Review: Heaven in a Hearse by Carole Hercun

This is a roller coaster of a novel with enough plot, location and character for more than one book – in fact, I had a strong sense of a couple of film scripts fighting to get out. If you like your fiction fast-moving, you will like this book.
Amanda Littlefield is the beautiful fourth wife of the fantastically rich Walter Jester. She has grown to love Walter and when she discovers that he has gained his wealth and status by selling his soul to the devil, she hires Rhodes Recovery to assist her in escaping the contract and rescuing her husband. Carole Hercun plays confidently with the conventions and devices of satanic and angelic hordes, but rather than exploring the scenarios she creates, she moves the story onwards by constantly hurling new settings and sub-plots at the reader. We have the sinister Deep South with its voodoo and magic, we have hard-boiled detective moments reminiscent of Raymond Chandler, and we have Satan in Armani, Canadian Mounties in Behavioural Science and retired Scotland Yard detectives. At her best Hercun is very witty – “I made Kiley’s acquaintance in the office at Rhodes Recovery. He was at the end of a gun.” – and sometimes she is downright hilarious, as when Serafina catapults herself between Amanda and her demonic step-son, and temporarily defeats him by squashing his foot with her walking frame. But she just can’t resist the temptation to throw in Vietnam flashbacks, travel guides, psychopathic serial killers, and such a profusion of themes and tropes that the reader is left breathless for many of the wrong reasons.
In some ways, Carole has simply answered the 21st Century requirement for action and plenty of it, and if that is what you want, this is the book for you. Ultimately, I was frustrated by her reluctance to explore the themes and characters she proposed. I wanted more depth, more description, more engagement with the thoughts and feelings of the main characters – if only because the lack of it meant I ceased caring what happened next long before she had finished telling me.

Title Heaven in a Hearse
Author Carole Hercun
Publisher Lyrical Press
Series Rhodes Recovery Series


I awakened at midnight with a suspicion I was not alone.Uninvited guests:
Christian, my young lover, his human mother, and his father, LC Hellman, a middlemanagement
minion in Satan’s crew surrounded my bed.Something that smelled, and hissed,
whose hoofs I heard hitting the floor inhabited the shadows.
LC made the introductions. “Meet Satan, our Master, straight from the palace Pandemonium.
“I must decline. I’m not dressed appropriately to receive royalty.”
“Naked works well in Hell.You gave up all rights to your soul when you consorted with my
son, Christien, and you consorted,” LC smirked, “Copiously.”
“Let me speak,” said Satan, stepping into the moonlight.Even in an Armani jacket, he was
ugly as sin, an abomination, with his behemoth body, scaled skin, horns sharp enough to gore, and
a tail that twitched in time. Smoke spewed from every orifice. “LC says you desire to meet me.”
“LC lied.Previous engagement. Got to run.” I was out the door, hell bent for leather, because
there is no greater motivator than murder. I ran until I was sure I was safe.
“Looking for me?” bellowed Beelzebub, out of the blue, blocking my way.

Available from

Denise Alicea
the authorDenise Alicea
This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.