Hostile Takeover ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Hostile Takeover
Series: Arcane Casebook #8
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 293
Words: 97.5K



Synopsis:

Sorsha is dying from the curse the Legion has put on her. Alex and Dr Bell must find a way to undo it or Sorsha will be dead in days.

Alex is also hired to figure out if a fellow runewright with the ability to write a rune for radio was murdered. Everybody has a motive and nobody has a motive. A strong willed attractive CEO who is separated from her husband. The husband, wheelchair bound by polio but carrying on an affair with his live in nurse. One of the other radio companies. It’s a muddle.

Finally, Alex is hired by a couple to find out who is pressuring them to sell their house. When Alex begins to investigate, the husband is killed and the wife moves away to her family. Now it is personal for Alex.

The couple’s house was necessary for the Legion to place a gigantic finding rune in their basement. They were using the curse on Sorsha, which drained her magic, to power it. They were looking for a hidden chamber in the Arctic which contained an indescribable evil. Alex foils their plans, destroys the spell on Sorsha and takes one step closer to becoming the most powerful being on the planet.

The wife committed the murder and the case was not tied into the other two.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this one just as much as I have the previous Arcane Casebook stories. Alex shaves with a straight razor. Which means he’s clean shaven. I just made that connection after looking at the beautiful cover. Now I can’t unsee it 😦

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Curse of the Phoenix ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Curse of the Phoenix
Series: Arcane Irregulars #1
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 272
Words: 87K



Synopsis:

From DanWillisAuthor.com

A stolen ARTIFACT…

New York Police Lieutenant Danny Pak has a problem. When one of his officers calls him out to an unusual crime scene, Danny realizes that it’s terrifyingly similar to something the department thought was dead and buried. Now he has to find a madman before the story hits the papers and the city explodes into chaos.

Across town, Agent William “Buddy” Redhorn of the FBI has two problems. He’s been assigned a potentially career-ending case with magical ties, and his sorceress boss is out of town. The case involves a stolen statue that belongs to the government of Brunei, but the more he chases the thieves, the more bodies begin to drop. Bodies affected by a strange, unknown magic.

Resolving to work together, Danny and Redhorn have to catch a cold-blooded killer, recover a stolen artifact, all while keeping everything out of the press. If they don’t, it will be more than their careers that will die when the curse of the Jade Phoenix descends on New York.

My Thoughts:

I had bought this book back in November of ’21 and it has taken me this long to get to it. The good thing about me waiting so long is that the next Arcane Casebook is now out and so I can dive into that soon after this.

I enjoyed this book. I’ve enjoyed all of the Arcane books that Willis has written. I would say he’s hit his skill plateau though. He’s a solid B-list author and that’s not a bad thing it’s just the reality. If you like light urban fantasy detective stuff, Willis has got you covered.

This is the first review for this month where I’m deliberately writing light. Adios.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Monster Hunter Bloodlines ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Monster Hunter Bloodlines
Series: Monster Hunters International #9 (MHI)
Authors: Larry Correia
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 307
Words: 117.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

The chaos god Asag has been quiet since the destruction of the City of Monsters, but Monster Hunter International knows that he is still out there, somewhere—plotting, waiting for his chance to unravel reality.

When Owen and the MHI team discover that one of Isaac Newton’s Ward Stones is being auctioned off by Reptoids who live deep beneath Atlanta, they decide to steal the magical superweapon and use it to destroy Asag once and for all. But before the stone can be handed off, it is stolen by a mysterious thief with ties to MHI and the Vatican’s Secret Guard.

It’s a race against time, the Secret Guard, a spectral bounty hunter, and a whole bunch of monsters to acquire the Ward Stone and use it against Asag. For as dangerous as the chaos god is, there is something much older—and infinitely more evil—awakening deep in the jungles of South America.

My Thoughts:

It has been TWO WHOLE YEARS since I’ve been able to read a new MHI novel. This is why I’m not a big fan of ongoing series. However, as this is one of those “forever” series (as far as I can tell), there’s no point in waiting for the end book because that will only happen when Correia finally runs out of ideas for the MHI universe. Methinks that won’t happen for a VERY long time. So I’ll pull up my big boy diapers and try not to cry too much because Correia is a meany and refuses to write MHI novels exclusively.

This was pulptastic and I loved it. If you remember from my Currently Reading & Quote post from last week, this book even had a Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost. Now, as awesome as that sounds, this monster, The Drekavac, is even more awesome in action. He is demon that is under contract to recover the stolen Ward Stone and it takes the entire MHI Compound, Agent Franks AND the Vatican’s Secret Guard to hold him off.

What made this story even MORE interesting was that Stricken is involved (he’s the disgraced former leader of Special Task Force Unicorn) and he’s actually trying to save humanity from something worse than Asag. Apparently there are 2 different factions of Elder Gods fighting in a nearby dimension and it’s spilling over into South America. We’re talking a serious Minions of an Elder God infestation here and only the Ward Stone, properly used, can shut the portal to the other dimensions. Of course, the book ends just as Owen and Co are getting ready to march into Fae Land where the fighting is going on. Which means I’m going to have to wait another 2 year sigh. Grrrrrrrr.

Once again, MHI has not let me down. It is balls to the walls action and pulpy as watermelon. I didn’t begrudge a second of my time reading this and if light hearted gun wielding monster killing heroes are your thing, then I’d encourage you to try this series.

Oh, if you actually go to look at previous reviews you will see that this is actually book 8 in the series but there is a collection of short stories that I include so it’s book 9 for me.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Department 19 (Department 19 #1) ★✬☆☆☆

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Title: Department 19
Series: Department 19 #1
Authors: Will Hill
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Pages: 379
Words: 133K



Synopsis:

From the inside cover

Jamie Carpenter’s life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein’s monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond – from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it’s packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.

My Thoughts:

I went into this hoping for a rollicking good ride of monster killing. Instead, I get the following:

  • there was no profanity EXCEPT taking God or Jesus’ name in vain. It was a constant barrage of breaking the 4th Commandment. It had me close to dnf’ing on that alone
  • whiny 16 year old boy “knows things” (not even psychically, but just because he said so) so they must be right and everybody acts on it, even when they say they won’t
  • He’s never fired a gun in his life and has been physically bullied by other teens, but once he’s had 24hrs of training, he’s a vampire killing machine that sets a new record in the “simulation”
  • a vampire girl is supposed to kill him and then lies and deceives him for her own purposes, but she really loves him and they make out, so she’s all ok
  • a 200 year old super secret military organization just lets him requisition troops, guns, helicopters, whatever and ignores him instead of locking him up whenever he throws a teenage tempter tantrum “because of his mom”

I think that’s enough. I knew this was Young Adult (definitely not middle grade due to the graphic nature of some of the violence) but I was kind of hoping it would be Monster Hunters International for teens. Nope. What I got was Anakin Skywalker (mommy issues and all) hunting vampires. The final nail in the coffin (because a book this bad needs at least one good/bad joke) was how Jamie kills the boss vampire in the end. Now, you have to remember that vampires have been shown, IN THIS BOOK, to have super hearing, are super fast and strong and can survive being dropped from an airplane and crashing headfirst into the ground. So Jamie uses a crossbow to pull a big cross onto the most powerful vampire in the world and the vampire doesn’t realize what he’s doing, doesn’t hear the cross creaking and falling, nor does he move out of the way and once it brains him, he just lies there, dead. It was the most ridiculous thing I had (almost) ever read.

I don’t recommend this for Christians because of the blasphemy, I don’t recommend this for teens because of the graphic violence and I don’t recommend it for adults because of how stupid it is.

So much for this series!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Hard Day’s Knight (Black Knight Chronicles #1) ★☆☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Hard Day’s Knight
Series: Black Knight Chronicles #1
Authors: John Hartness
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 230
Words: 62K



Synopsis:

From the Publisher

Children are missing.

The police are stumped.

Halloween is coming, and an ancient evil is on the horizon.

The vampires are the good guys.

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to save a client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.

Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil. Soon, they’ve enlisted the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and a strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.

My Thoughts:

Ranting and theological oriented stuff ahead. Read at your own rist.

This type of book is the EXACT reason I don’t read much urban fantasy. If imams were portrayed the way most priests are, you can bet your bottom dollar there would be riots and violence and other imams going full on mufti and screaming out death notice fatwas faster than you could eat a porkchop from Willie Jewels Barbeque! In fact, the author would be in danger of having his head cut off or being gunned down at his business (just look what happened to the Charlie Hebdo publication in France!) Heck, if Hartness had written it that way and gone to Malaysia, the government itself might just cut off his head, or at best beat him until he promised to not write like that anymore. But do you see hordes of roman catholics beating down Hartness’s door, or Cardinals (the guys just lower than the Pope) sic’ing the Jesuits on him? No, you don’t. What you get is bloggers like me sighing and rolling their eyes at the absolute stupidity and lack of knowledge exhibited here.

The older I get the more I care about how Christianity is portrayed in fiction. Not because it bothers me personally but because of how many people take their cue from fiction. If you were to ask the average Joe or Josephina on the street if a priest who was truly devout would have a comparative religions breakfast with the leader of a coven of witches every month so they could genially compare theological notes, they’d probably wonder why that would be a problem at all. And that is the least of the things I had a problem with in this book. For that example, it wasn’t that the priest was friends with a witch. He should be. You can’t show Christ to people if you refuse to be their friends and don’t interact with them. But it was the “comparative” part coupled with the truly devout. On matters of theology, a Christian is not going to come together with people of other faiths and claim that they’re all equal. Only one of those faiths is genuine and since the Bible declares itself to be the Word of God Himself, a devout Christian is going to treat it as such.

Then you have stuff like demons vs fallen angels vs angels. There were no angels in this story. Just a couple of demons and a fallen angel. Who ends up being allowed to go back to Heaven “because he just had to ask”. I barely even know where to start with what is so wrong with ALL of that. Angels and demons are not just amped up humans with a pair of wings of either dovelike or batlike appearance. You cannot ascribe human emotions and reasoning to them because THEY ARE NOT HUMANS!!! That’s just the tip of it for that issue and I’m already holding my head in my hands (which is quite a feat as I’m also typng this!). I think that is enough from me. Any more and I’ll just start upsetting myself and there’s no need for that.

In conclusion, I won’t be reading any more in this series and I’ll be avoiding Hartness as an author in general.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Infernal Express (Adventures of the Royal Occultist #3) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Infernal Express
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #3
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 199
Words: 68.5K



Synopsis:

St. Cyprian is coerced into taking the remains of Dracula and giving them to the Turks and jannissaries, Dracula’s ancient enemies. A cult of Dracula wants the remains for themselves so as to raise their lord from the dead. The jannissaries also want the remains as they don’t trust St. Cyprian to be able to keep the remains safe from others. And finally, the secret vampire society wants the remains so they can lock them away and keep Dracula from ever rising again. Oh, and Lucy Harker, a half-vampire, thinks she’s the only one who can deal with her daddy’s remains.

All of this ends up taking place on a train towards Constantinople, through land barely over World War One. St Cyprian is an idiot and gets infected by Dracula so he has to contend with enemies within and without. Eventually he, his protege Ebe and Lucy get the remains to a sacred monastary with a pool of holy water. St Cyprian cleanses himself from the vampire taint and then throws the remains of Dracula into the holy water, which while not eradicating him, will hold him captive.

During all of this Dracula shows St Cyprian a future where the Old Ones have returned to Earth and humanity is on the brink of extinction, not from fighting the Old Ones, but from worshiping them. St. Cyprian has seen this vision in the previous stories so he knows Dracula isn’t making this up. So St Cyprian must find a way to prevent this future without allowing a monster like Dracula to use it for his own ends.

My Thoughts:

Another fun entry in the Royal Occultist series. At the end of the book was the prologue and chapter 1 of Book 4, which was untitled. When I contacted the author, he told me there had been issues with the publishing company so book 4 was never published and he didn’t know when it would be. I’m guessing rights were involved.

This was extremely action packed from beginning to end and it did make me wonder how St Cyprian has lived as long as he has. He certainly doesn’t seem to know half of what he should and as for him trying to teach Ebe anything, that girl seems to think she doesn’t need any teaching. It’s frustrating to read about but also so true to life.

I thought Reynolds did a good job with handling the Dracula lore in such a way that it fit right into the Royal Occultist world but also putting his own unique spin on it. Making Dracula a being that is on par with the archangels in terms of power was clever.

With no more books, I’m done with this series. It was light and fun and if Reynolds ever writes more, I’ll be reading them.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Jade Suit of Death (Adventures of the Royal Occultist #2) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Jade Suit of Death
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #2
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 190
Words: 70K



Synopsis:

St. Cyprian is hired to recover an occultic artifact for one of his acquaintences. Said artifact has been stolen by a group of thugs who appear to have the power of controlling a demon. Turns out one of the occultic clubs has decided to use whatever power they can grab to change the course of history and to make Britain an Empire in perpetuity.

The jade suit encases an original werewolf and the acquaintence was hoping to study it to see if he could cure himself, as he has been bitten himself.

St. Cyprian and his assistant must track down the jade suit and stop the splinter group from peforming an equinox ceremony binding the werewolf to the leader of the group, thus allowing her nigh unlimited power. Of course they succeed.

My Thoughts:

This was another great entry but also brought to light something that had been niggling at me in the first book. Reynolds kind of rushes his endings. The buildup is fantastic. He sets things up great and does a good job of describing everything leading up to the end but the climactic battle and the aftermath, it’s always gone through extremely quickly. I have to admit I suspect it comes from his franchise fiction writing. It really reminded me of how a lot of the Forgotten Realms books/series ended. Other than that, I was perfectly satisfied with how this story went.

The idea that the “plague” contained by the jade suit was out of control lycanthropy was really interesting and definitely turned the expectations of the reader, ie, me, on its head. The inclusion of the “Hairy Hands” and Baphomet as well as the splinter group of rogue occultists definitely made for a full house when it came to villainy. In a lot of ways it didn’t seem so much that St. Cyprian overcame the villains as that he performed magical ju-jitsu and used everyone against the others. He came across as the Millennial Ideal of lets work together instead of the Gen X of One Warrior Overcoming All Odds.

A larger overall threat was hinted at but I’m not sure that Reynolds will be able to pull that off with just one more book. I guess I’ll just have to read it and find out 😀

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Whitechapel Demon (Adventures of the Royal Occultist #1) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Whitechapel Demon
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #1
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 172
Words: 59K



Synopsis:

Publisher’s Blurb & Me

Formed during the reign of Elizabeth I, the post of the Royal Occultist was created to safeguard the British Empire against threats occult, otherworldly, infernal and divine.

It is now 1920, and the title and offices have fallen to Charles St. Cyprian. Accompanied by his apprentice Ebe Gallowglass, they defend the battered empire from the forces of darkness.

In the wake of a séance gone wrong, a monstrous killer is summoned from the depths of nightmare by a deadly murder-cult. The entity hunts its prey with inhuman tenacity even as its worshippers stop at nothing to bring the entity into its full power… It’s up to St. Cyprian and Gallowglass to stop the bloodthirsty horror before another notch is added to its gory tally, but will they become the next victims of the horror guised as London’s most famous killer?

Using the powers of darkness themselves, Charlie and Ebe use the medium who originally brought forth the demon as bait. Charlie uses some magic embued in his house to chase the eldritch horror back into the dark from whence it came.

My Thoughts:

I have some theological quibbles, which I’ll deal with as I suspect most anyone reading this review won’t have them. First, the Royal Occultist is supposed to protect England/Britian/Whatever from forces Occult, Otherworldy and Divine. Why would it need to be protected from the Divine? The answer of course is that despite saying on several occasions “For God and Country”, there is no God, no Jehovah, just a shell for the story’s sake. So Divine in this case will mean any and all gods, who are all valid. Balderdash. Secondly, Charlie is as involved in the Occult and Occultic Forces as any demon loving secret society, he just happens to use those powers “for good”. Once again, Balderdash. It is quite evident that Reynolds is using the shell of Protestant England without thinking about its depths or anything real. It annoys me to see Christianity used as a prop and in this case, a very poorly made prop.

Other than that, I quite enjoyed this read. It was short, filled that cosmic horror itch I sometimes get (and how much more cosmic horror’ish can it get than an Old One masquerading as Jack the Ripper?) and was fast paced almost to the point of being frenetic. It also has the honor of only being a completed trilogy (even though, from what I can gather, there might be 2 more books after the trilogy, but I’m not sure how they tie in, don’t really care at this point). Short books and short series are like short skirts, they look really good if you’re wearing ♪a looooong jacket♪.

I feel like this type of story is at the other end of the spectrum from the Wheel of Time books. WoT could be compared to a 14 course meal that lasts 8hrs and has little umbrella drinks between courses. This Royal Occultist? It’s driving through the front of a McDonalds, grabbing the burger from the hands of a senior citizen and then backing out and taking out a load bearing wall, collapsing the whole building. But man, that hot greasy burger does taste good. And knowing that you kept somebody’s Grandma from having a triple heart attack, well, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (never mind that you killed her when you took out the load bearing wall and collapsed the whole building on her head. So you should probably actually feel ashamed of yourself. But this is a judgement free zone, so kill all the Grandma’s you want. It’s open season!)

I am looking forward to the next 2 books and hope the pace stays as crazy as this was.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Capital Murder (Arcane Casebook #7) ★★★★☆

Capital Murder

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Capital Murder
Series: Arcane Casebook #7
Author: Dan Willis
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 336
Words: 110K





Synopsis:

Alex Lockerby gets snagged into going to Washington, DC (the capital of the United States of America) with one of the Sorcerous Six. Of course, he immediately gets sucked into multiple investigations, all of which are “Top Priority” by the clients.

Then it turns out his girlfriend Sorsha is involved in one of the cases and the papers are publicly speculating that she can’t solve it without Alex’s help. As a top FBI agent, this doesn’t sit well with her. Placing more strain on an already irregular relationship, Alex and Sorsha have to figure out if they can both have their careers and each other.

The main case ends up involving The Legion, a secret society of Runewrights dedicated to Evil, wanting to abscond with a whole military base’s worth of secret runewright papers. They partially succeed but Alex manages to stop the majority. In doing so, he gets a target on his back from the Legion and the book ends with Sorsha in a coma and an up and coming Legion member preparing to hunt Alex down.

My Thoughts:

Another thoroughly enjoyable entry in the Arcane Casebook series. As convoluted, over the top and larger than life as usual, this hit all the points that continue to intrigue me about this series.

I do hope that Willis can slow down the pace here a bit. Alternate World War II is looming and it’s obvious Runewrights will be largely involved. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I don’t like intensive ramping up of the plot “just because”.

Sorsha and Alex’s relationship hits the skids and while they haven’t broken up and have decided to really make it work, they haven’t addressed the issues that are causing the problems in the first place. I’m concerned that Willis will treat it shallowly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since the series is pretty light but you can’t treat a heavy subject lightly without a disconcerting dichotomy in your literary tone.

Willis is really churning these out and I’m pretty happy at the pace he’s setting. Book 8 is already scheduled for April of ’22. Yee-haw!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ps,
the bleeping editor has changed YET AGAIN. I hate wordpress for their continual messing about under the skirts. Having to re-learn the damnable block editor every couple of weeks or months, it’s too much. I need stability in my blogging platform.

Crusade (Saint Tommy, NYPD #5) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Crusade
Series: Saint Tommy, NYPD #5
Author: Declan Finn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 171
Words: 53.5K



Synopsis:

From the Publishers & Me

Still working abroad, Detective Tommy Nolan has a hot tip that leads him to Germany. Women and children are disappearing from Catholic Bavaria. The local police have their hands tied. Tommy is the last hope for answers.

Yet again, Tommy is in over his head. What starts as a sex trafficking ring turns into a terrorist conspiracy to unleash Hell on Europe. To stop it, Tommy must fight Nazi vampires, terrorists, and a swarm of succubi who want him as their next meal.

With the help of a local german police officer, a jewish rabbi with the secret of the golem at his fingertips and a group of bavarian special forces armed with paintball guns filled with holy water, it’s up to Tommy to put a stop to the rite that will raise Asmodeous the demon. Unfortunately, Tommy doesn’t get there in time and a hell gate is opened. This allows Jade, the succubus who ran the sex trafficking ring to gain incredible amounts of power and become a low level demon herself. She and Tommy duke it out, Tommy wins and they find Asmodeous trapped within a circle. The battle exorcist from the previous book is left to deal with him.

Tommy adopts one of the girls rescued from the sex ring and it turns out she has some sort of psychic powers. With his wife just having given birth to his own biological daughter, Tommy’s family is growing by leaps and bounds,

My Thoughts:

I think the first thing I need to say is that this book doesn’t shy away from some very tough subjects. Sex trafficking is not only happening in Africa or the Middle East or South America. It is happening here in the United States and in all of Europe as well. It is pervasive and evil and Finn doesn’t sugar coat it. He’s not graphic nor describing the horrors in detail, but one woman is raped to death off page as an object lesson to the other prisoners. With that said, lets talk about the more pleasant aspects of the book.

Tommy gets to fight nazi vampire muslim terrorists. No joke. Vampires, unfortunately, play a very small part. They simply crumble to dust when touched by Saint Tommy. The author does go into speculation about pre-history, much as he did in the previous book about the stone and vampires are grouped into that era of lore. There are some seriously cool fight scenes but that leads into the one thing that made me knock half a star off the rating.

Finn is constantly making pop-culture references throughout this book. It was apropos and funny but those things have a very limited shelf life and I don’t like them in the books I read. I find it cheapens them. Most of it was John Wick related this time. I love the movie John Wick and got it all, but in several years, even if the movie has cult status sticking power, people simply aren’t going to know what Finn is referencing. Then there was the golem mecha vs the dragon succubi and I had to roll my eyes at that fight. It was just to over the top for my taste.

I’ve got one more book available to me in this series then I have to decide if I want to continue or not. Finn is up to book 8 and from the reviews I’ve seen he does have an end game plan, but it won’t be for several books after 8. Upon reflection it would seem that my best option is to stop after book 6 and let him finish the series. Good thing I had this little conversation with myself!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.