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on Feb. 18, 2012 :
Harvest of the Heart is a great thriller. Michael Selmer keeps you reading, wanting to know what is around the next corner. You quickly grow connected to Elsa, following her life from childhood to becoming a young adult. The ending reads as though there will be a series. I hope so; I am looking forward to seeing what Elsa conquers next.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 08, 2012 :
Harvest of the Heart is a fantastic thriller/mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. Author Michael Selmer knows how to write a character you can believe in and care about. In fact, there were several characters within the book that I felt a very strong connection to and wanted to see succeed in their quest for justice against The Harvester. Was justice served? Well you will just have to purchase the book and find out.
Spanning a period of 20 years, we, the readers, get to watch as young Elsa grows from little girl to a young, beautiful, athletic and intelligent woman. Through Selmer's talent as a writer, we feel Elsa's pain, happiness and determination as events in her life shape her into the woman she will become. I only had one minor irritation with Harvest of the Heart and that was due to some circumstances that, without going into detail, I found highly unbelievable, but upon reaching the end of the book I got the reason behind the situations.
Much like a runner needs to pace themselves to reach the end of their route to avoid tiring out too quickly, the story was well told and paced. I did not notice any flaws or tells that easily gave away any major plot point, which can easily happen in a thriller. Harvest of the Heart is well worth the purchase price, but be warned it is part one of, at least, a 2 part series. I know I sometimes hate reading a book not realizing that there will be more to come and then being left hanging.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 06, 2012 :
A tense and disturbing thriller with a unique female protagonist
Harvest of the Heart begins with the murder of Elsa Danforth's mother on her fourth birthday. This would be traumatic enough for any child, but Elsa has a strange connection with her mother, and this bond results in Elsa experiencing the horrors of her mother's brutal murder through their psychic connection. Elsa's mother is just the first victim in a killing spree that lasts for years, and the serial killer becomes known as The Harvester. The killings happen in September or October each year, and the FBI are struggling to understand the motives of the killer, and what is so special about this particular time of year.
Meanwhile, young Elsa is growing up. She becomes a strong and spirited girl who excels at running. The story follows her life as she grows, and gradually it becomes clear that her principle objective is to kill the Harvester, so that he can't destroy the lives of any more young women.
A young FBI agent has similarly developed an obsession with the Harvester - but despite some intricate planning and warnings to people to stay off the streets in the danger period, the Harvester continues to elude him.
Michael Selmer writes well, and the book flows from descriptive passage to dark and terrifying revelations about the Harvester. Some of the scenes of murder are gruesome in their detail, but cleverly written. Elsa's character develops nicely from childhood to adulthood, and the novel has an excellent climax, with an unexpected ending.
For me there were one or two slight gaps in the story. We learn of Elsa's connection with her mother early on, but the relevance of this disappears on her mother's death, to be reignited momentarily towards the end. It felt as if this could have had more significance as the story progressed. We know what the Harvester does, and some reference is made as to why - but I never felt that I entirely understood his motivation, or why this only happened once a year. What Selmer did very well, though, was demonstrate the escalation in the horror of the murders, if not in the frequency.
During Elsa's growing up period, the writing was fluid and the story was interesting, but it became slightly disconnected from the main theme, with the focus moving away somewhat from the Harvester's activities.
That said, I would recommend this book as a very good read, and these are minor points in an otherwise excellent story.
Rachel Abbott from The Kindle Book Review
(reviewed within a month of purchase)