Monday, September 12, 2016

Damnable - by Hank Schwaeble - Book 1 in the Jake Hatcher series - A solid mix of the urban fantasy, horror, and thriller genres

5 of 5 Stars

Not long ago, I received an advance copy of The Angel of the Abyss: A Jake Hatcher Thriller by Hank Schwaeble.  Having previously read American Nocturne, I was excited about the prospect of reading more of Hank's work. Then I found out, the new novel is the third book in a series.  Even though I was assured the new book works well as a stand-alone novel. I had to read the whole series.  Maybe I have a touch of OCD.

Long story, slightly longer.  I'm so glad I'm a completist.  Had I not read Damnable, I would have missed a terrific read, and a Bram Stoker Award winner for best First Novel, which I didn't realize until after I read the book.

In the beginning of Damnable, the author shows a bit of his love for noir.  It doesn't hold through the entire book, but it was nice to see.

At the counter nearby, the babe, a sultry minx with milky skin, sat sidesaddle on one of the stools, smartly arrayed in a taupe linen skirt and vest, sipping her coffee like a lounging starlet nursing a gin and tonic.

The we meet Jake Hatcher, in military prison, basically for doing his job, perhaps a bit too well. When Jake is released to attend the funereal of a brother he never knew he had, things start going sideways, quickly.

Meet Valentine, an amazingly well-crafted villain and a truly despicable character, bent on bringing an end to heaven. His scheme is complex and includes a monster he calls the Get of Damnation.

They stood there watching as the thing in the cage finished the heart.  It ate it like a piece of fruit, crouched over, shifting its weight on its haunches, hiding partially behind its shoulder, looking sideways at them every few seconds.  Between bites.

They say the devil is in the details and some of the smallest bits in Damnable are some of my favorites, like Jake Hatcher's mother's obsession with flamingos.  Certainly not needed, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Schwaeble creates powerful images, both with spurts of lyrical prose and the ability to get down and dirty when he needs to. Damnable is both a captivating and horrifying read.  It's also an adult read,with both hardcore sex and extreme violence, all totally relevant to the story.

There are a number of well timed twists throughout Damnable, enough to keep the reader guessing to the very end.

Published by Jove, Damnable is available in both Paperback and e-book formats.

Hank Schwaeble is a writer and attorney in Houston, Texas. His debut novel, Damnable, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. He is also the author of Diabolical, and the soon to be published, the Angel of the Abyss (all three in the Jake Hatcher series).  Hank is also the author of the horror-noir collection American Nocturne and numerous short stories.

Hank is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Association.

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