About the Book:
Reese Howard used to be an enforcer for the half-devil crime boss known as the Old Man. Now she has nothing. Her lover and partner, Sam, is dead. The Old Man betrayed them. He killed Sam in front of Reese, a blood sacrifice to fuel his latest power play in Hell on Earth. Reese hopes the Old Man made a mistake, leaving her alive. But she has no doubt he’s waiting for her, beside The Summoning Fire.
About the Author:
Most days, David Michael is a software developer and a writer. Some days, he’s a writer and a software developer. Other days, he’s an amateur photographer. Because, really, who is the same person every day? David blogs about writing at Guns & Magic. You can find more his novels and stories there, as well. David is the designer and developer of DavidRM Software’s The Journal, personal journaling software for Windows. He has also designed and developed video games, and has written two nonfiction books and numerous articles about video game development. David lives with his wife and kids in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Hello Ghouls and Boils,
Today Guest Minion Sean Lee Levin will be sharing his thoughts on David Michael’s “The Summoning Fire”. Having read about David, the book, and now this review — I must admit I am intrigued. But I will let Sean tell you all about it! Enjoy, my fiends!
Sarah L. Covert
Not having read David Michael‘s other work, I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this book was. What could have been just another “girl with a gun and a blade killing demons and other things that go bump in the night” story, was instead filled with rich characterization. This is not only true for the main characters, but also for those who appear in the story for a short time. This makes for effective storytelling because the book changes point of view several times.
Reese Anne Howard is an ass-kicking heroine, but she also has an extremely damaged past. The literal emergence of Hell on Earth has cost her both he family and her lover. Now she seeks revenge on her former boss – the devil known as the Old Man. Reese knows that this quest may lead her to the end of the road, and in a way she hopes it does. There are flashback chapters titled “Before the Fire” that describe her past with her beloved Sam – also a former employee of the Old Man. They do a marvelous job of showing how these two women found each other in the midst of a world gone mad.
As I stated earlier, certain chapters are told from the viewpoints of others whose fates intertwine. Michael does an excellent job of showing how people cope with the new world order, from a heartbroken man who offers Reese temporary shelter to my particular favorite, a group of children who are forced to scavenge for food, including a human hand – a terrific example of this book’s black humor.
Several chapters are told from the perspective of “The Summoned”, an unholy being that the Old Man invokes. The Summoned, a truly alien being, finds himself having a difficult time adjusting to earthly concepts. I found this to be overdone at first – luckily this eased off as the book continued.
The chapters focused on the Old Man are some of the most graphic in terms of sexual content (including demon-on-demon fellatio) and violence, but they also serve to highlight – all too effectively – just how depraved the demons and undead who have claimed Earth are.
That brings up another point worth mentioning: this is a very explicit book in terms of sex, violence, and profanity. However, none of this ever becomes gratuitous, as it so easily could. It fits perfectly with the tone of the book.
Michael’s novel is a stark tale of a woman on a mission of vengeance in a post-apocalyptic world who doesn’t hesitate to mow down unholy bastards in order to reach the unholiest of them all, the monster who cost her everything and who doesn’t take betrayal lightly. This book is written with such depth that despite its overly fantastic elements, the characters came across as real.
The Summoning Fire is a book that pulls no punches, and benefits from it. It has multi-layered characters, flashes of dark humor, and changes in time and the shift in viewpoint never becomes distracting. I would not at all be averse to a sequel featuring Reese’s further adventures in Hell on Earth. Anyone who enjoys Tim Seeley’s comic Hack/Slash or Sam Raimi’s sublime Evil Dead Trilogy should check this book out ASAP! I give it 4 out of 5 tentacles.
Sean Lee Levin – Guest Minion (Reviewer)