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Hell Is in the Details by Angela Benedetti
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Hell Is in the Details

by Angela Benedetti

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Hell Is In The Details by Angela Benedetti opens with Benioth, a demon who hasn’t managed his minimum quota of snaring one soul per decade. For more than fifty years, he has been coasting on his involvement with Senator McCarthy’s Red Scare. His amusingly half-assed defense of his lack of productivity is that he is the demon assigned to the sin of Laziness. Now his supervisor Lord Belial decides to send him to a big city on Earth with orders to corrupt an innocent before midnight. Benioth falls to his knees for some obligatory groveling while his boss walks out of his cubicle, “leaving blackened, hissing footprints burned into the putty colored carpet.”

Given his tight deadline, Benioth knows he can’t lure a soul to eternal damnation through a short bout of laziness, even if it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Panicked, he heads to the club district to incur some Wrath by giving people lustful glances. He’s shocked to receive several lewd stares in return. Apparently, things have changed since the 1950s. Fortunately, he remembers that sodomy is a sin. Soon he runs across an innocent named Andy. But what happens once Benioth starts falling for him?

This 8K-word story should delight fans of m/m romance who enjoy witty fantasy fiction, specifically stories centered upon demons. It had me chuckling throughout at the observations of the stressed-out demon Benioth. Meanwhile, its subtle literary allusions to Paradise Lost and historical references add an intriguing layer of depth to the satire.

In addition, the fast-paced story with its deadpan tone creates much sly comedy out of depicting the fiery pit of Hell as a massive corporation, staffed by mediocre bureaucrats. Some demons do their jobs with great enthusiasm and others like Benioth eke out their minimum while trying to look busy. All have their supervisors to report to, and His Highness demands an exacting quota of souls to be harvested by each department.

The story’s suspense centers on its ending. A romance story needs a romantic and happy ending. At the same time, Benioth feels extreme pressure to corrupt his young lover’s soul, which would doom poor Andy to the eternal flames of Hell. All this would seem mutually incompatible, but the story makes it work with a clever resolution. Find out how in this comical gem that is my Top Pick for the month.

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  AReCafe | Apr 24, 2013 |
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