Review: For the Love of Death, By Kal Spriggs
Is Colorado's latest serial killer an escapee from Hell?
We’ve already reviewed the first two of Kal Spriggs’ Angel of Death series, In Death’s Shadow and A Quiet Death. We’ve seen our hero, Ari Kiehl get sucked into a war with over a dozen of Hell’s escapees, including an army of werewolves and a one-demon zombie apocalypse. Along with his guardian angel, the grim reaper Ari calls Sam, Ari and his allies have come away unscathed.
But now, Ari has to protect a musician from a serial killer that stalks its prey, and plans to kill everyone around her, before killing the musician herself.
The FBI has been tracking a serial killer for over two years. His MO is the same: kill seven men around a female musician, then kill her. When the FBI bring this to Ari Kiehl’s Colorado, he thinks that something is afoot. Could this be related to one of the escapees from Hell that he has to destroy? And does the latest target, Jenny Silver, have secrets of her own to hide? And while he’s at it, does this have anything to do with the mysterious artefact the Vatican wants Ari to get his hands on?
The first novel in this series was a taught, tense thriller. The sequel was more of a paranoid thriller.
For the Love of Death is interesting because it’s more like a mystery than the others. First, Ari had to profile a serial killer to find out if one of the demons on the loose could be responsible—and if so, which escapee. Then it’s a matter of whittling down the suspect list. THEN there are shootouts.
This is one where Kal Spriggs got cute. We have a dancing singing violinist with backup dancers named Silver (as opposed to Stirling), a band called Shadow Torment with a lead singer named Renegade (see: Cruxshadows and their leader Rogue). These side characters are very well developed and entertaining. Heck, I even wanted to see more of them.
Once more, Ari is the narrator. He’s more stolid than Harry Dresden or Paxton Locke. He doesn’t crack wise all that often. He’s basically very tired of putting up with an awful lot of BS. He’s at the point where he’s wary of everything to do the supernatural, and sometimes even his friends and allies. Ari has a bit of the Down the Rabbit hole syndrome to world building — he doesn’t really know what he’s doing, he’s trying to figure out what’s going on, and he solves problems in part by attacking it from the different angle of a newcomer.
The world building in Kal’s books is really top rate. Each book dives deeper into the lore and fine tunes everything.
There aren’t any politics here. Despite Ari being a cop, I wouldn’t call it a pro-police novel, but a pro-Ari novel.
If you want a message: Carry guns, because you never know when you may have to shoot a demon in the face.
Who is it for?
We’ve got dashes of Jim Butcher with pinches of police procedural. If you like either, give this a shot.
Why Buy it?
It’s solid fun. It’s good entertainment with thoughtful metaphysics and world building.
Thanks for reading Upstream Reviews! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.