Saturday 4 September 2010

HELL FIRE by Ann Aguirre

As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and know its history. It's too bad she can't seem to forget her own. With her ex-boyfriend Chance in tow--lending his particularly supernatural brand of luck--Corine journeys back home to Kilmer, Georgia, in order to discover the truth behind her mother's death and the origins of her 'gift.'

But while trying to uncover the secrets in her past, Corine and Chance find that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Just a few miles away, no one seems to know Kilmer exists. And inside the town borders there are signs of a dark curse affecting the town and all its residents--and it can only be satisfied with death...

This is the second book in the Corine Solomon urban fantasy series. And like the first one, it didn't disappoint.

Corine is a handler, but seeing the history of inanimate objects is no fun. It's also painful, and in this book takes on a whole new physical and mental toll on her. It's almost as if returning to the one place where it all began is somehow morphing her ability. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In Blue Diablo, Chance agreed to help Corine return to the small town where her mother was killed in exchange for helping him find his mother. So that's where this book starts. Chance and Corine are headed towards the small town of Kilmer, Georgia. And as soon as they get within the place, they discover a badly hurt and dying dog on the road. Probably an omen of what's ahead, but Corine's not one to give up so easily. Once she's determined, she follows things through to the end. No matter what the cost.

As soon as they get to Kilmer and get a room at the only Inn, it becomes obvious that something isn't quite right in this town. There's something creepy and isolated about this place, and Chance's luck has disappeared for some reason. Not to mention that they soon realise that not only are people not willing to talk about the strangeness that exists around them, but someone wants to kill Corine.

The more they investigate, the more they realise things are awry in Kilmer and that there are some very old and dark secrets being kept. So with the help of a teenage girl called Shannon, who has a Gift of her own that involves dead people and a radio, as well as Jesse who rushes over as soon as he feels an inkling of Corine's distress, they slowly start to unravel the mystery of what happened to Corine's mother, who was responsible for her death, and why townpeople seem to disappear so frequently. Oh, and that something really scary lives out in the woods.

I once again found myself totally lost in the danger, mystery, and mayhem going on around Corine. She seems to be a magnet to trouble, but returning to this wicked town changes her in several very important ways. Ways that I know will come back to haunt her later on. And you know what? I can't wait to read about them. lol.

This installment is filled with awesome, deep characters that you just can't help but like. I really enjoy seeing Chance and Jesse again. Shannon's a nice addition that I can't wait to find out more about. Booke's as mysterious and insightful as ever, helping her along in his own uncanny way. And Butch is a cutie. I'm really starting to think that he's much more than just a cute chihuahua with a sixth sense.

Hell Fire is another well-written, engrossing book that grabbed me from the first page and didn't let go. The pace slows down a little, which is fitting to the location, but there's never a dull moment. As a reader, you just don't get a chance to take a breath, as you find yourself struggling along with Corine's plight. Every moment is filled with some sort of intensity that I'm finding addictive.

Yeah, this series is a total winner. Looking forward to reading more. And according to Ann Aguirre, she just sold two more books in the series, so yay!

Hell Fire: Corine Solomon #2, August 2010, ISBN 978-057-509398-0, Gollancz Paperback

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