Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Hell Fire Review

Hell Fire (Corine Solomon 2)
-      Ann Aguirre
Publisher: UK – Gollancz
As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and know its history. Its too bad she can’t seem to forget her own. With her ex-boyfriend Chance in tow - lending his particularly supernatural brand of luck - Corine journeys back home to Kilmer, Georgia, in order to discover the truth behind her mother’s death and the origins of her gift. But while trying to uncover the secrets in her past, Corine and Chance find that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Just a few miles away, no one seems to know Kilmer exists. And inside the town borders there are signs of a dark curse affecting the town and all its residents - and it can only be satisfied with death . . .
I read the first Corine Solomon book, Blue Diablo, a few months ago and enjoyed the characters immensely. So I was looking forward  to reading Hell Fire, where we follow Corine and Chance back to her home town and an investigation into her mother’s death. First I have to say, how creepy this book was. Blue Diablo was typical Urban Fantasy fare, but the small town setting here coupled with the personal nature of the story in Hell Fire really sent shivers down my spine. From the first page when Chance and Corine enter the town through the dark woods, the story was atmospheric and sinister. A town which no-one’s ever heard off, mobile phones don’t work and there is no alcohol – might seem like heaven to many, but as a Londoner I found it all very disturbing.
This is a very personal quest for Corine and at the same time she has deal with her feelings for old flame, Chance. She has to decide if there is a future for them while at the same time recognising her attraction to the cop, Jesse. While the main focus of the story isn’t on the romance, it hangs over the book in the same way a raincloud can hang over a picnic – you’re always aware that it’s there. This doesn’t distract from the story and to me just gives it more layers. Some new characters are introduced including a new Gifted person, Shannon who can communicate with the dead. As before Ann Aguirre’s writing is strong and her real skill is characters which are fully rounded but distinct. I love Corine and the price she is willing to pay to find out what happened to her home town. The story is coherent and complete. And while there is little left unresolved, I love the characters so much, I can’t wait to read another story about Corine and her friends – and the next book Shady Lady is out in March next year!
Recommended for fans of Kelley Armstrong & Seannan McGuire. 9 out of 10

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