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Apr 22 2012

A Review of Devil’s Canyon by Steven Durette

I have to admit that there are a lot of stories that involve succubi and incubi in them that use, almost exclusively, the more demonic, evil, and to be honest, horrific aspects of their legend. That’s usually something that makes me not enjoy those works as much as I would normally do. However, when the story, especially a story that is well done, overcomes the horror aspects of the tale… That’s a book that I can enjoy and in this case I really did…

Devil's Canyon by Steven Durette

Devil's Canyon by Steven Durette

The story is about:

Arizona Highway Patroll Officer Anna Purcell makes a traffic stop, and is thrust into a supernatural battle against the royalty of Hell itself.

Her only assistance comes from a U.S. Marshall that has been dead since 1881, and a mysterious monk.

Can Anna triumph, or is mankind doomed?

This is the first book in what the author describes as a series called The Lawman. It’s an interesting concept and I found that the background that the author created for their characters, their motivations, and actions, seemed very true to form save for perhaps one minor character who I didn’t care for and when they came to their ultimate resolution in the story, I didn’t shed a tear over them.

The author writes very well, there wasn’t any moments in the story where I was taken from the story because of grammar or spelling or an obvious plot error that I couldn’t get past. That’s not to say it was perfect however. I have issues with blood and gore in stories and I thought that it was made clear from the beginning of the work that the demons in it were evil and bloody. I am not sure that revisiting that part of them over and over again was needed.

Setting that aside, the main characters of the story, both those for good and those for bad were well developed and spoke with their own “voices” throughout the story. I thought that Lew, the Lawman of the series, was well done and I could picture him in my thoughts easily. Anna was written as a hard case that doesn’t take flack from anyone and she held true to form throughout the story. I did have moments however when her internal monologue seemed like an info dump and there might have been a better way to give the reader the background on her.

The use of many demonic characters of legend was well done I thought. They were not simply cardboard cutouts of evil characters that were repeated over and over again either. They had goals and histories that meant something to the overall plot of the story and that makes the work more interesting to me.

Evil for evil’s sake doesn’t make a good story really…

There are several succubi characters in the work, but they are not quite true to the normal myths of succubi. In this universe in order for any demon of any kind to exist on Earth they must possess the body of a willing human. This involves the soul of the human being taken from their body and then the demon, whatever it is, taking possession of the now vacant body.

They also, at least in the case of the succubi in this story, transform the bodies they claim. Some, as in the case of the succubi, make them more sexual. They also can add wings to their bodies and fly as well. In the story their powers aren’t really explored very much, though some oblique comments are made about them.

There is a Queen of the succubi in this book called Mastema who plays what seems to be a minor role in the story along with another succubus named Baalphegor. The politics between them that run through the story is interesting and the plots that they play against each other also are interesting to read as well. But they aren’t, really, succubi so much as demons that happen to like sex and killing a lot.

Kind of disappointing for the most part until the reveal about Mastema, and then I have to say that my opinion of her changed dramatically from what I had been thinking about her. I give credit to the author for the hints in the story and not revealing the truth about her until the time was right, and how her story ends is one of the most shattering things that I have read about any succubus character.

The story does not close all of the stories by the time it ends, and the ending while satisfying, leaves the way open to many other stories in this universe. But I would have one request of the author if he ever reads this. Could you please tone down the blood and gore just a little bit? There was a limited telling of what the succubi do in this world, it’s mostly taken for granted, and I think that one or two scenes of blood in a story is enough really.

So in short, less blood, more story please?

I’ll give this work four out of five pitchforks.

Drop the blood, keep the characters, add to the story and it would be a five…

 

Tera

4 comments

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  1. avatar
    James

    Some people, Majesty, seem to think blood and gore are more interesting and enjoyable than sex and seduction . . . more is the pity.

  2. avatar
    TeraS

    And that is where I would have hoped for more…

    Tera

  3. avatar
    Steven Durette

    Thank you for the kind words on my novel, and for taking the time to review it on Amazon!

    I had a lot of fun with it- and it was my first departure out of my normal writings , and also my first into the “supernatural realm”.

    I really had a blast with Mastema- she was originally going to be much different, but she kind of took over, fleshed herself out and made her own course.

    I am glad you took the chance to try out my little story. Please feel free to email me:)

    Great site by the way- Wish I had stumbled across it when I was researching the novel.

    Have a great day and thank you again!

  4. avatar
    TeraS

    *blush*

    Thank you Steven… I will take you up on your offer…

    Love

    Tera

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