Book Review (SERIES): Blood Moon Over Bourbon Street

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Blood Moon Over Bourbon Street series by Theresa Glover

  1. Caitlin Kelley, Monster Hunter
  2. A Touch Too Much
  3. Trouble In Mind

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for BLOOD MOON OVER BOURBON STREET

All Caitlin Kelley wanted was a vacation in New Orleans. See the sights, check out the voodoo shops, drink a hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s, eat beignets at Cafe du Monde, the whole deal. Rest, relaxation, and…well, there isn’t a good word that starts with “R” that means getting her drink on, but that was in the plans, too.

Until she saw a monster at the airport and ended up smack dab in the middle of the New Orleans supernatural underworld. Now she’s dodging black dogs, hunting nightmares, dealing with confusing feelings about a nun and a cop at the same time, and killing demon spiders. All the demon spiders. Oh, and a giant panty-stealing ape swiped her underwear.

If her vacation doesn’t kill her, Caitlin Kelley is going to need a serious break when this is over!

MY REVIEW for LOOD MOON OVER BOURBON STREET

Blood Moon Over Bourbon Street collects the three Caitlin Kelley novellas (Caitlin Kelley, A Touch Too Much, and Trouble In Mind) into one volume.

The uneven energy of the three novellas doesn’t work as well in one volume as it did spaced over several years of the original releases. Novella 1 sets up a darker than normal Bubbaverse Monster Hunter, but still rife with the humor found in this shared universe with all the fantastic monsters. Novella 2 shows Ms. Glover is a much more complicated writer – stringing together multiple plotlines and character developments, with reoccurring villains – than is normal for the Bubbaverse – but the humor still is over the top even as the darker, more complicated situations are explored. Then Novella 3 takes everything on a trip sideways where the consequences of never getting a vacation, a break, or even a moment have finally piled up beyond what the very human Monster Hunter can handle.

Ms. Glover has brought her own unique stamp to the Bubbaverse with this collected works. Her psychological horror roots show strong, even through the humor.

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for CAITLIN KELLEY, MONSTER HUNTER

Who let the dogs out, indeed?!?

All Caitlin Kelley wanted was a chance to relax in New Orleans. Is that too much to ask?

Obviously so. Between the strange man/not man/something she chased through the airport and the monster terrorizing the French Quarter, this vacation is anything but Easy, Big or otherwise. Throw in her wisecracking companion Marty, a shadowy government agency that’s probably either in league with the bad guys or is even worse than the bad guys, and a creature roaming the streets of New Orleans that may or may not be straight out of the pages of Thor, and this novella is jam-packed with action, innuendo, and ass-kicking!

MY REVIEW for CAITLIN KELLEY, MONSTER HUNTER

Working my way through the Bubbaverse (somewhere over 60 short stories and novellas) and found this amazing New Templar.

A monster hunter going on vacation to New Orleans. Nope, nothing could possibly go wrong there. Except as soon as they land they run into a nightmare, and discover the monster hunter of the territory has been killed, and hired to track down a demon dog by a … old southern lady? Oh, and there may be a Collector out there too.

Much more complicated and interwoven than is typical of the Bubbaverse, Caitlin Kelley still has the humor and monsters signature of the world-universe.

Funny, action-packed, and well-written.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for A TOUCH TOO MUCH

She’s crushing on a nun. There’s a hydra in the French Quarter. And a giant gorilla just stole her underwear.

This is not Caitlin Kelley’s best day. Much to her chagrin, it’s not her worst day, either. The newly-minted official Monster Hunter for New Orleans just wanted to drink a few (okay, many) hurricanes, eat more beignets than should be humanly possible, and otherwise enjoy her New Orleans vacation. Instead, she’s found herself relocating to The Big Easy, dealing with cops and federal agents, hunting down a walking nightmare, and representing all of humanity in a supernatural conference to determine the fate of the world. And did I mention she has the ultimate in unrequited crushes – a nun?

MY REVIEW for A TOUCH TOO MUCH

Ms. Glover continues to put her own unique spin on the Bubbaverse-NewTemplars, bringing her blend of humor and story-telling on the stage of Monster Hunting in New Orleans.

Come for the food – run from the monsters.

The nightmare of the first book revisits the second book. In a shared-universe where most of the writers write “the monster of the chapter” – resolved-and-move-on (except for the season’s big guy), Ms. Glover has created layers and interweaving while still throwing more monsters at a reader than a D&D game – hydras, nightmares, goddesses, locust, flying monkeys, and sentient gorillas with underwear fetishes (don’t ask, just read).

Read for the monster hunting, stay for the storytelling.

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for 

There’s a dragon in the Crescent City, and that’s not a metaphor.

Caitlin Kelley has chased literal nightmares through the streets of New Orleans, had her underwear stolen by giant gorilla, and played politics with a bunch of supernats with enough power to snuff her out like a match in a hurricane. And none of that compares to the demons she carries around inside her every day.

Now her personal demons and the monsters outside herself are all crashing down around her as she tries to hold her team, her adopted city, and herself together against all odds and all reason. Maybe the dragon isn’t the real problem after all.

Can Caitlin pull herself together in time to save New Orleans from a dragon and the evil wizard that enslaved it (yeah, really)?

Can Caitlin drag herself out of her own head long enough to hold her team together in one of the toughest battles they’ll ever face?

Can Caitlin keep the Black Dog at bay for just one more day?

Yeah, dragons are easy. Living is hard.

MY REVIEW for 

Well, that went down a dark path I completely did not expect. Come for the monster hunter, stay for the psychological evaluation.

What is horror without a complete mind f-k? If you ever wonder why people with depression, who are being swallowed by the darkness, can’t reach out, no matter how many people love them and want to help, no matter how much they know they need help, this book will help fill in the gaps.

This one is not a comfortable read. It is still laced with the humor of the Bubbaverse, contains all the amazing monsters and magic and action you could ever want. But if you have ever dealt with friends struggling with depression or heard the siren call yourself of the rocks of “you will never succeed” to bash against, the read will not be comfortable. Considering how much monster hunters see and do, the physical damage, the soul damage, they take, seeing one struggle with the big semicolon may be unexpected, but it is very real.

Come for the fiction, stay for the reality.

Flash: Pixie Power 1 – I feel a sneeze

Photo from Unsplash

“Amie, what are you doing?”

Amie looked up from her hands, filled with pixie dust. “Deciding.”

Her sheep-hooved friend, normally as staid as any domestic animal, even when as tipsy as they both were after their third bar of their monthly fourth Friday bar crawl, her one weekend night off each month, covered his face with his hands, then spread his fingers to look through them, his black nails stark against his white hair and eyebrows, “Do I even want to know.”

“Mischief?” the pixie dust in her cupped hands illuminating her face from below. The stuff just slogged off naturally from her hair, skin, and cut nails. By law, Amie had to keep it under tight control – combing her hair at home, wearing a hair net or using a hair net spell, scrubbing skin vigorously every morning. Jars of it lit her bedroom between her trips for bio-magick sanitation processing. She pocketed two handfuls before leaving the apartment.

“Why?”

“Why not?”

“Becaaaause….”

“Not good enough.”

“You really want to spend the weekend in a holding cell,” Bowser wiped his hands down his face and brought them to his side, “again.”

“What else is there to do, now my debit card is maxed out?”

“Girl—”

“Woman,” she snapped.

“Lady, my friend, my dear, dear, precious pixie pal,” Bowser stepped closer, but to the side. Pixie power aimed as a cone effect in front of the wielder. A bar that refused to serve fairies and an after-hours club using pixies and elves as entertainment, but not welcomed as patrons, were across the street. “Please see reason for once in your madcap life.”

Glancing to the sheepish male, Amie scrunched her nose. “I feel a sneeze.”

“Don’t.”

Amie blew the pixie dust, grabbed her friend’s hand, and pulled them into a run. Behind them rainbows and bubbles of colored light flew across the street and coated the entrances. Expensive witch hexes sparkled, fighting the pixie dust, neutralizing it, but leaving the establishments vulnerable if others took decided to retaliate tonight against their bigotry before the spells could be recast.

(words 348; first published 10/15/2023)

Pixie Power Series

  1. I feel a sneeze (10/15/23)
  2. I rather not (10/22/23)
  3. I am just boring (10/29/23)

Book Review: Ring Shout

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Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON

IN AMERICA, DEMONS WEAR WHITE HOODS.

In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan’s ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.

Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. But something awful’s brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up.

Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?

 

MY REVIEW

A historical urban fantasy set against the backdrop of the South between the world wars, in the spirit of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” where normal circumstances are changed by adding horror elements. For Ring Shout, it’s making the hate-filled Ku Klux Klan into hate-fill monsters using KKK as their entry into our world.

Action-packed, this narrative follows three women – one a WWI war veteran, one a survivor of a Klan attack, and one a hot-head tired of being stomped on. They have the Sight and use it to hunt the monsters that have gained entry into our world. But can they keep ahead of the hate summoning more and more of the monsters into our world?

***

On one hand this book fits well into the monster hunter historical fantasies so popular lately.

On the other, it felt somewhat like the assigned reading in school – when I read “Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank” and “1984” by George Orwell – things that made you stop and think and examine your world. Are you eating the meat of hatred? What is the difference between righteous anger and fearful hate?

Both a simple read and a complex one, my book club had some deep dives for this story.

(Checked out through the public library; read for book club)

Book Review (SERIES): Monster Hunter Mom Season One

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JD Blackrose is one of my favorite humor authors. Both her Monster Hunter Mom series (covered here) and her Zombie Cosmetologist (covered in October 2022), just tickle me to pieces.

The Devil’s Been Busy: Monster Hunter Mom Season One by JD Blackrose

  1. Tweety & the Monkey Man
  2. Runaway
  3. Handle with Care
  4. End of the Line

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for THE DEVIL’S BEEN BUSY: MONSTER HUNTER MOM SEASON ONE

Whether it’s kitsune running rampant in the museum, were-gorillas rampaging at the zoo, or a cupid wreaking havoc on her daughter’s birthday party, Jess Friedman can handle any monster the supernatural community of Cleveland can throw at her.

Except maybe the disapproving stares from the women at her daughter’s day care. Or the awkward conversations with her rabbi about her working for the Catholic Church as a New Templar, hunting down the things that go bump in the night.

That’s right, Jess Friedman isn’t just an ordinary mother of three trying to make it through the world, she’s also the official Cleveland Regional Monster Hunter for the Holy Roman Catholic Church (What? You thought Bubba was the only one?). This Jewish mother is anything but stereotypical as she battles demons, tames monsters, negotiates with a vampire lord, and tries to get snacks delivered to her daughter’s kindergarten class on time!

MY REVIEW for THE DEVIL’S BEEN BUSY: MONSTER HUNTER MOM SEASON ONE

The most deeply rooted in reality of the Bubbaverse, edging out the mechanic Mark Wojcik of the Martin’s Spell, Salt, & Steel by three small children, Jess Friedman is Monster Hunter Mom – a wonderful bundle of contradictions and chaos.

A Jewish woman who works for the Catholic Church. An kickin’ monster hunter scared of the perfect normal women around her. The happily-married mother of three with a vampire best friend. Jess collects things – an ex-were gorilla, an overly-friendly tomahawk, a phoenix who gives pony rides to children, and a bounty on her head. Reading the four novellas of season one is like going through the pockets on laundry day – always a surprise.

These books have my type of humor, all about family and life. Venues for the books include going to the zoo, being a parent chaperone at a museum, visiting the mall, and a child’s slumber party.

Lots of monsters, kickin’ them back where they belong, all the while throwing the humor of life at you. How do you go from fighting a gorilla to taking snack to your son’s elementary school class? With a quick side trip through the grocery story, of course.

I really loved these novellas. If I was writing in the Bubbaverse, this is what I would have written. Just not nearly this good. Ms. Blackrose did an awesome job melding family life and monster hunting.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for TWEETY & THE MONKEY MAN

Move over, Bubba, there’s a new Hunter in town, and she’s having a really crappy day!

Jess Friedman is a Monster Hunter. And a mom. Depending on the day, one of those jobs might get her killed. Depending on the day, either of those jobs might get her killed.

Today, it’s probably the monster hunting.

There’s a phoenix running around town, and a were-gorilla going nuts in the zoo. That’s not the worst thing Jess has to deal with – she’s also in charge of snacks for her daughter’s kindergarten class, and it’s looking an awful lot like Cheetos are the answer. This won’t go over well with the other moms, but they’re the least scary thing Jess has to worry about.

Were-gorilla, remember? Can Jess get the Monkey Man dealt with before snacktime? How many pushups will she owe her trainer for all the swearing it’s going to take to get out of this mess? And how old was the apple juice in her cupholder?

J.D. Blackrose spins an awesome blend of the mundane and magical in this novella about a woman just trying to make it in the world, a world that happens to contain a lot of monsters, and judgmental kindergarten teachers. But it also contains Cheetos, and that makes everything better.

MY REVIEW for TWEETY & THE MONKEY MAN

By now the “Monster Hunter” genre is pretty well defined, but a Monster Hunting Mom? Now that is different. And this novella delivers everything the title promises – non-stop action Monster Hunting and the humor of the Bubbaverse slanted to Mom-ness (instead titty bars, this mom hangs out in Zoos pushing strollers complete with sticky handles from Popsicle sticks and a special hatchet in the diaper bag just in case a monster comes running out of the monkey house … which it does).

No deeper meaning – just action-action-action with humor and a dose of love and kisses when knees get scraped.

Five stars for being everything promised. Spot-on perfect example of the Monster Hunting genre with a special Templar.

Picked up free during a promotional. No promise of book review or exchange of any type.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for RUNAWAY

Most ordinary parents can chaperone a field trip without monsters attacking the museum.

There’s nothing ordinary about Jess Friedman.

Jess is one of the New Templar Knights, a secret band of Monster Hunters working with (and sometimes adjacent to) the Catholic Church to protect the world from magical and supernatural threats. Perfectly normal hobby for a nice Jewish mother of three, right?

Between Japanese fox spirits and disapproving trophy wives, Jess’s first outing as a chaperone is fast reminding her why she doesn’t go on field trips. Then there’s the whole thing with the egg, and the police, and then things start to get weird.

MY REVIEW for RUNAWAY

This story is the best of the Monster Hunter Mom series; everything comes together perfectly.

Not so much for our heroine, who has to go on a museum trip as a school chaperone and face all the perfect moms who take time off their perfect lives to go with their perfect children. But it shouldn’t be too bad, because museums never have monsters or anything supernatural among their ancient and foreign exhibits.

Nothing like a talking Buddha statue, or a tomahawk which takes a peculiar liking to our girl, or spirits trapped within curators needing excursions. Nah.

All our heroine needs to fix thing is a single egg from the museum cafeteria, how hard can that be? (Total love for this scene.)

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for HANDLE WITH CARE

You thought your shopping trip was hellacious? Well Jess Friedman literally has demons in the department store!

From evil birthday clowns that make Pennywise look like an amateur, to judgmental day care workers, this monster hunting mom has her work cut out for her as she tries to keep Cleveland safe from evil and keep the neighborhood association off her back at the same time!

MY REVIEW for HANDLE WITH CARE

From killer balloon shapes made by a clown at her son’s birthday party to some killer shopping after hours at the mall, Jess has her Monster Hunting job cut out for her.

Now if only dealing with Regina and her suggestions on how to control Daniel’s overactive imagination were as easy as demon hunting.

Fun stuff, as good as the first novella of the series. Novellas one to three can be read out-of-order.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for END OF THE LINE

Enchanted bows, nitpicking witches, and interloping demonettes combine with a babysitting gorilla, a protective magical wolf, and a phoenix masquerading as a…search-and-rescue pony combine to make young Devi Friedman’s birthday one for the ages in the hilarious conclusion to Monster Hunter Mom Season One!

Jess Friedman has enough on her mind with a passel of kindergarten-aged girls running around the house. The last thing she needs is a dark elf bent on revenge showing up on her doorstep. No wait, maybe the last thing she needs is a cop on her doorstep looking for Rocko, the gorilla who escaped from the zoo and might or might not be hiding in her back yard. Or maybe the last thing she needs is a pair of pissed-off female demons crashing the party.

And did we mention that a cupid is inhabiting her toddler son’s body?

Yeah, THAT was the last thing she needed.

MY REVIEW for END OF THE LINE

My least favorite of the Monster Hunter Mom books; this one is more like the rest of the Bubbaverse than the unique signature of “Mom”. It just wasn’t family-friendly fun. Oh, and Pascal’s change was icky. I liked him way better before.

Yes, if you love Bubbaverse, you will still love this. Yes, still funny. Yes, plenty of monster to overcome. Yes Rocko and everyone from the entire season shows up for the final Big Bad – so that all is good. But it was so busy with the Big Finale, it forgot its Big Heart.

Read it for the action and to give Ms. Blackrose the money to make more like the first three novellas of the series. I want more Cheetos for snack day, and museum trips, and “pony” rides And you know you do too.

Book Review (SERIES): Quincy Harker Year Four

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I spend a lot more time talking about the Bubbaverse John Hartness created than the Quincyverse … although Canon has them sharing the universe. Hartness says it is because he can’t keep things straight. Quincy Harker focuses on a more traditional brand of Urban Fantasy, whereas Bubba is more humor-filled (and the humor is why I love it so).

Salvation: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter Year Four by John G. Hartness

  1. She Talks to Angels
  2. Shout at the Devil
  3. Angel of Harlem
  4. Sympathy for the Devil

BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for SALVATION

The Quest for Glory comes to its thrilling conclusion in this Quincy Harker collection! Glory’s lost her wings, and Harker is running around collection Archangels like they’re Pokémon, but things go from bad to worse as he gets nearer to his final battle with the king of lies himself, Lucifer! Follow the adventures of Harker and the modern day Shadow Council as they try to save the world and restore Glory’s divinity.

MY REVIEW for SALVATION

The final four novellas of the Quincy Harker, Quest for Glory, have been collected in one volume: She Talks to Angels, Shout at the Devil, Angel of Harlem, and Sympathy for the Devil.

A well-done urban fantasy series beginning to end within the greater lore of the Quincy Harker universe. I loved how each of the angels had their own particular style and personality. The fight scenes are Quincy blow-outs – leveling mansions and erasing demons.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for SHE TALKS TO ANGELS

She’s part Harley Quinn and part Wynona Earp.
She’s the granddaughter of the greatest vampire hunter who ever lived.
She’s part of The Shadow Council, a secret group of people working to save the world.
She’s Gabriella Van Helsing, and she’s going to blow some crap up.

In the fifth part of the Quincy Harker crossover series, Gabby helps hunt down a rogue archangel in St. Louis, learning more about herself, about history, and about that cute doctor’s son than she expected when she took the gig. The fate of the world is in her hands, and now this non-magical woman from Chicago has to suit up and play in the metaphysical big leagues to hunt down The Voice of God and keep the Midwest from becoming Ground Zero for the Apocalypse!

MY REVIEW for SHE TALKS TO ANGELS

Gabby Van Helsing gets her own book in the Shadow Council Case Files and fills it cover to cover with action, humor, and her own version of mayhem. A gray hat – straddling talking to angels and drinking with demons (and trying to get dates with both) – Gabrielle will settle gun fights with grenades and magic battles with daggers.

John G. Hartness does put in one darling (technical editing term) into the book when Gabrielle joins a poker game. Long-time followers of Hatness knows he got his writing start in blogging about poker championships.

Two Jacks represents Gabby’s placement in the world perfectly. Not powerful enough to win on her own, usually, but with good enough support – she might-could rake in the pot. And she picks up an Ace supporting card – but can she keep him … and his very hot son … in her hand and on her side?

An action-packed and funny addition to Quincy Harker’s world.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for SHOUT AT THE DEVIL

The Quest for Glory continues as Quincy Harker travels west to hunt down a rogue Archangel and avenge the murder of a good friend!

For the past year, Quincy Harker and the Shadow Council have been hurtling toward a climactic confrontation with Lucifer for the fate of the world. That final battle moves ever nearer as Harker learns of the murder of an old friend in San Francisco. He puts his quest on hold to find his friend’s killer, but when he gets to the City by the Bay, he finds that his two cases are irrevocably entwined and leading to a cataclysmic confrontation that may leave all of San Francisco a smoking ruin!

Ah crap, aren’t angels supposed to be the good guys?

Well, nothing is ever easy with Harker and the gang!

MY REVIEW for SHOUT AT THE DEVIL

Quincy Harker may gain friends from time-to-time but few are old friends – as in, they reach an old age and die of natural causes. Faye Spataro, a West Coast water mage, unfortunately was not the exception to prove the rule. Happily married and now brutally murdered, Quincy investigates among the supernaturals in a town he is unfamiliar with, Sparato’s wife at his side seeking her own vengence.

Then Quincy finds the signs of an Archangel among the corpses of more of the city’s Talented.

While Quincy may be equal a tactical nuke in the supernatural world – capable of laying waste to city blocks, Archangels are the Yellowstone supervolcano. Without his normal team, can he (and the city … and the state and the country) survive when the Archangel of Death walks the Earth?

The normal action-packed magic-slinging Quincy Harker story with a side of police procedural thrown in. If you like Quincy, you’ll love this.

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for ANGEL OF HARLEM

The Quest for Glory rushes toward its conclusion as Quincy Harker steps in for a missing Shadow Council member and goes to New York City to find the last Archangel. But when pieces of his past come back to haunt him, Quincy Harker must face feelings long buried and horrors brand new when the Big Apple and a band of angry demons try to take a bite out of him!

MY REVIEW for ANGEL OF HARLEM

A pitch perfect Quincy Harker story – magic and mayhem, unexpected twists, Harker cursing, emotions, amusement, and moving the Quest for Glory forward. Each angel finding gets harder and harder; and the final one comes with a nearly impossible price to pay.

This novella’s book buzz was so good, I’m scared to go into the next.

 

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BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON for SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL

He’s collected Archangels like Pokémon. He’s battled monsters all over the country. Now he’s fighting his way through all the Circles of Hell to save a friend. In Sympathy for the Devil, The Quest for Glory concludes as Harker and Co. literally go through Hell to get Glory’s wings back!

It’s been a two-year quest that has spanned the continent, and now Quincy Harker, Charlotte, NC’s favorite (and only) Demon Hunter is crossing dimensions to do battle with Lucifer and restore his Guardian Angel Glory’s divinity. Harker and his band of merry angels, monsters, and humans set off to keep Lucifer from re-starting the War on Heaven, but things go sideways right from the jump.

How will Harker navigate the tortures and temptations of Hell to save his friend and the world?
Can Harker keep himself together in the face of everything Lucifer and his minions will throw at him?
Is he really hero enough to stand toe to toe with the Devil himself and come out alive?
Or will he fall prey to the “man of wealth and taste?”

MY REVIEW for SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL

If you get told to go to hell often enough, you might end up there through no fault of your own. … But in Quincy’s case, it’s all on him.

The end of a two-year arc over lots of novellas, Sympathy for the Devil finishes the Quest for Glory and does a very good job on delivering on the buildup.

The falling action, though, in the epilogue, too predictable and common. Everything else though is pure Quincy Harker style.