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Damnable / Hank Schwaeble

Jove / August 2009
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

Jake Hatcher gets sprung from military prison in order to attend his brother Garrett’s funeral, which is shocking considering Jake never knew that he had a brother. Upon his release, Hatcher heads to New York City intent on getting some answers. Why did his parents keep Garrett a secret? How did Garrett end up dead? The answers to those questions leave Hatcher wanting to know more about the brother he never knew.

Hatcher consults with Detective Wright. Turns out Garrett died trying to save a beautiful stranger named Deborah. Hatcher gets the feeling that the police are being less than truthful about the circumstances surrounding Garrett’s death, so he decides to do some investigating of his own. Trouble is, for every answer Hatcher gets, another question is raised. The puzzle pieces aren’t fitting together. Garrett’s friend, Fred, is a paranoid conspiracy theorist and isn’t sure whether or not he should tell Hatcher what he knows. And then there’s Susan, Garrett’s pregnant girlfriend, who happens to be married to another man.

Meanwhile, Detective Wright has her hands full with a series of missing persons’ cases. A pattern emerges revealing that many of the “victims” are hookers. Lucas Sherman, a known serial rapist, is a suspect but winds up being released from custody thanks to his high priced attorney, Stephen Solomon – legal counsel Sherman can afford thanks to his employer, Demetrius Valentine.

Valentine is the one who is up to no good. Sherman finds the hookers and brings them to Valentine. Valentine needs them to train the monster he’s created, the “Get of Damnation” to prepare it for its unholy purpose.

As Hatcher digs deeper, he discovers that Deborah, the woman Garrett saved, is not as innocent as she first seemed. Who is she? Or perhaps, what is she? And how is she connected to Sherman and Valentine?

Demon stories are generally a hard sell for this reviewer – primarily because many of them are misogynistic and contain graphic descriptions of rape and abuse that are not integral to the plot of the story. While Damnable does contain some of these elements, Schwaeble makes a concerted effort to tie those elements to plot and avoids being gratuitous.

Damnable is Hank Schwaeble’s debut novel. While a thriller at its core, it contains enough of a horror element that it should please fans of both genres. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy supernatural mystery.

Purchase Damnable by Hank Schwaeble.

Posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 12:36PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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