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HELL ON EARTH by Michael Reaves

HELL ON EARTH

By Michael Reaves

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-345-42335-6
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Horror-master Reaves (Voodoo Child, 1998, etc.) jump-starts his narrative with a socko opener no later developments quite match.

In that devastating first scene, a 14-year-old Alabama girl, pregnant by her father, gives birth to—well, a great Rough Beast. In Greenwich Village, wealthy Rumanian orphan Colin finds that an intruder has opened his apartment’s secret wall and stolen the sorcerers’ three-part Trine. Found wandering the ruins of Vlad Tepes’s palace, Colin was taken in by the Scholomance and raised in Shadowdance. But it is the angel Zoel, whose solid silver eyes enrapture him, who enlists herself to help him recover the lost three psychic articles. Using a door that opens into space on the back of his apartment, the two “apport” to Paris, where they find one article, the Book, in the catacombs. The apportation door works only one-way, but Colin declines Zoel’s offer to fix it as a two-way portal. Meanwhile, back in the States, the novel divides into three other plotlines. One involves a serial killer known as Maneater (yes, a man-demon and Hannibal Lecter rip-off) who wakes from a lethal dose in the execution chamber and winks at reporter Liz Russell, vowing to chew into her at a later date. We’re also treated to the brain-dead rock group Lycanthropus, whose perversely scatological albums include “Suck Me Down To Hell” and “Hell on Earth.” Can the end of days be at hand? The Devil thinks so and, now reborn, has set the Apocalypse in motion. Once Colin recovers the Book, then the Stone, he must find the Flame at a hellish Las Vegas amusement park that features an underground roller coaster, The Balefire Express, a tour through hell itself in which the demon Pazuzu tells Colin, “I rather liked the way I was portrayed in The Exorcist.”

Older kids will slurp this up.