Review: Death’s Hand by SM Reine

This is a seriously wicked book by a very talented writer, SM Reine.  And I’m not just saying this because she’s my friend!  The book is awesome.  Go forth and buy it.

…..You didn’t think that was the end, did you?

All kidding aside, you really need to read this book.  I have been fortunate to see its evolution pretty much from the beginning (several years ago) to the end.  And it’s gotten better and darker and cooler with each incarnation.

I’m going for non-spoilery, so bear with me here.  Okay, it starts with a bang — a scene in the past with the two main characters, Elise and James, who were powerful hunters of evil.  Something horrific happened and they retired.  We are thrust into the present time, where Elise and James are living out their very normal lives.  That is until they end up trying to exorcise a little girl.

It gets worse.

As an aside, I have to say: I’m not familiar with actual exorcism or demonology.  I believe there are some elements in Elise’s exorcisms that are taken from true exorcism.  I was impressed with it.  It was simple, clean, and rang true for me whether or not it’s actually real.  But most importantly, it made perfect sense within the context of the world Reine created in Death’s Hand.  Also something else I liked was the bond between Elise and James.  It’s actually a magical bond.  I don’t believe they are in love or anything like that, but are close friends that would die for each other.  I thought it was refreshing to see something other than a soulmate/mating-type bond between a man and a woman.

Okay, back to the story.  There’s this goddess of death that Elise encountered before who swore she’d come back for Elise.  And she’s in an object that is wielded by a powerful witch/necromancer.  You’ll never guess who it is (I knew from reading a previous draft, but the way it’s laid out will surprise you).  *winks* So between the possessed girl, the workings of the death goddess, the newly-risen dead (zombies?), Elise and James have their hands full.  They’re forced out of retirement.

What happens is twisty and dark and awful, but it ends happily, I assure you.  But you’ll have issues putting it down.  The last 100 pages flew for me, and I was technically proofreading, except I kinda forgot to keep an eye out at that point. I admit that.  It completely riveted me to the point where I was sitting at work counting down the hours until I could go home and read more.  It’s nuts.

Another thing, too.  This is a very unique take on demons, exorcism, witches, necromancers.  There is a lot of that out there, but you’ll find Death’s Hand refreshingly different.  I like the elements of the paranormal and the grittiness of dark fantasy.  It really, really works.

So, whatcha waitin’ for?  Check it out.

Also, this is the first book in SM Reine’s Descent series.  It is a complete story, but there is one teeny tiny little thing at the end that will flow into the next book, which I believe is called The Darkest Gate.  I can’t wait to read that.  I’m kind of addicted — uh, actually I am addicted to these stories.  ….Yeah.

Red Iris Publishing is new to the game and I believe they will become one of the finest publishers out there.  With writers like SM Reine, it’s a certainty.  So check them out.

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