I was very excited to read this book, simply because it has been described as a detective noire with demon bikers. As a fan of the likes of Supernatural as well as a good gritty whodunit, it sounded right up my street.
Conquest is book one in the Angels of Chicago series and the debut novel of Nottingham author C. J. Somersby, brought out by my own publisher Dagda Publishing in July this year. Book 1 kicks off the story of Samuel Black, small-time private detective who is having an increasingly hard time dealing with the fact that he is, well…psychic! He just wants a normal life. However, when an angel steps into his life and announces that those powers are now being recruited to the final showdown, yes, the apocalypse, normal becomes a distant memory.
In terms of pace, action and humour it did not disappoint. Samuel’s character is great. His voice is fun, human, humorous and you can really identify with the poor bugger and the position he’s found himself in. The plot moves along at a decent pace and with a good bucketful of bad-ass biker demons going up against another bucket-load of arsey angels, with a handful of humans caught up with Samuel right in the middle, it is very much an enjoyable read for anyone who likes fun and action with a layer of supernatural goings-on to spice things up. Samuel’s narration and the urban American setting neatly sidestep a lot of cliché associated with angels-and-demons stories which means fans of the genre will find it fresh.
There are elements of a whodunit too in that Samuel spends the whole story essentially trying to figure out what is really going and what his place in everything is, whilst everyone around him lies to him. All good stuff.
The only downside was that I felt the language let it down in places. I felt some things were over-explained or some points belaboured. However, I do have to say, this is a very personal preference of mine. I like bald language, stripped right back, the whole less-is-more thing. However, as I say, this is personal to me and often does not bother, or even get noticed, by other readers. So I strongly urge you to try it for yourself and see what you think.
Whatever personal bumps I found in the technical execution, nothing detracts from the fact that this is a fun and action-filled story. It really feels like the start of something that could do really, really well.