by R.J. Clark
As if New Orleans hasn’t been through enough in this reality, Ryan Clark has created an alternate reality in which a literal rift into Hell was opened up back in the seventies, turning the city into ground zero for all kinds of demonic carnage. Things are kept in check, however, and a macabre kind of status quo is created. Humans and demons co-existing, more of less, in the Big Easy. And at the center of all, there’s Matt Faustus, a private eye who is possessed–literally.
For Matt Faustus, the whole Hell on Earth takes a very personal turn, particularly since the rift opened on the day he was born–not to mention an especially nasty bugger of a demon became bound to his very soul. Now, he walked with a cross around his neck, and not your run-of-the-mill crucifix necklace either. No, this one basically keeps things relatively in check, though the demon can still do some damage by way of enhancing Matt’s strength and healing abilities.
Having a demon caged in your body is one thing, but trying to hunt another down is something else entirely, and that’s precisely what he has to do when a little girl is abducted from her home by the demon the girl’s affluent family owned. Yeah, some demons wind up as some kind of weird slave labor if you can believe that. As Matt investigates, he crosses paths with all sorts of nasty creatures from the depths of Hell, on this side of the Rift and the other. The worst of which just might be his ex-girlfriend, too.
I gotta say this book was a pleasant surprise. At first glance, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot after reading the plot summary for this one on Amazon. But within the first couple of chapters, with the brash demeanor of Matt Faustus, the fast-paced action he’s thrown into, and the vivid–albeit hellish–landscape R.J. Clark creates in this novel, I was hooked. The pulpy side of things gets a little overdone in spots, and some of Matt’s inner monologue feels way too cliched more than once, but the overall appeal of this book was undeniable.
If you enjoy high-octane action with a heavy dose of the fantastic, you will likely find what you need here.