Beyond The Veil by Tim Marquitz

Rating 9.5/10
Demon Squad is up there amongst the best urban fantasy available.

Frank's woman kidnapped, a frantic chase across worlds, an inter-dimensional uprising, and all with the surly father-in-law to be in tow. What could be worse? How about being drafted by the Almighty? Trapped on a strange and hostile planet, forced to deal with an alien insurrection, Frank and Longinus scramble to save Karra from the clutches of a rebel overlord bent on revenge. All in a day's work for the Devil inherent.

Beyond The Veil by Tim Marquitz is the fifth book in his Demon Squad series, and is equal with the third book - At The Gates - as my favourite of the Demon Squad books to date. This is the fifth book, so your experience will be enriched by reading the previous four, but if you haven't read a Demon Squad book before I think you can still pick up Beyond The Veil and have an awesome time with it.

Beyond The Veil (which I will call DS5 from now on) picks up after the events of Echoes Of The Past (DS4). The menacing alien Mihheer is behind bars at DRAC HQ, and Karra has been kidnapped, taken away to another plane of existence. After a particularly brutal "interrogation" of the alien Mihheer by Frank and his father-in-law Longinus, the location of Karra is revealed - the very same plane of existence that God and Lucifer are currently trying to subdue. So Frank and Longinus set off on a quest to save Karra and avoid God and Lucifer, while trying to kick as many aliens asses as they can along the way.

This is a fast, action-oriented book. After DS4 saw Marquitz slow the pace down a little so that he could dispense some big revelations, DS5 sees Marquitz ramping things up again with bullets and limbs flying all over the place. This new alien universe that Marquitz has built is grey, murky, and more of a dump than any other setting Marquitz has created, and you can tell that much fun was had having Frank and Longinus tearing this world to shreds. It's great to see Marquitz expand the boundaries of his world, and I can see it leading to much bigger possibilities for future books in the series.

In terms of characterization, Frank has grown quite a lot since those sex obsessed days in Armageddon Bound. That's not to say he isn't still a rude, crude, sex obsessed demon, but there is a lot more to him now than just base / primal urges. While DS4 saw Frank as a broken man / demon, DS5 sees the rise of a very angry and serious Frank. He is still cracking jokes and one liners left right and centre, but where they used to be light hearted jabs at his enemies, now they are more personal and hurtful attacks. There is obviously something dark growing inside of Frank, and by the end of the book, you will definitely be concerned about his state of mind. With the rest of the cast, we get to see Longinus play the role of father on the porch with a shotgun - there is just no way you want to be anywhere near him. I also enjoyed Marquitz doing his own interpretation on some well known biblical figures, and the way in which Frank hits them with a variety of blasphemous jokes. I did enjoy the new cast of aliens too, but I wish there had have been more Katon, Rahim and Scarlett in this book.

With Beyond The Veil, Marquitz is keeping the Demon Squad series up there amongst The Dresden Files, The Iron Druid Chronicles, and Sandman Slim as some of the best urban fantasy available. While the series has taken a turn away from light hearted and more towards the dark, it has not impacted on the entertainment value these books provide. Magic + Bullets + Explosions = Fun. If you like those series I mentioned above, then I think you will also like the Demon Squad series, especially Beyond The Veil.

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