[Book Review] Hotter than Helltown

Hotter than Helltown / S. M. Reine

A killer is mutilating bodies in Los Angeles. Agent Cèsar Hawke is on the case, but the murderer is ahead of him – way ahead of him.

Wiping the memories of the dead so that the team’s resident necrocognitive can’t talk to them? Done. Preventing magical reconstruction of crime scenes? Oh yeah. And the murders keep getting worse while Cèsar struggles to catch up.

The best way to heat up a cold case is to go to Helltown, where LA’s most powerful evil hides out, but even those demons are afraid of the murderer. Their fear adds one more question to the growing pile of unknowns:

What kind of bad guy is too hot for Helltown?
Hotter than Helltown is the 3rd book in the Preternatural Affairs series by S. M. Reine.  I read the first book, Witch Hunt, back in January, and apparently need to dig up the middle book.

Cèsar seems like a nice guy, dedicated and stubborn to be sure, but definitely seems like he'd be happier with a laid back life with a family of his own instead of one where he has to hunt down a serial killer who mutilates bodies while the victims still live.  He's a sucker for jelly donuts, imitates a deer in the headlights when women flirt with him, and has let himself believe what other people think of his skills without trying to overcome those perceived limitations.

But happy mediocrity isn't always enough.  The Office of Preternatural Affairs doesn't deal with the mundane.  Cèsar needs to overcome himself to keep his job, his memories, and quite likely, his life.  After all, what's so bad that the demons are scared?

The pacing and narrative in Hotter than Helltown is much tighter than in Witch Hunt.  I tore through this book and really want to read what comes next.  The content has stayed around PG-13 so far, but keeps reads as if building up to something really steamy between Cèsar and a certain lady.  The storyline of Hotter than Helltown is tied up nicely at the end, with good groundwork for the series to continue or to allow the book to stand on its own.  You don't actually need to read the previous novels to step into the story, but I'd say reading them all is worth the time.
Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.


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