Through the In Between, Hell Awaits by Robert Essig (Grand Mal Press)
If books had a soundtrack it would only be fitting if AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” was the lead single for this explosive tale of a demonic battle that takes place in the In Between. The place between Earth and Hell that Dagana, a junkie groupie cloaked demon, has been planning on taking over for far too long. She attacks a junkie in a dark alley after a heavy metal concert and shows her true form to two witnesses who become obsessed with a being able to cause such polarizing emotions as lust and fear all at the same time.
Austin is one of those witnesses. He meets Audrey along his journey as he is being pulled north, and as the world they know becomes further away they will learn what the cost of murder is on their souls.
There is a power struggle in the In Between, and Dagona will do anything it takes to gain control of it. Murder, human pawn harvesting, flesh eating mini demons, in short… girl has plans. She needs an army and worthy sentinels and she forces her victims to either love or hate the sins her powers force them to make. As the story shifts from Earth to the In Between, and as Austin and Audrey are pulled deeper into the demonic war zone, Essig pushes Audrey and Austin to their brink. The only thing they have is their love for each other, but is it enough for them to make the right choices?
There is plenty of gore, violent action scenes, and torture; all splashed on a vivid landscape that is only the tip of this author’s vision of hell. His plot is wicked; it’s easy to tell the author spent a long time creating his demonic infested world. Great dialogue, epic battles, and all kinds of sleaze fill this novel with everything a fan of Edward Lee or Clive Barker could ask for from a new author.
Essig teases us with his demonic warriors on the road to hell, never fully opening the door to hell itself. It says Hell Awaits right in the title, so as much as I wanted to go on that trip, I knew I would only get so close. How close? Close enough to know what’s behind that door, and I can’t wait to be there when he opens it. (Cory Cline)