This will be about the novel written by Tim Marquitz, ‘Demon Squad: Armageddon Bound.’ ‘Demon Squad’ was one of the novels printed by Damnation Books, and of their writers, Tim Marquitz was one of the few customer-rated authors who had many favorable reviews. There was also the promise of both gratuitous sex and violence. Now that I am part of the Damnation team, I thought it would be interesting to see what my coworkers are doing. I was pleased with what I read. The story was worth the $18.80 for paperback. I could also have gone to damnationbooks.com and ordered an electronic copy for less than $7.
Let’s talk about the cover art. The cover makes the book, and the artist for this cover, Jessie Lucero, her vision was spot-on. From left to right, we see a blond with ginormous boobs cupped in black bra, a handsome fellow with a shaved head holding a handgun pointed directly at our face, and a classic Mephistopheles-looking character with a raised eyebrow. Red, black, and gray being the dominant colors, highlighted by two little skulls – like bookends – at the bottom. This was awesome marketing, the cover says it all.
Before we open the cover, there is background we need to know about Christian Mythology. Why? Because the brilliant idea that is Tim Marquitz’s needs a little explanation up front. As most people in the U.S. know, after Adam and Eve were created, the angel Lucifer deceived Eve against both God and Adam, and was then cast from heaven with a third of the angels. Yes, that is the very short and not-quite accurate version, but this is the tale most people would agree on.
So God cursed Adam and Eve with death, pain and suffering. Later, regretting his emotional outburst, God sends himself to earth as ‘Jesus’ to die in the place of man. This is so his own curse against man would be lifted, heralding the age of Grace.
The book of Revelations at the back of the New Testament promises that God is still going to kick all our asses including a dude known as the antichrist during a battle led by Jesus at a place called Armageddon. Then God’ll make a lake of fire, throw all us sinners in like at a Nazi book bake.
Here is Tim Marquitz’s awesome idea — God, tired of the chess game over the souls of men, amends with Lucifer. They re-unite and leave our dimension to go sort out their past problems. The angels are baffled – where did God go? The demons are happy, and power-plays begin for control of hell and earth. Man, once again, is stuck right in the middle.
But wait, it gets better, some angels feel that God’s last standing order was to see to the fulfillment of Armageddon and the end of all existence and actively seek annihilation. Other angels believe that is for God to decide when He returns. The same holds true for the demonic forces, only their reasons are more selfish. Politics will make strange bedfellows in the three-hundred pages to come.
Frank Trigg is our ‘hero’ caught in the middle of a mad world. He, at one time was set to be the anti-christ, but now days he is just a dude wanting to get laid while he still can and he helps as part of a movement called ‘Demonic Resistance and Containment.’ They are the anti-annihilation union of pro-existence demons, angels, wizards and psychics trying to save the world from extinction. Frank is our narrator and by page five, you will know if this is your kind of read or not. I was quit fascinated with the spin on famous demons and angels as well as where they stood in the absence of God and the Devil.
As the writer, Tim’s voice filtered through Frank Trigg is full of very distinct and colorful metaphors. I envy his ability to move the story quickly by consolidating emotion and description to quick similes, painting a broader scope of event and circumstance. This was very much a man’s tale. I’m not saying a woman couldn’t like it, but this story is very much geared toward a male reader.
There is always a bad. An example, Hemingway’s good was his description, his bad was in how his great description also bogged down his stories. Tim Marquitz’s good is that there is always action happening in the story, his bad is that by the end of the story, the reader is exhausted by blood and gore to the degree that the final battle is diminished. (Now that I’m half-way through writing my second publishable novel, the first one will give scope to how far I’ve come in only a year. I’d bet Tim’s experience is similar.)
Another bad point, the hero is the denounced Anti-Christ. Later in the story, we find out that Frank rebelled against Lucifer and rejected his position, but up until that point, I felt a little dirty cheering on the villain of everything that is good. As the story develops, it becomes clearer that Frank really is just another guy trying to get laid in a world that is slowly going to hell, and by his infernal background, he is privileged to know the world may end any day, and he, just like the rest of us, doesn’t really want that to happen.
The final bad is a personal grievance. I am a character writer, I write my players to be in the fashion of Ray Bradbury’s, where when we think we know them, they drop to the next level and we see a bigger character. Tim Marquitz’s actors, although well described and colorful, sometimes seemed like paper-cutouts with limited dimensions. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all of them, Frank was awesome, but at times the rest of the players seemed only vehicles to move the story along.
Another reviewer read the follow-up novel ‘Demon Squad : Resurrection’ and proclaimed great advancement in Tim Marquitz’s story-telling ability. I’m not surprised, Tim’s voice in this one is strong and humorous and if he continued to develop his sharp wit, the second book would naturally be better.
I look forward to reading the second book, and maybe even the third if he continues with Frank’s strange view of our sinking world. It has been a long time since a book has captured my imagination and kept me chuckling with grim delight. More importantly to me, I got to see first-hand that my book, “The Wrong Way Down” fits right alongside Mr Marquitz’s. I have found a home.