New age thriller starts strong but fails to deliver on its initial promise
The premise of Dennis Batchelder’s novel, “Soul Identity,” is captivating: What if some physical trait allowed you to trace your soul through time? What if you could build a storehouse of wealth and accumulated knowledge that each of your physical incarnations could access and build upon? The premise contains such tantalizing possibilities from a spiritual perspective. Unfortunately, Batchelder fails to deliver the depth and insight to propel his story beyond a simple thriller.
Story: You can’t take it with you… but what if you could? Most people believe their souls outlive their bodies. Most people would find an organization that tracks their souls into the future and passes on their banked money and memories compelling. Scott Waverly isn’t like most people. He spends his days finding and fixing computer security holes. And Scott is skeptical of his new client’s claim that they have been calculating and tracking soul identities for almost twenty-six hundred years. Are they running a freaky cult? Or a sophisticated con job? Scott needs to save Soul Identity from an insider attack. Along the way, he discovers the importance of the bridges connecting people’s lives. (From amazon.com)
Spiritual/metaphysical content: Low. Imagine how much spiritual growth could occur if you could record the wisdom of each lifetime and then use it as a foundation for your next incarnation. The novel’s premise allows for this possibility, but it focuses instead on who controls the accumulated wealth. If Batchelder had explored the implications of his premise, Soul Identity would be a much richer, more satisfying story.
My take: I enjoyed this novel as a simple thriller. However, the book could have been so much more. The premise reeks with possibility, but Batchelder fails to deliver any real depth. The simplistic storyline and lack of character development make what could have been a subtle, satisfying, insightful novel a mere “popcorn” read that leaves you wanting more.
Soul Identity, by Dennis Batchelder
Published by NetLeaves, 2007
Paperback, 268 pages
Buy at Amazon