Review: Hell's Pawn by Jay Bell

John Grey is dead... and that's just the beginning. Purgatory should have been a safe haven for souls that belong neither in Heaven nor Hell, but instead John finds himself in a corrupt prison, one bereft of freedom or pleasure. Along with his decedent friend Dante, John makes a brave escape, only to fall straight down to Hell and into the arms of Rimmon, a handsome incubus. John is soon recruited as Hell's ambassador, visiting the afterlife realms of other cultures to enlist an army strong enough to stand against Heaven. As interesting as his new job is, John's mind keeps returning to Purgatory and the souls still trapped there. Somehow John must stop a war he doesn't believe in and liberate Purgatory, all while desperately trying to attract the attention of an incubus whose heart belongs to another.

This was odd, different, strange and bizarre. But all in a good way.

John has just arrived in Purgatory. He’s going through his orientation and all that good stuff when his “welcomer” put the other new arrivals under a weird trance. John was able to break out of this and explore Purgatory on his own. In doing this he meets some super fun residents of Purgatory, namely, Dante.

Purgatory is a lame ass place to be. There is nothing to do there, except play the little game they have for their residents. People- er- dead people can earn or lose points to either go up into the clouds or down in the flames. So there are these “pretend people” who walk around and have a scene where they need help and whoever does the good deed receives points on their record. Weird. Anyway, John is over the game, as is Dante. They want out, and frankly, they don’t care if they’re going up or down as long as it’s anywhere but here.

As you can guess, John and Dante end up in Hell. While in Hell they learn that strange things are happening in the afterlife. Souls from all religions and beliefs are getting stuck in Purgatory, even those who don’t believe in it. So, John’s mission, straight from an Archduke of Hell, is to gather up an army. They’re going to fight for their souls back.

Basically, the story is of John, Dante and the very seductive Incubus, Rimmon, traveling through the different realms of the afterlife. This was pretty fun.  John gathered all the different gods from all the religions around the world, past and present. Greek gods, Egyptian gods, Roman gods, terracotta armies from China...everything. It was all kinda cool. Anything can happen in the afterlife, like glass men who have spider-like arms, random fire breathing people, talking terracotta heads. It’s all just....different. But, don’t forget, in a good way.

Now, Kindle says 278 kindle pages, it didn’t feel that short. By the end I was feeeeeeeeling the length of this book, which is weird because it’s not long. So things started to drag for me a little bit.

All in all, another really good read from Jay Bell. At least he didn’t smash my heart into a million pieces and scatter them across the Earth so they’ll never go back together quite the same way. Again. But I did get a bit emo at the end, Mr. Bell knows how to tug at my heart.

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