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Friday, July 16, 2010

'Hell Fire' Corine Solomon #2 by Ann AGUIRRE

From the BLURB:

As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and know its history. It's too bad she can't seem to forget her own. With her ex-boyfriend Chance in tow-lending his own supernatural brand of luck-Corine journeys back home to Kilmer, Georgia, in order to discover the truth behind her mother's death and the origins of "gift".

But while trying to uncover the secrets in her past, Corine and Chance find that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Inside Kilmer's borders there are signs of a dark curse affecting the town and all its residents-and it can only be satisfied with death...

Ann Aguirre’s second ‘Corine Solomon’ novel goes back to where it all began. ‘Hell Fire’ starts where ‘Blue Diablo’ finished, with Corine and her ex-boyfriend Chance on the road after the zombie fun of Laredo. Chance, as per their agreement, has agreed to help Corine investigate her mother’s death. That means Corine has to go back to the town she escaped at the age of eighteen – Kilmer.

Upon arrival in this backwoods Pleasantville it becomes apparent that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Kilmer has a dark presence – something evil lives in the surrounding woods and it’s snatching locals and pets alike. The townspeople are walking on egg shells and acting a little bit ‘Stepford’. And Corine sniffing around her mother’s death is not endearing her to the villagers. Along with Chance, sexy Laredo cop Jesse Saldana and Chihuahua Butch, Corine is going to get to the bottom of her dark past.

If Kilmer thought they could frighten me off, they had another think coming.
This was for my mom, Cherie Solomon.
We had not yet begun to fight. Sure, they’d crippled us by taking away the tools we generally used to solve problems, but we’d find ways around the obstacles they threw in our path. No matter how many times they knocked me onto a dirty road, I would rise. I’d ferret out their secrets and then handle the objects that would spill them.
In other words, Kilmer, game on.

This novel is spooky. Seriously! It’s a little bit Stephen King-esque, with a dose of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Village’. I was sporting quite a few goosebumps and an adrenaline kick towards the end. Corine is also a little bit frightful in this book – mostly because her handler powers are put to the test. Corine being a ‘handler’ means she can touch an object and know its history. In ‘Hell Fire’ Corine pushes herself and discovers she has some serious mojo, and that she has only just started to tap into it. I can’t wait for more books that explore the extent of her ‘gift’.

The secondary characters are wonderful. Butch is, without a doubt, one of my favourite characters. He is one intuitive Chihuahua, and cute to boot! I also love the mysterious Booke, who works his technical magic all the way in the UK and visits Corine in her dreams. Aguirre offers few tid-bits about Booke, but his working relationship with Corine and hints of a crush make him fascinating. I can’t wait to find out more about him (fingers crossed for a UK location change-up?!)
Things heat up when Chance and Jesse Saldana make their intentions toward Corine clear. Chance wants to rekindle what they lost, and Jesse just wants. It makes things hot and heavy, especially where Chance is concerned. Chance’s ‘gift’ is luck – he can turn the universe to his side, but there are side-effects for anyone who is close to him. Corine is also reluctant to start up with Chance again when he’s so reluctant to open up about his past – especially the death of his old girlfriend who presumably felt the back-lash of his luck.

Corine and Chance are a little bit tragic. They’re hot, for sure, but they have so much baggage and many unresolved issues. When we met Chance and Corine in ‘Blue Diablo’ she had already ended the relationship and fled to Mexico. They already had a lot of history between them, and problems. At times in ‘Hell Fire’ it’s a little bit hard to empathize with all of Corine’s Chance-related relationship problems, because the basis of them is in the past. But I could still read the heat between Corine and Chance, and understand why she is reluctant to sever all ties with him. That’s probably my one and only itty-bitty complaint about ‘Hell Fire’ – the fact that I sometimes had problems understanding the reasons that Corine ended things with Chance the first time round.
There is also serious sparkage with Jesse Saldana – aided by his empathy ability that allows him to read people’s emotions. Oh boy! Surely there will be some interesting future storylines concerning his ability... and how it will impact on any romantic entanglements (should Corine choose him).

I really liked this second novel. It helped that I did a re-read of ‘Blue Diablo’ before I got stuck into ‘Hell Fire’, but even if I didn’t Aguirre subtly references and provides reminders to the events of book #1.
I really like the ‘Corine Solomon’ series, and ‘Hell Fire’ is a great second outing. I can’t wait for more books and a deeper exploration of Corine’s powers.



  1. I need to read this. I read a few early not so great reviews and never picked it up. But I really enjoyed Blue Diablo...

  2. I wondered if I'd need to re-read Blue Diablo first. I've been looking forward to this one.

    Weird personal share: In Blue Diablo, I learned that Mexican's answer the phone "Bueno" instead of "Hola". I wondered if this was really true (as I had no need to call someone in Mexico to find out), until my brother got engaged to a lovely young lady from Mexico. Now I always laugh when I call her and she answers "Bueno". And that always makes me think of Ann Aguirre.

  3. ooooooh I have this one but I havent read it yet!!! Love me some Ann Aguirre =)

    I CANNOT believe you're reading Total Eclipse! OMG!!!! hate you =P


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