From Hell: A Demon Squad Novella Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A rash of brutal murders set God and the devil at odds, and it’s up to Frank to prove hell’s innocence. With his angelic cousin watching his every move, he quickly learns there’s more to the mission than he was told when he comes face to face with the legend of Jack the Ripper. With time running out, Frank and Scarlett must stop the killings and restore the balance of peace before it spirals out of control. In a battle of wits to determine the fate of heaven and hell, it’s a good thing Frank brought a gun.
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I have to say I was impressed from the first line, Mr Marquitz certainly knows how to draw you in and get you hooked.
Frank, a breast obsessed demon who just happens to be Lucifer's nephew, is sent to Earth on a mission to basically hunt down Jack the Ripper as "Hell" is pissed off that he is claiming the kills in their name!
To add to the fun he pairs up with his cousin Scarlett, the Angel!
Between the detective story, the chase, the humour, which is totally cracking, and all the other amazing stuff that Mr Marquitz manages to cram in and elude too I am devoted, I could not put this down til I had finished it.... like any good thriller, I had to know whodunnit and why! Sorry, no spoilers here! but there are more than enough blood, guts, squishy bits and fight scenes for the gore hounds.
I was seriously impressed how well Mr Marquitz managed to depict London's East End, him being an American and me actually having worked there for several years, he was spot on.
Not to mention he didn't try to fake an East End accent, thank goodness! His overall descriptions generally, even of the smell in the pub was so vivid as to make you feel you are there.
This was a fantastic read and I cant wait to grab the rest of the series.
One of my favourite things in these books is Franks cousin the angel so I really enjoyed the dynamic that Scarlet being sent on the same mission as Frank but from Heaven created, they always seem to be a ying and yang and often its the angel that carries out the biggest atrocities (just like in the good book).
So no spoilers but this is a good wee background glimpse into Franks early days I hope Tim continues this back story development and dare I suggest it a prequel to the first novel focussing on Franks journey to align if not with good at least with some form of neutrality - come on Tim you know you want to!
Read the series before you read this of course would be my suggestion but actually this may work quite well as a short introduction to the world of Demon Squad (less of a squad now maybe that changes in Book 6?)
From Hell follows the half demon Frank, and his angelic cousin Scarlett, as they attempt to hunt down Jack the Ripper. It goes back to a time when Frank was much more primal, a time when Frank was much more in tune with his demon side, desperate to prove himself to his uncle Lucifer. What should be quiet and discrete take down becomes a noisy romp through the East End, and Frank becomes very aware that his opportunity to impress uncle Lou is dwindling fast.
Like the main series, this novella moves along at a fast pace, with cheeky action sequences full of all that gory detail that Marquitz loves to include. It is great to have Scarlett back too, she is one of my favourite characters from the main series and I always like her interactions with Frank.
One thing that readers of the main series will notice is that the Frank we get in From Hell is closer to Frank as we see him in Demon Squad #3 - At The Gates, not Demon Squad #1 - Armageddon Bound. It is an interesting dilemma because I really liked how raw Frank was in Armageddon Bound, but I am fonder of the Frank we get from At The Gates and onwards. I think Marquitz has made the right choice, but for readers who pick up the series after reading this novella first, just note that Frank will be a little different at least for one book.
The Demon Squad series has a lot in common with The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, and the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. If you have never read a Demon Squad book before, From Hell is a cheap and quick way to see if these are your types of books. If you love the Demon Squad series then this will provide a great fix while we wait for book six.
Since I met Frank in Armageddon Bound, I've counted myself as a Frankophile and have eagerly devoured each and every story (both long and short) that featured him or was set in the world featuring him. Last time around in Beyond The Veil, certain events and a huge amount of unveiled secrets have left Frank and the reader with a lot to ponder. However with this prequel standalone novella, Tim gives us a chance to view Frank in his good old days when he was the Anti-Christ in training. Cue Frank in hell and having a good time or as much as a good time as can be expected in Lucifer's domain.
When the story opens, Baalth is training Frank for a fight that he has no control over and after the umpteenth disappointing finish, gets tasked by his uncle to go to Earth to resolve a situation. Frank's initial joy turns a bit sour when finds himself in London, circa 1888 and is forced to resolve the Jack the Ripper murders. He finds that Hell isn't the only party interested in unmasking Jack as his cousin Scarlett is sent as the angelic counterpart to his investigations. Backed into a corner, Frank will have to rein his perverted thoughts and focus on finding who is behind the infamous letter which begins by saying "From hell..."
As is the case with previous books, From Hell while focusing on a dark subject, takes a rather dark comedic path as Frank narrates the story. We get his usual banter on the state of things, uncle Lucifer, Scarlett and her vivacious ways and lastly how he stumbles from the fire into the frying pan. Readers acquainted with the previous books will find a delicious mix of the same but with a tiny difference, Frank isn't the hardened wiseass we have met in the previous Demon Squad books and that's because he still has his powers with Lucifer's backing. While that might save him from bigger hurdles, watching him trip over smaller stuff is still hilarious. With this novella, the author explores the demon squad universe in a different time period and I enjoyed this past romp of Frank a lot.
Beginning with the humor, as usual we get a nice stream of thoughts and one-liners that would keep you in splits but also we get a tightly paced plot that moves towards a conclusion rather strongly. There aren't too many plot twists in this story but the main one if you don't guess it, will liven up your read. I enjoyed Tim's take on the Ripper's identity and his reasoning for the stoppage of the murders. Lastly there's even a small thread left open for Frank's further adventures out in the old west that frankly sounds like a bunch of fun.
Drawbacks to this novella are simply that if you didn't like the previous books then this novella might not change your stance. Also if you are easily offended by salacious humor then I would pray you never venture into the demon squad universe. Besides the afore-mentioned reasons I couldn't find any other thing to nitpick about this story.
CONCLUSION: Frank returns in a prequel story and it is a gory yet fun one. You will want to read this novella if you have been on the fence for trying out a new, unknown series. From Hell is a great introduction to the Frank and his world. Be prepared though it's unlike any other urban fantasy that you have read so far. Frank Trigg isn't a Harry Dresden or Atticus Sullivan clone, he's his own man and the rest of the world needs to find that out.