It's a tough case for FBI special agent Maggie O'Dell. Six young men have staged a standoff with the FBI, resulting in the death of five of the men and one agent, a very good friend to Maggie. The youths were all disciples of charismatic minister Joseph Everett, but the reasons for the standoff are unclear, as the survivor is afraid to talk.

Maggie is also working on the murder of a senator's daughter. Shortly before her death, the girl attended a rally staged by the Everett group. Maggie knows there's a connection but she's being stonewalled. Her only hope for information is her estranged mother, a disciple of Everett's. It will take all of Maggie's skills to heal their rift and discover what forces of evil are at work.

THE SOUL CATCHER moves at a swift pace, and vivid descriptions of the investigatory process add color to a rather standard story. (Aug., 400 pp., $24.95).

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg