Review: War Demons

The Devil went down to Georgia. He was looking for a soul to steal.And this time, he isn’t coming with a violin.

Welcome to War Demons, by Russell Newquist.**

When he came home, so did they…

Driven by vengeance, Michael Alexander enlisted in the Army the day after 9/11. Five years later, disillusioned and broken by the horrors he witnessed in Afghanistan, Michael returns home to Georgia seeking to begin a new life. But he didn’t come alone. Something evil followed him, and it’s leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

The police are powerless. The Army has written Michael off. Left to face down a malevolent creature first encountered in the mountains of Afghanistan, he’ll rely on his training, a homeless prophet, and estranged family members from a love lost…

But none of them expected the dragon.

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden collides with Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International in this supernatural thriller that goes straight to Hell!

That tag at the end isn’t bluster. It’s fairly accurate. Personally, I think War Demons leans more on the MHI than the Harry Dresden. So much so that I’m willing to say up front that I would not be surprised if Russell ends up authoring an MHI spinoff novel. No, I’m not exaggerating. This is a story that could have been mistaken for a Monster Hunter International novel if Larry Correia used prayer as a weapon more often. But I will admit, there is a TON of Dresden-level action.

Let’s back up a step.

Chapter one opens up with a swordfight with a demon, and ends with dropping a daisy cutter on it.

That irritated the sucker a little.

Fast forward a few years to our hero, Michael Alexander, who Jack Ryaned out of the military when his helicopter crashed. He and his buddy hid in a cave …. only do discover something in the cave that was colder than the dark and hungry.

When Michael returns to Georgia, the thing that haunted him in the sandbox follows…

Ahem, “The Devil went down to Georgia….”

But when Michael starts to see his dead friend stalking him in the shadows, well, it’s just some PTSD demons. Nothing to worry about, right?

Yeesh. When this guy is haunted by his past, he takes it literally.

The fun continues as the circle of crazy threatens to suck in the entire state. Black Ops commandos, Vatican operatives, a billionaire prepper (seriously, don’t mess with the billionaire prepper), a moment of “I wanna bring the flamethrower” that I really believe (Down to “We got it from the Bureau of Land Management”). He gathers the magnificent seven, mounts up, and “We’re gonna save the damsel from the dragon”….

Aaaaannnnnddddd it’s only the halfway mark. Which made me wonder how the bloody blue Hell the rest of the book was going to go.

That was pretty much the point where things got worse, complete with a villain you really just want to run through with a stake, cut its head off and burn the body … maybe in that order. It was such a deliciously evil sucker.

And then he had a couple of blackhawks and Apache attack helicopters fight a dragon.

And, it being Georgia, it ends at a football stadium.

Because of course it does. It’s Georgia.

Honestly, War Demons was solidly authored and put together. 11% into the book, he’s established most of the characters we’re going to see throughout the novel, including the villains. Yes, all of them. What? You thought just a demon was going to be enough? Nah. We’re going to have golems and vampires and zombies and warlocks and Jihadis, oh my. (Or, as I thought of it as I read it, “terrorists and demons? Challenge accepted.”)  Newquist also does a great job of sprinkling the back story throughout the novel.

It’s got a nice sense of humor. Up to and including a spook who picks his aliases out of a liquor cabinet.

But as I said at the start, the tag line for this novel is no boast. The action is MHI at its most gonzo (otherwise known as Harry Dresden on a day that ends in Y). The atomospherics top even F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep (book, not movie).

Here’s the short version: get War Demons. If you like Urban Fantasy, or books with a Soutern atmosphere, or military UF, Larry Correia or Jim Butcher novels, you’re going to enjoy War Demons.

And, while you’re at it, you might want to pick up Hell Spawn and Death Cult from Amazon, which are all in the same vein.

**For those people who are wondering, yes, Russell is my publisher at Silver Empire. Don’t think that influenced my review. Mainly because if I thought it sucked, I wouldn’t mention it here, or ever again. I’m actually worried that since it took so damn long for me to review this one, someone is going to think I didn’t like it. In this case, no, I got a free copy of this book for review on e-ARC, and then my Kindle died.


About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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