Urban Fantasy

Donnybrook Good-Bye

By

This book will launch on Nov 14, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Loved it! 😍

Dramatic, action-packed and expertly written. A genuinely exciting read!

Synopsis

A demonic crusade.
A homesick god.
A merciless order.
A lonely gruffin.
And a crafty puca.

Trapped in the middle, Inara Caan is an embittered vestal to The Order of the Avenging Hand. She flies to Boston for her next mission. Like every other assignment, she expects more deaths to defile her soul…Not some happy family beaming up from the glossy photo of her targets.

To save the innocents, Inara defies The Order. On the run, she fights to keep everyone alive. As enemies close in from all sides, she finds unlikely allies who—dare she hope?—might even save her life as well.

Inara may escape her old life but not the demon promised her soul.

So much happens in this book and at times, the narrative can be incredibly fast-paced which is why I initially found the book quite hard to keep up! This is definitely not an easy read nor for the casual page-flickers. It is, however, such an exciting read overall as the writer really does have a way with words and every sentence pulled me in wanting to learn more about the situation of each individual character. There really is nothing simple or straight-forward about the author's writing style, in my opinion. The vivid imagery, varying landscapes and scenarios and the meticulous way in which Martin Cullen spares no detail in creating his dramatically captivating and action-packed universe on paper. The reader will certainly feel as though they are journeying through the plot alongside the protagonist and each individual character.


You are first transported into Eastern Europe AD 810, questions running through your mind as to why the first character of the prologue has awoken unaware of his situation and only half remembering his violent surroundings. The reader is then fast-forwarded into the present day Boston, Massachussets. In fact, the reader can expect to be thrown into wholly different scenarios in each chapter which is one of the many reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.


There are a great variety of environments so the reader is never stuck reading for pages and pages on end in the same place with the exact same people. To me at least, it almost feels as though each chapter could be an individual short story. I found Chapter 4 (Portrait of a Monster) especially thrilling to read as each descriptive sentence is vibrant, authentic and realistic. I would love to read more from this author as the entire book is bursting with creativity.

Reviewed by

In my final year of study as a Classical Studies undergraduate, I am a publishing hopeful with books on my mind. I spend most of my time studying the world of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, which I talk about on my Classics blog Itzanif. My second blog, FictionFrappucino is for my love of fiction.

Synopsis

A demonic crusade.
A homesick god.
A merciless order.
A lonely gruffin.
And a crafty puca.

Trapped in the middle, Inara Caan is an embittered vestal to The Order of the Avenging Hand. She flies to Boston for her next mission. Like every other assignment, she expects more deaths to defile her soul…Not some happy family beaming up from the glossy photo of her targets.

To save the innocents, Inara defies The Order. On the run, she fights to keep everyone alive. As enemies close in from all sides, she finds unlikely allies who—dare she hope?—might even save her life as well.

Inara may escape her old life but not the demon promised her soul.

Confession, Inara

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…” Words tumbled from Inara’s mouth but she didn’t hear them. Instead, her mind played a highlight reel of her sins as she confessed: … a stab to her heart as she watched herself splatter a young woman’s brains across a white tile floor. Turning away, she strode across a dark green shag carpet littered with dead bodies. Her soul ached for the man-child with dead eyes. The tall, gorgeous dark-skinned man with the giant sword grimaced when Biff tore out his soul to save Inara. Her power held her target against the wall, and the man pissed himself in terror. Flames danced through her fingers as she burned the hulking werehyena alive.

I can still smell the burnt hair.

Adrenaline shot through her veins when the weight of the deaths hit her. She squeezed her eyes shut, searching for control. Not again! Her hands shook. The small confessional spun. Breathe. An exercise meant to center. Breathe. The spinning slowed. Her heart rate returned to normal.

The priest said nothing.

Sweat streamed down her back. The wooden confessional box was stuffy, but more than that confessions were always a nerve-racking affair. Will this be my last confession? Will the Order decide I am no longer useful? The fear weighed on her like an anchor when she walked through the door of a church to recite her sins.

The silence stretched, interrupted only by the creaking of the priest’s wood bench when he shifted his weight. He fell into what sounded almost like laughter. Probably a sudden coughing fit, it was quickly cut off. She shrugged off the strange behavior. A slot opened in the wooden partition of the confessional, and a manila envelope dropped through, a new target, a new mission.

“What, no penance?” She already knew the answer.

Fuck ’im! He needs to tell me that I get no penance.

The priest exhaled loudly in annoyance. “Vestal Caan, you are one of the few beacons against the darkness. You chose to sacrifice your soul so others might bathe in the glow of the Almighty in Heaven. There will never be penance to absolve you from your sins. Not now, not ever.” The old confessional shook when he stood to take his leave of her.

The truth struck Inara hard. I didn’t choose this life. Such bullshit. A couple of minutes passed as she mentally collected herself. She scrapped lint off her sleeve before she stood. Her footsteps echoed through the empty church. The air was stale. The wind gusted outside the building.

Inara loved this church, Our Lady of Victories. The moniker inspired confidence in the woman who kicked wholesale butt for a living. The beauty took away some of the bite of her existence. A massive pipe organ gleamed in the balcony. Cherubs and saints adorned the yellow and green walls. This was one of her favorite churches in the world.

Her smile faltered. Sadly, the Order planned to buy the church and renovate the building for their own purposes. They are going to ruin it. I know they will.

A stained-glass window portraying the Virgin Mary stopped Inara in her tracks. The depiction gave off a spectacular resonance, holy or magical, she wasn’t sure. She took a moment to bask in the glow. Her reverie broke when the gusting wind rattled the side doors of the sanctuary, a violent shake that vibrated her bones.

Can’t hang around here all night. Work to be done.

Inara tucked the unopened manila folder under her arm and pushed through the church’s big green double doors. The wind struck her fiercely in the face causing her auburn hair to blow wildly. She squinted her hazel eyes but paid the gale no further attention. The car sat right where she left it on Isabella street: a double-parked volcanic-orange Mini Cooper rental.

Not her first choice but her usual Escalade had been unavailable.

The car dipped when Inara dropped into the driver’s seat. The passenger seat was occupied by Bifrans. Well, he occupied the body of that tall, gorgeous dark-skinned man from Ghana that slept in the passenger seat. The man wore a cheap black suit that she’d bought at the airport. Biff always preferred a suit over jeans or khakis.

Inara turned the key in the ignition and laid on the horn to wake up her snoozing demon partner. Pushing all her feelings away, she grinned. Annoying him was among her favorite pastimes. He batted open one deep-blue eye and gave her the finger before rolling his face toward the passenger door.

She dismissed the cloaking spell from around the car with a wave of her hand. Then she extended her arm in front of her. A purple ball of light appeared at the tips of her fingers. She gave the bit of magic a nudge, causing the sphere to accelerate ahead of her.

As the magical ball bobbed forward, cars turned off the street, the drivers suddenly needed to be elsewhere. Their reactions to the spell meant travel sucked for everyone else, but her work always proved more valuable than anyone else’s.

Satisfied with the spell she smashed her foot down on the gas pedal. The engine protested while the wheels spun, sending up smoke. They gained traction, and the car leapt forward. She turned to see Biff’s reaction. To her disappointment, he snored unperturbed.

Inara followed the path cleared by her sorcery. She was headed to Chinatown or, more precisely, the Jacob Wirth Restaurant. A chuckle escaped her. Something about eating German food in Chinatown amused her. A full belly would help her plan for the evening ahead. Good preparation equaled good results.

Most of the time. On occasion everything went to shit anyway.

She lightly jabbed the demon’s ribs. “What’d ya say, Biff, you up for some German

food?”

He continued to snore. Probably pretending just to annoy me.

Inara turned into Allen’s Alley and parked on the side of the road, across from the shopping center that housed the restaurant. The time on the dashboard clock read 6:01 p.m. A line stretched out the door, but she wasn’t worried.

Leaning across the car with mischievous intent, she shouted, “Biff Tannen, this is your wake-up call! Break dancing at the gates of hell! Archangels falling from the sky! It’s apocalypse now!”

His eyes cracked open before he deigned to face her. “If you’re trying to scare me, you’re doing a piss poor job, Vestal Caan. It takes more than screaming in this man’s ear to induce a fright. I am Bifrans—”

“Blah, blah. Shut up, Biff. You sound ridiculous. And I told you Bifrans the Magnificent sounds like some cheesy magician. You really should consider a new title for yourself.” She flashed him a grin full of vitriol.

“That’s not what I intended to say.” He scowled at her.

Inara winked in response. “Stop pouting. It’s time for dinner. We have a new target to hunt down and exterminate.”

“I don’t like being interrupted. And cease calling me Biff. It takes all the power out of my name if you trivialize it like that. I loathe being trivialized. Loooooathe it.” His scowl deepened. “Antagonizing me will work against you in the end. On the other hand, throwing me an extra soul from someone in this fine establishment might make things a little easier on you when I take your soul home. I sense a blonde server that led a good and wholesome life. Her soul would do fine. The scent of her purity makes me salivate.” His eyes gleamed as he licked his lips.

“Not happening, Biffo. I’m sure there will be plenty of bad souls for you to play around with on our new job. You can’t take any souls until I say so, which I don’t. Peaches, peaches, and more peaches.”

The ridiculousness of having to say peaches made her shake her head, but the word was the agreed upon command that kept Biff from going off the rails and taking souls whenever the urge overcame him. Peaches was the only word he’d agree to for some reason.

What a weirdo.

An odd toothy grin spread across the face of Biff’s meat suit while the body shook with his robust gluttony. “That might be the case, Vestal Caan, but I yearn for good wholesome souls. They possess a savory aftertaste that sinners lack. I hope for the day when you might loosen my chains a bit. Everyone deserves a free pass from time to time.” The man across from her attempted a charming smile, but the eyes opened too wide and the mouth was rictus stiff, making him appear crazed.

Inara shuddered. Biff creeped her out when he discussed the flavor profile of various souls. His dry tone made his words extra unnerving. Any hope of a witty retort died with that speech. Steadfastly ignoring her unsettling memories of him feeding, she got out of the car, cast her Park Anywhere spells on the mini, and headed to the restaurant. Biff followed with a self-satisfied smirk. One day she hoped to slap that smugness right out of him.

About the author

Martin Cullen has been a musician, bouncer, infantrymen, and worked in museums. He walked the storage rooms of the American History Museum, worked backstage for a magician, drank more than he should, and sang more than most folks would have liked. view profile

Published on November 14, 2020

80000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Urban Fantasy

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