Book Review: Hellwatch: Pilot Episode by Larime Taylor

A young disabled woman in a wheelchair protects an unaware world from demons and monsters.

Ester Vasquez, born with arthrogryposis, hunts the monsters and demons that hide from the unsuspecting masses along with her 6'8, 360lbs Samoan care provider, Sammy. In episode one - 'Pilot' - Ester and Sammy travel just over the Mexican border from their home in Arizona to help a little boy possessed by a demon, but what awaits them when they return home is far worse than anything they've ever faced. It will take all of Ester's brains and Sammy's brawn to repel an attack that threatens not just years of hard work, but their lives as well.

Hellwatch is planned to be an ongoing serial fiction series told in 9 monthly 'episode' novellas per 'season'. This is the pilot episode, and if well received, 8 more will follow each month starting in January 2012.


The opening of Hellwatch had me hooked:

Ester Vasquez was not a big fan of the Man Upstairs. As she saw things, He was a quitter, just like the father that she never knew. She eventually came to the conclusion that the deist belief in a clockmaker God that created the universe and simply walked away was pretty much on the money. He had long ago lost interest in His creation, or maybe He hand never been interested at all. Praying to an invisible man in the sky seemed, as the late George Carlin once said, just as effective as praying to Joe Pesci. She wasn’t an atheist, however – she knew He existed, at some point in time. He just didn’t care anymore. How did she know this?

Ester hunted demons and monsters.

Ester Vasquez has a straight forward character that peppers her conversations with sarcasm and humor. With a warmhearted Samuel as her care provider, she fights more than just her inner demons of doubt, life, and creation, but the real demons rising up from hell.

Jacob used to work for the Catholic Church as a priest, but he left after trying to convince the church that there are cracks in their foundation. He taught Ester how to exercise the possessed using faith, but she abandoned it for a more scientific approach.

Ester and Samuel work as a team using her method of demon removal. In this story they head to Mexico to help a boy that has been possessed, but once the incantation starts they find out that they may be in over the heads. Ester’s strong headedness keeps her from backing out of the ritual. She more than proves that being disabled by arthrogryposis is not going to stop her. Ester takes down the strong demon with little fight as the creature bellows about her darkest secrets.

It was easier than she had first feared… too easy.

Things just don’t sit right with Ester about the incident. The things that demon spoke about, the branch of hierarchy that the creature came from, and the ease of its removable have her worried. She plans on recuperating at home before they set out again, but other forces have different plans for her.

Larime Taylor has written an addictive pilot for Hellwatch. I flew through this episode, and was left with a feeling of wanting more. This is just the start of serial fiction series, which is getting harder and harder to find. I look forward to reading the rest of them. I would suggest this to anyone that likes to read about the battles between good and evil, or for someone that is looking for a strong-willed protagonist that can overcome anything that life throws at them.  

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