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Reign in Hell Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 1998


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Reign in Hell + Show of Evil + The Hunt (27)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345395069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345395061
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

" 'So Pennington trades his war years for a ticket to the White House and Engstrom plans the second American Revolution,' Vail said." This is the premise behind Diehl's (Show of Evil, LJ 4/15/95) new Martin Vail novel. Illinois state attorney general Vail is called upon by President Lawrence Pennington to seek a trial case against one of the largest militia outfits in the country. The leader of this outfit, Gen. Joshua Engstrom, just happens to be an old adversary of the president, putting Vail in the middle of a dangerous situation. Vail must also relive the past when unwillingly faced with his nemesis from years ago, serial killer Aaron Stampler, who has now become blind Brother Transgression. The meshing of these storylines is intricate yet easily followed as the tension mounts. Diehl's exciting mystery teaches the reader never to think that it is over?until it is really over. Recommended for all public libraries.
-?Stacey Reasor, ITT Technical Inst. Lib.,Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Veteran thriller writer Diehl pits scrappy Chicago lawyer Martin Vail against Bible-thumping militia maniacs and Vail's old adversary, psychokiller Aaron Stampler, in a mindless plotboiler that never fails to please. Having succeeded fabulously as a defense attorney (Primal Fear, 1993) and then as a district attorney (Show of Evil, 1995), crusading, street-smart Vail is now promoted to the lofty, politically turbulent office of Illinois State Attorney General. Between passionate trysts with his previous courtroom opponent, Jane Venable, Vail can't keep his paws (speaking of same) off corrupt politicians. Having committed his too-good-to-be-billable talents to the public weal, he effortlessly sends a pack of scalawags to jail using the RICO statute. He then finds himself tapped by US Attorney General Margaret Castaigne to draw up a RICO indictment against General Joshua Engstrom, a right-wing militia commander whose wacko religious order, the Sanctuary, may have been behind a terrorist attack on an Army convoy in Montana. Vail rapidly learns of Engstrom's hatred for his former Army buddy Lawrence Pennington, now President of the United States. Before you can say Ruby Ridge all over again, Diehl tosses in Arnold Stampler, Vail's homicidal former client and nemesis, as a fundamentalist preacher who feigns blindness and spouts marginally comprehensible hate sermons on Engstrom's radio station. From here on, Diehl's forced and foolish story hurtles on at full throttle, never stopping to question itself or the preposterousness of its plot. Vail staggers from one contrived cliffhanger to another until almost everyone is blown up except Stampler and Vail himself, who takes a bullet through his heart but has enough chutzpa to insult the President and thumb his nose at a federal judgeship. What a guy! Fizzy male wish-fulfillment that bulges with Clancyesque histrionics, frothing fundamentalist foment, and more than you want to know about hate groups and RICO indictments. (Literary Guild main selection/Mystery Guild selection; author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

These aircraft are NOT helicopters!
Paul Lambert
It also seems as though there are new characters in every chapter and you can get confused as to who is who because none of them seem any different from each other.
Aaron Steel
I just finished reading this book and tried to remember what really happened.
Allan Jagos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cody Menzies on May 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
William Diehl is a fine writer and has been for many years. I am a huge fan of Primal Fear, and its superior follow up Show of Evil. And because of that track record, I grabbed Reign in Hell as soon as it hit the selves.
Unfortunately, with a major change in tone and plot, Reign is a giant disappointment. Gone is the intense cat-and-mouse game that made Show so brilliant, nor the strong, unforgettable characters of Primal. Instead, we get a movie-of-the-week plot involving redneck militias with fantasies of armogeddon, with Martin Vail and Aaron Stampler thrown in for what seems to be the hell of it. These two characters do not fit into such a none-personal story, and their involvement is so convoluted that it makes almost every other event in the books seem unbelievable too.
But alas, too much legal speak and dumb-plot syndrome predominate the book, boring the first time reader and angering those who had read his works before. And that is a pity. Veil and Stampler were too of the most memorable characters to ever face each other. The way their story is resolved here makes the climax an anti-climax.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Legerski VINE VOICE on July 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Martin Veil returns for his third book from Diehl. In this one, Martin wins a RICO case in small town America, then is offered a chance to be Asst. Attorney General of the U.S. to set up a RICO case against a hate group called The Sanctuary. The majority of the story is about the members of The Sactuary and how they got to be where they are. A lot of action filled robberies and military expeditions flavor this novel. And Aaron Stampler does return. This piece is written more in the style and research of Tom Clancy. A lot of politics and military aspects are covered. Diehl's back stories and flashbacks to flesh out the characters and their motivations is a strong point. The conclusion is sad , true and too frequently real.
A different Diehl but a great book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What a disappointment. This book starts out giving us a very bright hero using his brains to take on a violent sociopath. It ends up as another shoot-em-up that reads like a blue print for a movie script rather than a novel. What a waste of time it was reading the final third of this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lambert on October 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well , the book started out ok. We're brought in at the end of a trail as a prelude to another different type of case. It rapidly goes downhill. All the other reviews cover most of the stupidity. So lets get to the "assault" part. It wouldnt take much to learn a "Spectre" gunship is actually a 4-engined C-130 gunship with 20mm and 7.62mm gatling guns that fire from one side of the aircraft. Theres is also a 105mm howitzer in the nose. These aircraft are NOT helicopters! NONE of these weapons are detachable or in anyway usable by pulling them off the mounts. They are electricaly powered and primed. And No way Sgt Williams could hold on to one. These arent hand weapons. As for the assault strategy I hope Mr Dielh never leads one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Forte on August 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This really didn't have to do anything with the character of Aaron Stamplet because he was just a subplot. It will give you a fresh start but as you read along who'll find out that the chilling plot between Stampler and Vail is lost. So it's kinda disappointing for me and I didn't actually enjoy readin' this book. Take it from a Stampler-Vail avid fan. But the hihgly recommended William Diehl's two prequels - PRIMAL FEAR, and SHOW OF EVIL. Now, you won't be disappointed in these.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By michael luciano on September 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reign in Hell is not a great book. Which is a real shame because the two previous Martin Veil books were amazing reads. Martin Veil is not even a necessary part of this book. If Diehl really wanted to tell this story he probably should have left Veil out of it. If you are going to try and read a Martin Veil book, try Primal Fear or Show of Evil. These are two outstanding books that you will enjoy from start to finish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the first two Martin Vail novels, and was quite disappointed by this one, for the above three reasons.
Poorly written -- it violates rules you can find in any basic creative writing book or class. It lists and tells rather than showing or describing, and it talks down to the reader. The book frequently resorts to simplistic "X happened, then Y happened" paragraphs rather than involving the reader in the events (the last paragraph of the book is a great example). Such writing tends not to evoke suspense or fear, and this book is no exception. It's obvious that Diehl didn't spend nearly as much time on this book as on his others.

Wandering storylines -- The inclusion of Aaron Stampler into this book feels artificial and forced. He has perhaps four scenes, five tops, and only one of them is very long or involved. Diehl occasionally drops some interesting hints, but the character does not grow at all, and we gain no further insight into his motives or past.

Atrocious politics -- I don't need every novel I read to vindicate my politics, but there are parts of this book which perpetuate alarming fallacies about RICO as well as the Waco incident. It is ironic that the Turner Diaries are widely criticized for their well-known slant and unconscionable ideas, but that this book then goes on to unfairly lump David Koresh in with Jim Jones and equate the Branch Davidians with racist militia organizations. (Watch the documentary WACO: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT for some interesting points, as well as proof of the Davidians' rejection of racism.
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