Posts Tagged ‘Demon Squad


Shortbus to the Gates

Since I’d read page 6 of the book, Demon Squad: Armageddon Bound, I have been a fan of Tim Marquitz’s series. It is a dark, gruesome tale laced with biting sarcastic humor. I’ve enjoyed the first two books with tremendous zeal. Here is a link to the review I gave of the first book.

Tim also read it. Back in July, after I’d posted it, I sent him a link. The Shortbus deleted everything soon thereafter, but I kept that review since it was one of the few things I’d written that wouldn’t get me sued for a gazillion dollars. Tim must have liked the post– I was one of the lucky ones to receive an advanced copy of his third in series, At the Gates.

At the Gates is going to be released on December first; here is a link to his page. There, you can get all his books if you are interested.

Here is a little background to bring you up to speed. Frank Trigg is a half-demon who resides on Earth. Being from Hell, he has a little insight to the supernatural and he informs us that recently, God and Lucifer have called a truce and have left our dimension to sort out their ills. The angels in heaven are quite confused and the more powerful demons in hell have made land grabs, cutting out pie-pieces of Earth, expanding their own territories. In Armageddon Bound, two major demons by the name of Baalth and Asmoday are going for broke. Asmoday wants to become the new Lucifer and Baalth wants the world to remain as it is since he’s got a nice cut of the pie already. (That isn’t exactly it, but it is simple and close enough to the target.) Add a couple crazy angels and you’ve got one hell of a supernatural thriller.

In book two, Resurrection, there is a rotten necromancer and his gang of stinky-slimy undead with a reckless need to return a previously dead anti-Christ. In Tim’s clever creation, historically, there has been more than one anti-Christ, and the one possessing the greatest potential Lucifer killed in a bout of jealousy. Handsome devil was sleeping with Lucifer’s girl — whoops. So the second book is about stopping the return of the Anti-Christ. Oh, and there is sexy Lilith too. Let’s not forget her.

Book Three, At the Gates is his best yet. The descriptions are vivid and colorful. The cast of characters are better defined than they ever have been in the series. And the tension– the tension is almost over-whelming. Frank, how are you going to get out of this one?

As a reward, Frank has been imbued with a little bit of magic for doing a big favor for Baalth. It comes in handy as soon as the first chapter is half-told. Scarlett, who is his angelic-cousin, has barely escaped Heaven. Heaven is under siege by a faction of crazy angels who’ve blamed the non-crazy angels of betraying God in his absence. Scarlett escaped through the Gates of Eden and three nasty aberrations called the Nephilim had taken pursuit. Frank gives them a taste of demonic magic that sends them packing.

But wait, it gets worse, not only are all the good angels (save Scarlett) locked-up within the Garden of Eden, but the Tree of Life is getting sick from all the violence and as some warped consequence, clouds of acidic death are materializing on Earth, destroying everything they contact. As if that isn’t enough, there is a pesky Werebear named Grawwl and his gang of Vampires adding a royal pain in the ass.

Again, as we expect with Tim’s stories, this is a bloody, twisted, roller-coaster of carnage and mayhem, coated with a justly film of sarcastic irony. Tim’s Hell is certainly a lot nicer than Tim’s Earth. Perhaps the Shortbus is heading in the right direction after all.


Angels and Demons

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 and ordered an electronic copy for less than $7.

The Good
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.

The Bad
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.


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