Collateral Damage by Tim Marquitz

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Rating 9.6/10
Collateral Damage is a big step forward.

Book of the Month

Collateral Damage by Tim Marquitz is the eighth book in the Demon Squad series, and in my opinion is the best to date. After a small dip with books five and six, book seven saw Marquitz get Demon Squad back on track and Collateral Damage sees Marquitz at the top of his game. If you are a long-time fan of this series I should warn you that Marquitz has called this book Collateral Damage for a reason, so you might want to prepare yourself for some tough moments.

Collateral Damage takes place about six months after the events of Best of Enemies, with protagonist Frank Trigg elbow deep in domestic duties caring for his new-born daughter Abigail. Unfortunately domestic bliss does not last forever, especially when you're the son of the Devil, and Frank's new world comes crashing down as he desperately tries to defend his family and friends from a ferocious attack. But actions have consequences, and Frank's actions have attracted the attention of a great enemy who have been waiting for an excuse to take out Frank and his friends at DRAC.

With Best of Enemies having tied up a lot of loose ends, Collateral Damage was free to establish a bunch of new threads as part of a new arc, and the threads established here will likely span a handful of books. The US Government sponsored Department of Supernatural Investigation (DSI) have been present in small ways throughout the last few books, but Collateral Damage sees them take on a much more significant and central role in opposition to Frank and his friends at DRAC. This battle between DSI and DRAC is not going away any time soon, and it is clear that Marquitz has spent a lot of time working on DSI, fleshing out a hierarchy, teams and a number of different characters to turn DSI into a proper organisation. I am interested to see where Marquitz takes this feud because there are many shades of grey in this conflict, and it is hard to argue against DSI and their justification for going after DRAC.

Collateral Damage is an emotion charged book, where anger, rage and a fearsome need to protect outweighs those pesky things like foresight and common sense. You really get the sense that Marquitz is channelling some of these emotions from his own experience as a father, and being a father of a nine month old daughter myself I can certainly attest to the authenticity of the emotions Marquitz has written into this book. Things also get pretty heavy for the team at DRAC, but thankfully this is offset by some typically crude and sometimes very clever humour from Frank. Marquitz seems to have a very good handle on the emotional rhythm of this book, and it definitely felt like I was taking this emotional journey with Frank, not just watching him go through this journey.

Collateral Damage is a big step forward, one that addresses the criticism of recent books while also paving a clear path forward. The story had a tight plot from start to finish, cool enemies for Frank to fight, it made me laugh, it made me emotional, it was still a lot of fun, and it left me wanting more Demon Squad right now.

Note: Collateral Damage comes with two Demon Squad short stories which I also thought were excellent.

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