Book Review: "Hell Will Rise" By Skyla Murphy
Hell Will Rise is a 2017 horror-thriller novel that leaves readers wondering what will happen next. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this novel? The book follows Hunter Garciez, a man who joins the mafia to save his sister and whose unusual abilities make him a valuable asset. The book’s title comes from a command Garciez receives — "complete the mission, or hell will rise." This book was written as the first in the Bloodthirst Mafia series.
Points in Favor of the Book
- The story's plot contains several whiplash turns and many genuine surprises. This narrative style is consistent from the beginning of the story to the end. While many novels typically start to tie up loose ends near the end of the book, this novel concludes its storyline with more than one final whiplash twist.
- While there is foreshadowing in the book, it doesn’t telegraph events.
- There is violence and gore fitting for a Mexican mafia book, but it isn’t excessively rendered. Think “True Blood” rather than a cheap vampire movie that uses excessive smears of blood to intensify the horror.
- Many books featuring a supernatural element require you to suspend disbelief. In this book, the main character’s abilities are so limited that it is believable, as is his personality. You understand why he acts in a certain way or makes certain choices, and unlike other crime and supernatural books, this one is logical. Convenient solutions aren't just thrown in to advance the plot.
- The ending in the last few pages is a major twist. It is a strong lead into another, weirder book but it also lets the novel stand on its own in the event that no follow-up books are published. It also interestingly builds up the title’s threat that “hell will rise.”
Strikes Against the Book
- The descriptions can drone on and on. One example of this is obvious when the description is trying to explain the narrator’s peculiar psychic sense. Some of this is done to build up the characters, and part of it to increase the drama, but it is still done in excess.
- The main villain's monologues are way too long, and they occur often.
- The sexual tension is rated R, and there are scenes that border on being X rated. The most annoying fact about this book is that the characters go to absurd lengths to protect a particular character's virginity, despite the fact that doing as much results in nearly costing her that. Still, Hell Will Rise's approach is not as bad as the way the Chemical Garden books convey the determination to protect the virginity of a character while playing up the drama. A good example of this is "50 Shades of Gray.” Compare the film version's sex scenes to the scenes in the book.
- The conspiracy theory that there is a cure for cancer and it is being kept from the public by executives is both incredibly hopeful and naïve. After all, those who have such a cure have friends and family who may develop cancer, and their doctors would most likely learn of the cure and want to share it. Then there’s the high price you could charge for such a cure, rivaling the painful and time consuming chemo treatments used today.
- While human trafficking does exist, suggesting that girls are grabbed out of clubs for sex slavery is a melodramatic conspiracy theory, whereas the likelihood of girls coming to the West looking for work, only to be trafficked into brothels is depressingly common and more realistic.
- If you kill an intruder in your home who has assaulted a family member, it is not murder, it is self-defense, even in California. This is especially true if you kill a known criminal who has invaded your home. Because of that fact, it is hard to understand this book's absolute insistence that the system is rigged to ruin the life of someone who killed a person in self-defense? This is the only illogical point in the plot, but it is necessary to the plot.
I give Hell Will Rise by Skyla Murphy four stars. The second book in the series promises to be an interesting horror novel.