Infernal Stock: Dixon Breaks Loose by Ronnie Schiller (2010)
The last book I reviewed was pretty heavy, so now it’s time to have a little fun! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of the strange and the macabre. It’s a rare treat when a story can successfully combine dark elements with humor. Comparable to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ this book mixes demons with a dry morbid wit and makes for a fun story.
Dixon Breaks Loose is the first installment in the self-published Infernal Stock series. The second book has not yet been released. It presents a world in which demons walk among humans, working 9 to 5 office jobs just like we do, only their jobs are to collect souls. This confirms my theory that corporate culture is Hell on Earth! Dixon is one of these demons (known as ‘brokers’) who meets desperate women through online dating sites, reaping their souls in exchange for the promise of romance. Believed to be in a slump at work, he is ordered by his superiors to collect ten souls by the end of the year or face corporate “re-training.” All is going well until a co-worker goes missing, and the events that follow end up changing Dixon’s perception of his job and his role as a demon.
Dixon’s cynical inner monologue is rather enjoyable. His 1,000+ years of “life” as a demon have given him a cutting insight into the quirks of life on Earth:
“I settled in to watch my favorite TV comedy: the local news. I loved the smiling news anchors, and the toneless way in which they deliver the most lurid tales of human tragedy. They are devoid of actual emotion, and so casually counterfeit that you’d think some of them are demons like me–and you’d be right. Don’t ask which ones.”
It’s an interesting concept for a story, easy to read yet still well-written. Its only hang-up is that the ending felt a little rushed, and I wished for a more dramatic confrontation between Dixon and his superiors at the end. I’m not really sure which direction the story will go in the sequel, but I am interested in finding out!
This is a great book to take on vacation; a fun, fast read but with more substance than some trashy “beach book.” It has a good fusion of comedic and sinister elements, and is sure to make people think twice about signing up for dating sites!