"One of the best paranormal fantasy releases of this year—a self-publishing benchmark."– Kirkus Reviews
This rousing sequel to Reynolds’ debut novel (Masters’ Mysterium: Wisconsin Dells, 2013) continues a paranormal fantasy saga chronicling the epic battle between angels and demons and the humans entangled in their war.
After what happened in Wisconsin Dells, the world now knows of the existence of angels and demons. With the ladder (the angels’ means of traveling to and from Earth) in Wisconsin Dells destroyed, the primary mission for the humans involved in the angels’ plight—like former waitress Trudy Masters and her husband, Gavin, who now has the ability to heal others with his touch—is to somehow quietly relocate an entire town to a new location: Calamity, Nevada, 30 miles outside of Sin City. But setting up a ladder in Calamity proves to be a dangerous venture, especially when a group of Vegas demons attempts to manipulate the situation to its advantage. The already volatile situation becomes even more complicated when Trudy’s father—who owns the museum of oddities known as Masters’ Mysterium—literally makes a deal with the devil. This saga is simply extraordinary on several levels. Reynolds takes the angels-vs.-demons genre—one filled with mind-numbing stereotypes and clichés—and creates a profound new mythos. His vision is unique, his characters well-developed, the pacing relentless. It’s paranormal fantasy, yes, but that shouldn’t dissuade readers disinterested in the genre. Powered by utterly readable writing and a diverse cast of characters for whom readers will undoubtedly cheer, this novel isn’t so much about angels and demons as it is about the people ensnared in the conflict and their own intimate journeys of self-discovery.
Like Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas saga this is cutting-edge genre fiction that will appeal to genre fans as well as mainstream fiction readers. It’s a storytelling tour de force no matter the categorization.
This extraordinary work of paranormal fantasy—a debut, no less—revolves largely around the morally bankrupt owner of a museum of oddities who attempts to reinvigorate his flagging business by capturing the Hodag, a legendary creature believed to inhabit the woodlands of northern Wisconsin.
The Rev. Jay Masters is a scumbag. A former faith healer, he currently owns Masters’ Mysterium—“a collection of every oddity, rumor, hearsay, improbable event, and conundrum created by nature or man”—a failing business in Wisconsin Dells that’s being overshadowed by nearby amusement and water parks. With few options left, he hires three hillbilly hunters to go into northern Wisconsin and trap a mysterious beast that has been rumored to be killing unwary travelers. But when two of the hunters end up ripped apart, the sole survivor ranting about aliens and monsters, Masters decides to visit the remote town of Creekside himself. There, he meets the town’s strange residents, including his 21-year-old daughter, Trudy, a waitress at the unfortunately named Cluck and Grunt restaurant; she’s not exactly happy to meet him for the first time. The mythical beast turns out to be a demon, and Masters and his daughter soon become entangled in a supernatural war between seraphic beings and the forces of evil. But this isn’t run-of-the-mill paranormal fantasy with angels. The characters are extremely well-developed, the narrative is intelligent and at times highly humorous, the storyline is original and engaging, and the religious aspects are decidedly understated. The first installment of a series, this is paranormal fantasy done right: a unique, relentlessly entertaining page-turner that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Fortunately, there’s more to come.
One of the best paranormal fantasy releases of this year—a self-publishing benchmark.