Erin O'Riordan's Reviews > Hell's Belles

Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler
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Jun 16, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2009

There are many reasons to love Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler (Zebra Books, 2007). One is its heroine, Jezebel, who is literally a cloven-footed demon spawned in the depths of Hell. When Hell undergoes a change in management, succubus Jezebel is forced to give up her career of seducing the souls from mortal men and become a nightmare. Jezebel doesn't adapt well to the change, fleeing the Lake of Fire to become a mortal. And, since mortals have to pay the rent, she becomes a stripper.

Lacking a soul, Jezebel certainly isn't planning on falling in love. Still, when she meets Paul Hamilton, she's more fascinated by him than an ex-demon should be. Paul is beautiful, to be sure, but with his "poet's eyes" and boxer's broken nose, he's also a sweet and sensitive soul.

Other characters in this book are also well-written and interesting. There's Daun, the incubus. He gets his own book, Hotter Than Hell, two more volumes into Kessler's Hell on Earth series. Then there's Lucifer himself, who's given perhaps the most sympathetic and romantic portrayal since Milton's Paradise Lost. I was delightfully surprised by Kessler's reinterpretation of Lucifer.

Another wonderful surprise awaiting readers of Hell's Belles is the music. Kessler animates Jezebel's strip club with with classic Melissa Etheridge, new INXS ("Pretty Vegas," with JD Fortune as lead singer), The Bloodhound Gang and, best of all, a U2 medley with "Desire" and "Mysterious Ways." I wanted to stick a five dollar bill into the paperback to tip the dj.

A fellow reviewer of Hell's Belles found the ending "a bit pat," but I disagree. The ending made me cry, with its poignant blend of sadness and hope. I highly recommend Hell's Belles to all lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance.
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