feeling of something off-kilter – something supernatural twanging away at the edges. It is difficult to say more without giving too much away, but I enjoyed the way that the reader was left in a state of almost constant confusion. I’m sure it was no accident that Toyne wanted us to uncover the secrets of Redemption along with Creed – following him on his journey. Wondering why he had no shoes. Why he was so pale. Whether he was actually in that plane or not…
The main thing I observed was how cinematic this story is. Strong visuals, a bold protagonist, suitably creepy villains… and complex plot woven out of many pleasing strands. I’m already gearing up for its big screen release. Pass the popcorn, would you?