Genre: Horror / Thriller
Publisher: Necro Publications
Publication Date: 24th Nov 2016
REVIEWED BY NEV
A copy of The Harrowing was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Robert E Dunn, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Necro Publications.
This is one I have had on my radar for a while but just never seemed to get around to. But when Mr Dunn contacted me to make sure I had a copy, I was then obligated to review it and push it up the pile a bit. That’s my excuse anyway!
I only have one other experience of reading Robert E Dunn and that was his novel, Motorman. I really liked it. This one was a little bit different according to the synopsis so I was interested to see how it would pan out.
This is what I thought.
Andrew Jackson Presley is a man of many means. He has done many things in his life. Some to be proud of, and some to hide from.
When he is approached by the angel Puriel to descend into hell and supposedly rescue someone who is there by mistake, he thinks he has an option on this. He doesn’t.
When Presley gets to hell, he soon realises that nothing is as it seems or should be.
Becoming known as Demon Jack, he sets out to find the truth, or a version of it, and figure out just how to stop the war of all wars.
Now on the face of things, and going from what the synopsis says, you would think that this is a fantastical tale of a race against time where one man has to face the struggles and evil of hell and battle against the lords of the underworld to save the innocent person, and the rest of mankind.
You would be partly correct. There was one aspect of this book that I didn’t expect and to be honest…..well…..just read on.
In terms of characters in this tale, there are way too many to mention on an individual basis, so I will give you the main ones. Demon Jack, as he becomes known, is a regular don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone ex mercenary who has done it all, seen it all. He is the sort of person who is perfectly suited to the task at hand. He also has a quality that I wasn’t expecting…..not yet…..
Some of the other main characters that I can tell you about, without spoiling the story, would be Satanael, the devil herself, Quixicatael, an angel who should be of the fallen variety, a host of others that you can never be quite so sure who they serve, oh, and the one, and only, Edgar Allan Poe.
The plot is easy. Presley has to go to hell to bring someone back. Well, that is what he, and you, are led to believe. What it turns into is a story of good versus evil, of evil versus evil, of everyone versus Presley. The story does get a little confusing at times but that is not a fault of the writing, it is just because there is so much going on that even our hero himself gets a bit confused at times and has to take a step back and re-evaluate things.
The bit that I didn’t expect to see much of? Humour. A brand of dark humour that is evident throughout the book that in some parts made it for me, but in others, spoilt it for me.
The character of Demon Jack was certainly a law unto himself and to be honest the humour did make him shine at times. Some of the early exchanges between himself and Poe were nothing short of hilarious. For me though, it just took away from the seriousness and dramatic effect of the story. It could have turned into so much more of a scary book without the humour or even if it had been watered down a bit.
This by no means turns it into a bad book and to be honest a lot of people will find it extremely entertaining because of the humour. I just wanted things a little more serious.
Personal choice in the end.
What this book does show everyone, regardless of whether you want it scary or funny, is the fact that Robert Dunn can write a hell of a tale.
He convinces you that you are in a world of pain and torture. A world where none of us would ever want to go but a world where we are already living in many respects. There are a lot of deeper meanings within this story and it is one that is totally left open to the interpretation of the individual reader. This is a book that I suspect will end up with many differing views. I also suspect, that is exactly what Mr Dunn planned.
To summarise: a seemingly straight forward plot that you will soon discover is anything but. An interesting take on what heaven, hell and all of the universes really mean to each other and what we may just have to do to survive in the afterworld. Thrilling, funny and brutal at times, this has a bit of something in it for everyone.
★★★★ nearly there for me.
★★★★ certainly creepy.
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Andrew Jackson Presley, mercenary and nomad biker, learned the hard way—never trust an angel. Recruited by archangel Puriel for a harrowing, a descent into hell to rescue the innocent, the next thing he learned is that no one is innocent.
Hell is a prison not just for men but for the old gods as well. Heaven is an insulated club for angels, no humans allowed. The two worlds are locked in an eternal war that may soon be coming to an end. It turns out Jack has been to hell before and there are secrets buried in past lives that make him the key to victory for both sides.
As he tries to finish his mission, Jack finds that the woman he’s to rescue is Orisa, someone he had loved and killed for in life. But Orisa is half-angel with her own secret role to play in the war. While magic, burned into him by angels, gets stronger, and the mystery of his past unravels, Jack becomes Demon Jack, and learns there is more at stake than one innocent person. With the help of Edgar Allen Poe, the Queen of Ghosts, an Earth Goddess, and the most beautiful woman in hell, Satan herself, Jack must stop the angel’s final battle from consuming Earth. Even as the truth takes shape and the plans of eternity are playing out, Jack raises the stakes. To save the world, he sets loose the gods of antiquity, risking the entire universe.
CONFESSIONS REVIEWS ROBERT E DUNN
Robert Dunn (1960) was an Army brat born in Alabama and finally settled in Nixa, Missouri. A graduate of Drury College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications/Film he also earned a second major in Philosophy with a minor in Religion and carried an emphasis in Theatre. This course of study left him qualified only to be a televangelist.
An award winning film/video producer and writer, he has written scripts for or directed every kind of production from local 30-second television commercial spots to documentary productions and travelogues.
A writer of blognovels and contributor to various fiction websites his work has also included the book length prose poem, Uncle Sam, the collection of short stories, Motorman and Other Stories and novel, Behind the Darkness.
Mr. Dunn now resides in Kansas City where he continues to write genre fiction and experiment with mixed media art projects using hand drawn and painted elements combined through digital paint and compositing.
And for more about Robert, visit his site or find him on social media: