Book Review–Echoes of the Past

I’d read Tim Marquitz’s novel, Echoes of the Past, in late spring 2012. It was an advance review copy for trusted reviewers only. I’d posted a review on Goodreads, but not here. It has bugged me for six months now. Tim has become one of my professional allies in this twisted business of books. The early reviews I’d done of the Demon Squad series were written as a fan, but that line has crossed closer to friend. I can still be honest.

Echoes of the Past is the fourth installment of the Demon Squad series. The greatest challenge is writing a review without giving too much back-story of the previous books and ruining the awesome revelations for those who have yet to read all three. So, here is a very elementary synopsis of the first three books so as to give scope to protagonist Frank’s twisted life.

Armageddon Bound was ground-breaking horror/comedy/urban fantasy. It was raw and flawed, and that is what made it all the more endearing to underdog author, Jake Elliot. The idea and world Tim has created is tremendous. Frank ‘Trig’ is a half-demon who lives with the rest of us sad-sacks here on earth, and he’s been quietly living in the city of El Paseo for a very long time.

Unlike the rest of us, Frank is privileged to know that Lucifer and God have abandoned the known universe to try and patch their own misgivings and hopefully avert the promised battle of Armageddon. Well, some demons and some angels aren’t too cool with the change of plans and think Armageddon should still happen. Poor Frank is stuck in the middle and might just be humanity’s greatest hope.

Resurrection was the second book. It is a story about shambling zombies and the necromancer who controls them. Sexy Lilith, mother of all Succubae, becomes a naughty fly in Frank’s ointment. The necromancer seeks to raise an early model for the Antichrist from the dead —that is of course, if Lilith is capable of telling the truth. Should I mention she is also Frank’s ex-mother-in-law?

At the Gates is the third in series. Heaven is besieged by an army of nephilim (mutant half-angels rejected by the Angelic Host) and a large group of werewolves led by Grawl the werebear. Inside the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life is wounded by the violence that has disrupted the tranquility of Heaven, and reacts by causing death storms raining acid on the earth. The end of At the Gates captured deeper emotion than I thought Tim Marquitz being capable of delivering. This book really amazed me.

Whew….we made it. Now for Echoes of the Past.

Over the course of the last couple books, Frank has captured the interest of a foxy demonic girlfriend. High-five Frank! Her dad is the strongest potential Antichrist, for whom Lucifer deceived two-thousand years earlier. Frank, I’d suggest keeping your hands away from where your girlfriend’s swimming suit covers. Daddy might develop a bit of a grudge from somewhere in his demon-spawned soul.

Speaking of classic devilish deceptions, Frank also learns that Uncle Lou has pulled a fast one over him as well. It looks like Lucifer was getting a little back-door lovin’ from Frank’s mom, which turns out to be a direct reason why Frank’s mom died violently so many years ago.

Not knowing about Frank’s new found secret, Lucifer has sent message to Frank, the only half-demon Satan believes he can trust. The message is about extra-dimensional terrorists who are coming to lay waste to all of God’s creations. With God and Lucifer’s relationship mended, together they fight a new war, this time for the sake of all existence. Back on Earth stands a resentful Frank, now expected to save creation on the words of the world’s greatest liar.

There are many great things in this book.

The #1 great thing––the main villain can use the words of famous authors to manifest objects into real life; my particular favorite was the scene with Moby Dick. I still chuckle with the memory. ––Girls, get your minds out of the gutter, I’m talking literature, not fantasy––Sheesh.

Great thing #2––the new involvement of the US Government was also worth a deep laugh. Truly, they are as incompetent as most cities’ DMVs, but Uncle Sam is now fighting supernatural crime. Thank you, Team America. Frank screws up big time and becomes the enemy of the state. Government spooks wait at random places in El Paseo with sniper rifles, Frank is their target.

#3––Frank is truly alone to fix this extra-dimensional problem. Almost all his buddies, (save Katon and Rahim) have turned their backs on Frank. Even Falcor and Baalth have shunned him. (These are both demons, who in past books have indirectly given Frank a hand.)

This episode was the most imaginative and tightest writing I’ve seen in the series. However, I thought the punch-line was a little too predictable. Don’t take my word on it though, I am a writer and it is hard to trick writers with writing. The big punch-line, the title reason for Echoes of the Past was something I’d suspected since Resurrection. In defense of the story, I read very slowly and I’m a perceptive reader. The true mastery of Tim Marquitz is shown in his delicate plotting.

I eagerly await the next installment of his series. My greatest hope is that he takes his time and does it right––bring it like a baseball bat against the world’s head, just like he’s done with each book so far.