We've all heard the phrase "Hell on Earth," but did you know it's an actual place, and it's located in Missouri? David Michael has created a fantastical world in which Hell has recently exploded upwards to create Hell on Earth, a place where Hellish creatures mix with a very human population. It also does a booming tourist trade as the residents of the Suburbs flock over to experience this exotic location. They can meet with demons, the undead, and even the Old Man himself, but they can only hope to make it back home to tell their friends.
When I first started this book, I wasn't really into it. I do enjoy horror, but I realize I like thriller horror much more than straight horror. Some of the scenes were grotesque and made me cringe, and others were just horrible and made me very uncomfortable. I didn't feel the immediate draw I usually do towards stories I enjoy. It took me several chapters to get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked.
We start off in a pivotal scene, and it makes us wonder "how did we get to this point?" Subsequent chapters vary between what happened before that scene to what happens after. To help us, the chapters all had headings that included either "Before the Fire" or "After the Fire." I quickly caught on and found I really enjoyed the jumping back and forth. I find that plot device to sometimes be a hindrance to a story, if for no other reason than it makes the reader work harder. In this story, however, it fits. It's like you're given the filling of the sandwich, and you gradually build up what's surrounding that filling on both sides. It added a lot to the story to have this unfolding of key pieces of information as you're putting together the plot in your head. It was a device well-suited to this story, and it was used perfectly.
Overall, I think this is a really well put-together book. The writing flows nicely, in spite of the presence of several incomplete sentences. Somehow, it works with the characters and the plot. The chapters give us the information we need at just the right times, and the characters are memorable. I think I really got into the story once the Summoned was introduced. It was quite intriguing, to "feel" the thoughts of this "being" and get to experience the story from this different perspective. Although I wasn't as fond of some of the scenes described and I didn't find myself really connected to any one character, I was still engaged in, and enjoyed, this story. I think I'd really enjoy this author's works in other genres as well.
4 /5 stars