Perseid Press author Andrew P. Weston follows up his 2015 release Hell Bound with another adventure featuring the Daemon Grimm. Hell Hounds is another romp through the Heroes in Hell universe created by Janet Morris, and it’s a heck of a fun time.
If you’re unfamiliar with ‘Heroes in Hell’ you’re in for a treat. The shared universe loosely follows Dante’s structure with a bunch of reoccurring characters and a devilish sense of humor. In many ways, in Hell, anything goes. There are set rules, but there is also a lot of flexibility and in the hands of a deft storyteller, this universe is an ideal playground.
Andrew P. Weston first emerged on the scene with his bestselling 2015 release The IX. A Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK, Weston also writes for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.
In ‘Hell Hounds’ the Deamon Grimm has to assemble a team to defeat a nefarious plot hatched by Frederic Chopin and Nikola Tesla. Much of the plot takes place in Hell, but you should think of it not in terms of a bleak Spanish fresco, but more like the chaotic palette of a film like ‘Blade Runner.’ There’s a lot of cross-genre appeal in this story, and if you have a taste for action, humor and entertainment, this book will have something for you.
I find it hard to come up with an accurate descriptive for what kind of book this is because the characters and locals are so varied. “Angel-punk” comes to mind, although even as I type it, I know it’s not accurate, but there is certainly the “Urban Fantasy” motif mixed in with religious and historical characters. Perhaps it’s best to discuss Grimm himself: you’ll like him. He’s a character who is somehow supremely powerful, but also a working stiff. He goes about his business with a diligent and inevitable dedication, and although his quarry might be more clever than he is, Grimm knows himself to be more relentless. However, Grimm is not invulnerable, and it’s entertaining both when he gets out of scraps unscathed, and when get gets the worst of it.
Grimm’s pack of Hell Hounds is an appealing set of characters themselves. They’re scrappy sidekicks like what you might find in a World War II film, and you’ll have a good time getting to know them.
The plot is well-paced and will sweep you away to a new, magical setting on every page. The whole thing is borderline chaos, but it holds together in a way that begs for a repeat reading. There is also a certain amount of philosophy in the subtext, which comes as a built-in by product to setting a story in Hell. You have to wonder who is scamming who, and whether the major players actually hold any high cards at all.
But most of all, this book is just fun. It’s clever and exciting, but not too proud to scatter a few clever puns here and there to keep the mood light. This is the second of Weston’s Grimm books, but it can be read as a stand alone adventure romp. I recommend it.