Thursday, October 8, 2020

Hell Spawn: Saint Tommy, NYPD, Book 1

 A great good morning to all my friends and neighbors out there in Internet Land! And, to any family members who drop by, I’ve got some GREAT fried chicken left over from last night in the fridge (it was $0.99/pound for leg quarters yesterday).

So, yay! Another long-overdue review! I actually got this book a year ago yesterday. I read it right away, but was just not able to review back then. If the information I have is correct, this is Book One of Seven (so far?) in the series. This is the cover art to the book; the link below it is an Amazon Associates link, which means that if you click and buy, I get money (but you don't pay extra).

Prefatory materiel! I MUST point out something about perceptions of reality before going into the specifics of the plot and characters. Due to some technical problems, at this moment I can’t see how the book is classified for marketing purposes on Amazon, but I suspect it’s listed as fantasy.

This may sound a bit weird to you, but: there is nothing in this book that would place it beyond the realm of every day reality for the orthodox Christian believer. That’s a pretty bold statement, and feel free to dispute it if you like. It’s true, though, that classic, traditional Christianity teaches that angels, resurrection from the dead, demons, and a variety of miracles, are absolutely valid. Those beliefs are discussed at length in theologically-oriented books, which are readily available. Similar themes are found in some popular movies and television shows. 

Where Finn stands apart is that his protagonist, Tommy Nolan, is a good guy, an average blue-collar guy, working as a police detective in New York, who suddenly finds that his work combating conventional crime is “enhanced,” shall we say, by the tools and desire to combat authentic demons from Hell.

And: YES! That can be said to be COMPLETELY CONSISTENT with my belief systems. I’m not the same ‘flavor’ of Christian that Finn is, BUT, as I said earlier, the things he puts forward have traditionally been orthodox teachings of the mainstream Christian churches. If that seems too outrageous for sane people to believe, I recommend you look closer at the history of the Church, PARTICULARLY the foundation documents, including the Biblical accounts.

And now, to the book:  As stated, Tommy Nolan is a good guy who finds himself gifted with super-powers so he can fight evil in physical form. That’s the premise, and I have to say that I found it delightful, perhaps largely because of my Christian perspective. 

A very few days ago, I was given the opportunity to watch "Constantine," a movie which shares some of the same themes of power, demons, Heaven and Hell. However, the additional themes of betrayal, isolation, and unforgivable sin combined to alienate me, and I stopped less than half-way through. 

What I liked about "Hell Spawn: Saint Tommy NYPD" is his constant virtue, in the form of his dedication to his wife and son, and his compassion even for the criminals he has to arrest. Long before he found himself in the role of A SAINT (!), Tommy was investing himself in his community and the people he encountered. This is NOT the story of a worthless, ineffectual dweeb who discovers a magical weapon in the desert, and is transformed into a great American hero. This is a story of a regular guy, who commits himself to BEING a great American hero to his family, friends, prisoners, and anyone else he encounters, just with the tools of his hands and feet, mind, and heart. While the reason he was selected for sainthood and super powers isn’t disclosed in this installment, I believe it was simply a recognition of who he was becoming on his own. 

A couple of closing remarks

1. I don’t read horror. There were elements of this story, in describing the crimes of the Bad Guy, that were horrifying. They may not be tolerable for those who are squeamish, and I would not recommend this to my 15 year old Kenneth. However, those grotesque elements were essential clues to the nature of the killer. So, I hung in there, but I’d kind of like some brain bleach.

2. Although Tommy Nolan is a practicing Catholic, I didn’t see this as a distinctively Catholic novel. True, Tommy DOES use some strictly Catholic elements to battle evil, but it’s not so obscure that it can’t be understood by this non-Catholic. If you have to look up the definition of a word, do it. 

3. A couple of real-life murderers are mentioned as patterns/examples for the method the Bad Guy uses to murder his victims. I suggest you do NOT research their names; the crimes were horrific, and the failure of regulatory/supervisory agencies to intervene is likely to cause you to lose faith in certain systems which should be guarding public health. Again: I’d like some brain bleach.

Under normal circumstances, a phrase I have heard before but don’t believe I comprehend, I would have already finished the Saint Tommy series. Keep checking in on me, and lets see how it goes.

Peace be on your household.

No comments:

Post a Comment