Hell Bound by Andrew P. Weston was an enjoyable, exciting and somewhat confusing novel. The title states it is “A novel from Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell Universe.” I was not familiar with this series but a little research shows the series began in 1986. It is a collection of novels and anthologies. Not having read any of the previous, I am not sure I missed anything. I will probably try to find some of the previous books. This novel seems complete until itself.
The plot of the novel revolves around the main character, Reaper, as in The Grim Reaper. Weston’s Reaper bares no resembles at all to Pratchett's Death in Discworld. He is evil incarnate and pretty happy about it. He seems to be Satan’s most trusted servant. He is endowed with powers and weapons others are not. When he is weakened, Satan does not hesitate to give him an extra burst of power to complete his task.
The Reaper is chasing down Frederic Chopin, Dr.Thomas Neill Cream, and Nikola Tesla, real people from history but definitely fictionalized in the afterlife. They are working on obtaining forbidden artifacts of power. Reaper has to call on his Hell Hounds, his personal group of enforcers and researchers, to help him. This is where I start to get confused. Some of the Hell Hounds are again people from history, some are not. I are not terribly familiar with any of them. The topography of Hell is confusing, too. Names are changed to give them a different connotation that they have in our world. There are areas of Victorian London next to Ancient areas. That is not as confusing to me as the structure of Hell. I cannot get, at least in the initial reading, the separation of worlds. Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are mentioned but there also seems to be other areas in between. I would benefit from a map or atlas.
That said, the book has some very funny touches. The Reaper is surprised by the knowledge his right hand man exhibit and questions where he picked it up. The answer is, “That’s down to National Gehennagraphicc, every Frightday evening on PBS.” While National Geographic and Friday are renamed to match Hell, PBS is left intact. The book ends with the story wrapped up but larger issues left open. There may be a sequel. I found it enjoyable and will try to find some of the other titles in the series as well as other books by the author, Andrew P. Weston.