With New Orleans out of control, Chad Oliver Gardenier, one of Monster Hunter International’s premier hunters, has been dispatched from Seattle to reinforce the beleaguered members of MHI’S Hoodoo Squad in their fight against the darkness.
Chad had once taken a werewolf while wearing only jogging gear. With half a dozen or more loup garou appearing every full moon, mysterious shadow demons, houdoun necromancers, fifty-foot bipedal crocodiles showing up every couple of months and more vampires than a Goth concert, New Orleans in the ’80s gives a whole new perspective to the term “Hell on Earth.” In fact, more monsters are popping up than crawfish at a fais do do! Chad may be able to collect enormous bounties for the monsters he kills. But there’s one catch: he has to stay alive to do it.
I liked this book better than the previous book in the series. I felt it read more like a single book than a series of short stories even though the book is very much a series of different monster hunting stories tied together. It was much fun to read this one.
I can just as well get the political incorrectness part over with right away. This book is not going to please social justice warriors, gender fanatics or any other person with strong so called politically correct views, especially if they reside on the more extreme ends of the political scale. John Ringo writes fun to read adventures and does not give a fuck about the use of rude languages or any of the other pet peeves that the easily offended gets so riled up about nowadays. It is guns galore and his characters uses the language and has the behavior you would expect from a Monster Hunter International hunter or a marine or quite a lot of normal people actually. I have no problem with that and it certainly does not take away my pleasure of reading these books. After all, it is total fiction. If you are easily offended go read a politically correct bed time story instead.
Now, for the book itself. It is fun to read. There are of course lots and lots of good monster related action. Lots of guns and other various implements that slice or go boom. The dialogue between the various colorful characters is also very entertaining as usual.
John Ringo has used the setting in New Orleans and Chad’s somewhat involuntary change of scenery due to screwing around with an underage elf (she was 40) wonderfully. Apart from a huge monster infestation people in New Orleans apparently do things a little differently. Actually make that a lot differently. What about the local MHI team being on friendly terms with the MCB one for instance? Actually the MCB guys are far from the dickheads they usually are in the other books in this universe. Also, most of the population in New Orleans believe in monsters and actually cheer along when the MHI guys charge towards whatever slimy creature they intend to shoot, decapitate or blow up next.
There are a lot of colorful people around. Not just in the MHI team but in New Orleans as well. Chad gets a butler (or gentleman as he prefers to be called) which nicely add to the story. The female HMI hunter who want to try and cook and eat (having a fais do do) any monster they kill is also great fun. The book is really quite a good read whether Chad is clobbering monsters or just having a conversation with his friends, butler or the latest girls he hooked up with.
There is a thread, a mystery, going through the book. Why the sudden increase in monster activity? Why does a simple houdoun summoning create an avalanche of monsters the size of elephants? Sadly, although there are hints thrown around about something big coming and Chad being the savior, the book ends without shedding much light on this. Oh well, I guess I have to wait for the next book in the series, which I seriously hope will be coming.
The books ends in a huge monster bash when yet another houdoun summoning goes haywire. It is New Orleans after all so what could be more suitable than a crayfish infestation. Heck, I would find thousands of crayfish running my way with their claws snapping a wee bit scary. They would be a lot scarier if I knew they wanted to suck out my brain for snacks. At the realization that they were about a meter long and with a claw that either snapped off your head or cracked it I would start to run as hell. At this little crayfish party we even get a visit from Franks. Yes it is that bad!
When the smoke disappears and the ectoplasm dries it is a bit of Last Man Standing over the scene. It is actually a rather sad ending. The casualties are enormous to say the least. Looks like Chad will have to do quite a bit of that paperwork that he hated so much.
Regardless of this it was, as I may have mentioned a few times, a quite entertaining book to read. I am now eagerly waiting for the next one in the series.