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Hell on Earth Hardcover – May 1, 2001

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's Alive and The Silence of the Lambs meets The Stand in this ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful blend of quest novel and splatterpunk epic. The book begins with a bang, as it were: a 15-year-old gives birth to a horrendous winged monstrosity that rips its way out of the mother's womb, then proceeds to exsanguinate everyone present. Unfortunately, this is typical of what's to come: the atrocities pile up and up until they topple over into absurdity. Colin, an orphan raised by sorcerers; Zoel, an angel; and Asdeon, a demon with a sarcastic sense of humor and an unsettling tendency to transform into tough-guy icons like Humphrey Bogart, team up on a quest to recover the Trine, three talismans that impart galvanic power, missing from its place of safekeeping. Along the way they encounter a psychic young woman stalked by a serial killer who survives not only death but dissection, as well as a Gulf War vet turned professional bodyguard whose former client was Cuisinarted to death. The plot strands all converge in Las Vegas where else? where the Devil is planning to end the world. The denouement is predictably apocalyptic. This uneven m‚lange of serial killer thrills and ornate Gothic narrative may appeal to some hard-core horror fans, but for most readers it's an unsavory mix. Even more disconcerting that Reaves (Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter) excoriates mindless slasher films in some irrelevant asides when he himself is serving up the literary equivalent of those cinematic abattoirs. (May 1)Forecast: Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter has been on PW's hardcover bestseller list for three weeks as of this writing. That's much more because it's a Star Wars title than because it's a Reaves title, of course, but some readers will remember Reaves's name and give Hell on Earth a strong initial push.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The birth of a demonic monster in a small Alabama town signals the beginning of a nightmare of terror that has its source in the eternal war between good and evil. In order to prevent the triumph of Hell, a young man versed in the ways of magic must join forces with agents of Heaven and Hell to recover a magical talisman that holds the forces of darkness at bay. Set in the same universe as Street Magic and Voodoo Child, this belongs in most libraries' horror or dark fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345423356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345423351
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,396,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on December 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Hell on Earth is an occult detective story written by the author of the Shattered World novels. While Reaves has several other such stories to his credit -- including one featuring the reporter Liz Russell -- I believe this is his first based on traditional Judeo-Christian mythology.

Colin is an orphan trained at the Scholomance in Transylvania, a school of dark magic. He has a Door that can apport him to any place on earth, but won't retrieve him. He did have the Trine, a mystical token of great power, but something Fallen has stolen it and left a smell of brimstone behind. Moreover, he has Zoel, an Unfallen Angel, who has come to ask him to help with a little problem. It seems that a demon has been born, the undead are walking, and the apocalypse may be near. No big deal for a magic wielding detective with an Angel sidekick, right?

The remainder of the story is a matter of searching for the Trine, questioning the suspects -- demons and such -- and checking out the various locales -- Vlad Dracula's castle, for one -- and putting the clues together. Along the way he picks up a few more assistants: the demon Asdeon, reporter Liz Russell, and ex-ranger Terry Dane.

This novel is bloody and violent, but more like suspenseful mystery that a horror story. Recommended for Reaves fans and anyone who likes magical detectives and occult mysteries.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Babylon is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit." (Revelations)
Perhaps it was the advent of the new Millennium that inspired so many fantasies with Babylonian demons, but I've read three in the past year including "Hell on Earth." I think Michael Reaves originally wrote this book with Millennarians as a target audience, since it makes isolated references to Armageddon. However, if that was the original theme, it has been transformed into a generic (or perhaps I should say gnostic) battle of sublime Light versus demonic Darkness.
"Hell on Earth" is the type of professionally crafted fantasy that we've come to expect from Del Rey. The reader is subjected to more cliff-hangers than Pauline in all of her perils, and Pauline's exclamations of horror and disgust have been thoroughly modernized. The action never stops from the birth of a demon and the loss of a magical talisman, to the epilogue when a famous ball descends in Times Square.
Even though the author makes several biblical references, "Hell on Earth" is not at all preachy. Humorous and inventive touches abound, including a demon that likes to masquerade as Humphrey Bogart. The three major human characters are Colin the magician, Liz the author of a best-seller about a serial killer called 'The Maneater,' and Terry, ex-Army Ranger and current bodyguard. They are all likeable, vulnerable, feisty, and willing to fight for the Right Side in the battle against evil. Although all three are battling current dilemmas, the reader is also treated to lengthy flashbacks---so lengthy that I began to wonder if there was a prequel to "Hell on Earth" that I had somehow missed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For some reason I bought this book well after it came out and then let it sit on the shelf for a time before reading it. Perhaps it was because of the millennial associations the book had in my mind. It certainly wasn't any doubt of Michael Reaves as an author. He has been writing for some time, and has always done a solid, workmanlike job. Having finally read it, I can honestly say that, whatever my reasons were, I was much mistaken. Certainly, any book that deals with demons and cataclysms will have a touch of the millennial about them, but this book would have worked just as well in 1986 or 2021.
The book start's out with a horrific beginning when, in a fashion reminiscent of "Alien," a demonic child is born to a 15 year old victim of incest. The demon promptly slaughters all attending the event and disappears. Quickly, the scene shifts to the Greenwich Village home of Colin, a young and potent mage who discovers he has been robbed. Three enchanted objects, which together make up the Trine, have been taken. Without the Trine, Colin's powers are significantly weakened. While planning his next steps a pounding on the door reveals the angel Zoel, sent from divine dispatching to help Colin along.
Across the continent, Terry Dane, a bodyguard, finds himself confronted with an attacker who doesn't register pain, and who likes to shred his victims. And, in Oregon, Liz Russell witnesses the execution of a serial killer she had written a book about and suddenly realizes that there may be life after death, and it might not like her. All of these threads come together in a wild sleigh ride through purgatory, hell and beyond. Colin's 'simple' quest quickly goes sour despite the help the angel Zoel and a friendly demon, Asdeon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lane Haygood on June 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The book started out great -- it didn't even lag through the middle! I eagerly flipped the pages until I got to the ending, and when I was done reading that... I threw the book against a wall. This isn't a spoiler, but man! That ending was weak and amateurish. I just hope he uh... comes up with a sequel... because there needs to be some closure to this whole thing...
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