Death’s Hand by S.M. Reine
ORDER A COPY: Death’s Hand, A Dark Urban Fantasy (The Descent Series)
Publisher: Red Iris Books
Publishing Date: October 21, 2011
Paperback: 336 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it– until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn’t stand to see one more dead body.
Now they’ve been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world’s best killing teams.
After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed.
Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…
Demon fighter, Elise Kavanagh, and her mentor, James Faulkner, thought they could retire from fighting the nightmares that most people only believe exist in fiction. But those nightmares aren’t willing to stay in Hell where they belong.
A few of the demons that Elise and James have sent back to Hell are looking for a second chance to return and payback Elise and James for their interference.
When a little girl is demonically possessed, Elise is asked to do an exorcism. Elise hesitates because she knows if she is dragged back into the life of a demon hunter, she won’t be able to leave again.
I want to point out that from the description I originally thought this was a husband and wife team. We learn from the start that Elise is only 16 when she retires as a demon slayer and that James was her guardian and her “shield.”
This is an intriguing story which I raced through in one day. It appears to be the first in a descent series and there were some questions left unanswered, like exactly what happened to Elise’s parents and what’s with the gloves and exactly what happened that night in the woods.
There was a lot going on in this story including climatic battles with witches, fiends and zombies. I was impressed that Elise got up again from many of these battles and kept jumping back into the fight.
There were some parts where I was a little confused what was going on and if Death’s Hand was a male or female demon (if it even matters) or were some of references made were simply hints of a future story? Sometimes you just have to go with it.
It was well worth the read and I am intrigued enough to continue with the next book due out in the spring of 2012.
As of this posting, the digital copies of this book are listed for $.99.
Elise grabbed the doorknob to the dressing room and shook it. Locked.
Nuema screamed again, and the door rattled in its hinges as something heavy slammed against the other side.
She took a step back and unleashed a powerful kick next to the lock mechanism. The door shattered around the handle. Elise kicked again. It slammed open.
Nuema was pressed against the counter, her back smashed into the now-shattered glass of mirror. A gray creature with branded flesh crushed her, its stubby hands locked on her wrists as its slavering mouth lowered toward her chest.
“Hey!” Elise shouted.
The demon turned. Its bulging eyes were almost all black. Opens slashes across his face wept blood and pus, and saliva dripped from its mouth.
It focused on her, and its pupils dilated.
Elise drew back her fist and punched, throwing her whole body behind the blow. The demon’s head snapped to the side. It toppled with a keening scream.
The half-succubus cried out as she got off the counter. Several shards of glass stuck in her back, and blood poured down her perfect spine.
The little demon clambered to its fee. Elise pushed the bartender behind her.
“What do you want?” Elise demanded. The demon’s thin gray tongue darted out of its mouth to lick where its lips should have been.
It lunged at Elise.
She moved into its attack and it slammed into her shoulder. They hit the ground, and she rolled with their momentum. Her entire body felt the impact. It was like getting hit by a raging bull.
The fiend recovered instantly. Elise wasn’t quite so fast.
It came at her with a roar, and a flash of inspiration struck – the black lights, the vanity bulbs, the demon’s huge pupils. Elise threw herself out of the demon’s way, and it hit the wall behind her instead.
She launched across the room. Elise fumbled in the darkness behind the rack of costumes. She heard the sound of clawed feet against ground, and shut her eyes against the impact—then found the switch.
Click. The lights over the vanities blazed to life.
Her eyes watered from the sudden light, but it was nothing compared to the demon’s reaction. It screamed and clawed at its eyes, stumbling toward Elise. A stray swipe of its claws slashed her arm. Pain flared, and she jerked back with a shout.
The demon plunged into the dark hallway.