The Hellsblood Bride by Chuck Wendig
I honestly have no idea what’s going on with Wendig, as it’s hard to keep track of his myriad of projects. He must have gone through some kind of tussle with his previous publishing companies — and honestly, he’s just leveled up in regards to authoring having just knocked out the most controversial and bestselling book of his career, Aftermath — and so keeping track of his series is bonkers at best.
He’s got a new Atlanta Burns coming out. He’s got a three more in his dynamic Miriam Black series, but that just got bumped back a whole year in order for all three to be released at once. He’s got two more for Star Wars. He’s got a sequel coming for Zer0es, his hacker series. And now he’s got his second Mookie Pearl, though this got delayed for a year and now released.
The Mookie Pearl books are fucked up. Basically, it’s Wendig’s hell and demons novels. There’s a whole subculture of monsters living just below the surface of the Earth and their interactions with us are limited. Mookie, who looks like a shaved silverback, was an enforcer for a mob boss. Ish. It’s complicated. But now things are getting a whole lot crustier. They deal in pigments — these color-coded drugs that have various effects. At the end of the last Mookie Pearl book, Mookie saved his estranged daughter’s life by feeding her the Death’s Head Mushroom. It saved her, but also cursed her to live in the hell beneath New York. While on the surface everyone’s scrambling to fill the vacuum left by the criminal underworld getting beat to fuck.
It’s a weird kind of punk rock Inferno meets Wizard of Oz, as Nora Pearl tries to get herself out of hell, and Mookie tries to keep himself alive as his heart starts basically giving out. It ends on a straight up crazy ass cliffhanger, but the journey there again feels really stretched and kind of focusless. You’re supposed to enjoy the ride, but half the time, the timeline is so herky jerky, it’s jarring and other times, characters are constantly blacking out or falling asleep. It’s a hell of a ride, pun fully intended, but it’s also not my favorite Wendig. Not that it’s bad, but that the others are really good. Particularly, Atlanta Burns and Miriam Black.
Honestly, I stumbled on Wendig doing a library search for Chuck Palahniuk. I gave it a whirl and now he’s one of my favorite authors. And THEN I found out he’s from two towns over from where I grew up. So fuck yeah.