Hell Chose Me
by Angel Luis Colón
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Pub Date 04 Feb 2019 | Archive Date 11 Feb 2019
Bryan Walsh is a killer for hire.
He is haunted by those who have fallen by his hand.
He will stop at nothing to avenge his brother’s death.
When a lifetime of bad karma finally lands on Bryan’s doorstep and leaves his brother dead, he must survive long enough to find the killers and get his revenge, but as the path only grows bloodier, Bryan may not be able to handle the steps he’ll need to take against his enemies.
As he becomes more unstable and his past crashes into his present, Bryan must decide if vengeance is worth becoming the monster he always denied or if he could find a another path; one that could lead to something like redemption.
“Angel Luis Colón’s knack for writing colorful, compromised hooligans for whom you can’t help but root has garnered him a loyal following, and his debut novel, Hell Chose Me, more than delivers on the promise of his short fiction. Equal parts profound and profane, Hell Chose Me is a damned good read—a vividly imagined pulp nightmare best read through splayed fingers.” —Chris Holm, Anthony Award-winning author of The Killing Kind
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
Hell Chose Me features a manic killer for hire haunted by the spirits of his victims. And he's really haunted cause they could turn up in the passenger's seat or in the shower or just about anywhere else. Think of Bryan Walsh's world as some kind of twisted Sixth Sense where the ghosts are just as real as flesh and blood. But, it's a bit more distracting talking to ghosts when you are a killer for hire who has to be alert and on guard at all times.
The street smart narrative voice makes this short novel sing as it takes you from the deserts of Iraq to the Irish troubles and back to the Bronx. Colon does a great job of really fleshing out this character and his background from crazy pig butchering stories to Gulf War battles to shootouts and betrayals and distrust. You've probably never met a hitman like Walsh, but then again you've probably not met too many hitmen and survived to talk about it.
The plain cover and simple title only hint at what's inside this crime fiction tale. Many thanks to Down & Out Books for providing a copy for review.
A good book. Throughly enjoyed reading this book,
Writing style is great, plot and characters are also strong.
Thank you to both NetGalley and Down and Out Books for my eARC in exchange for my honest unbiased review
“We all suffer, fight, and scratch for our last moments in any existence to be an echo.”*
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Bryan Walsh barely makes a living as hit man. All his cash goes into paying his brother’s mounting medical bills. Each time Bryan slays a mark, he’s haunted by guilt in the form of the person’s ghost, transforming his emotional baggage into an otherworldly entourage. One of his jobs goes sideways and he must revisit all the terrible decisions that led him to his towering list of regrets. If he can’t make peace with his past, he’ll have little chance at a future.
Bryan makes a great character. Sure he’s a murderer, but each of his nefarious acts are the result of him trying to do the right thing based on his own skewed world view. Even his acquisition of roommate Earl, shows Bryan’s many layers. The other characters are similarly well drawn from Bryan’s victims to his family members and his associates. Each person who steps onto the page is complex and achingly human. Bryan’s relationships with them are complicated. He judges everyone harshly, but with no less pessimism than he judges himself.
This is the first book I’ve read by Angel Luis Colón. I can’t wait to get acquainted with his other works.
Thanks to NetGalley and Down & Out Books for the opportunity to experience this novel in advance of its release.
*Please note that my review is based on uncorrected text.
Hell Chose Me, Angel Luis Colón's debut novella, is a thoroughly enjoyable, interesting and unique read. The main character, hitman Bryan Walsh, is fascinating and despite his unsavoury job description you can't help but root for him; he's a killer with a conscience if you will. A lot of attention is paid to developing him layer by layer, and it's exquisitely done. The minor characters such as Bryan's family and his victims are also complex and well drawn. Not only is Walsh multilayered, the plot is too, and you can't help but be intrigued as the different threads come together in surprising ways.
The paranormal aspect of the plot is very original; Bryan continually being haunted by the souls of those he's killed and adds an extra dimension to the story. It's well written and really easy to immerse yourself in amongst the words. The author has a sound understanding of how to create characters that are intricately crafted with many different personality traits but still full of humanity. This is a solid debut, and I look forward to reading more of Colón's work in the future.
Many thanks to Down & Out Books for an ARC.
Ok honestly the title really had me curious. What was so surprising to me though was the depth of emotion, despair, anger, and surprises within this book. I did not expect to find such intensity within this book, but after reading it the title does a little more than just make sense. What happens when your past catches up to you and it ends up not hurting you but someone in your life? This is a story that tells just that. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.
Those who’ve followed Angel Luis Colón’s writing over the years know he’s not afraid to roll up his authorial sleeves and explore some dark territory. His short stories and novellas have earned him both a loyal following as well as numerous major award nominations, including the Derringer and the Anthony, and for good reason. In Hell Chose Me, his first full-length novel, Colón invites readers to buckle up and trust him for another, more extensive ride. And man is it worth it.
Using a framework that is not itself new, Colón nevertheless manages to find fresh angles to explore, all through a lens of unflinching, unsentimental truth. Bryan is not a Hollywood hit man with a heart of gold, nor is he an emotionless, stone-cold killer. He is fully aware of how screwed up his life is in every aspect, which makes him aware of both how horrible a person is, as well as how much he has thrown away by making the wrong choice at so many crucial crossroads in his life. He’s mostly resigned to that, and it’s only as things progress and his hand is forced that he realizes that though he can’t change the past, perhaps he can forge a future better than he’d always assumed he was doomed to inhabit.
Using the sparing, yet elegant, prose he is known for, Colón uses Bryan to examine how feelings of obligation combined with toxic relationships, especially when both spring from familial ties, can warp not just a person’s outlook, but arguably fundamentally warp the person himself. Through Bryan’s journey, Colón asks who’s to blame for the resulting reprehensible person. Or is no one to blame, some things just preordained, an unalterable fate to be accepted and dealt with? The question may be easy, but the answer is anything but.
If you’re new to Colón’s writing, Hell Chose Me is the perfect place to jump in and see what you’ve been missing, while readers who’ve been along for the ride since the beginning will delight in seeing Colón stretch out and run for distance this go round. They’ll also be treated to a nice literary Easter egg in the form of one of Colón’s previous characters popping up unexpectedly, but most welcome.