Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review: Hellfire & Damnation II by Connie Corcoran Wilson

Hellfire & Damnation II
by Connie Corcoran Wilson
Publisher: Merry Blacksmith Press, August 1, 2012
168 p

I read this as an ebook supplied by the author for this blog tour.

This collection of 11 short stories in the horror genre is organized around Dante's 9 circles of hell in the Inferno--limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, political corruption, and treachery.

The stories are by turns chilling and blood boiling.  The narrators range from a 132 year old frozen corpse in Limbo's Cold Corpse Carnival to a sexually brutalized 12 year old girl in Lust's The Shell.  From a young journalist investigating a local ghost story to a middle-aged woman arranging her mother's funeral, from a writer attending a book fair with her self absorbed agent to a twenty-something brother arranging the funeral of his younger sister vowing to discover who/what was responsible for her death the characters are all up against some extreme test of their moral fiber.  Some pass.  Some fail miserably.

The two times I read one of these just before sleeping I deeply regretted it.  NOT bedtime stories folks.

The language is spare and at times reportorial with the distinct flavor of a newspaper account.  But they are none the less haunting and none the less satisfying for that.

Come back tomorrow for my interview with Ms Wilson and a giveaway for Hellfire & Damnation II.

From the Publishers:

Hellfire & Damnation II is the sequel to the well-received award-winning short story collection Hellfire & Damnation ( (E-Lit award, Silver Feather award). The first collection contained 15 short stories that described the sins punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell within Dante's Inferno. With that framing device and an Introduction by William F. Nolan (Logan's Run), the 2011 visit to Hell was 47,000 words that critics called "blazingly original."

The sequel, Hellfire & Damnation II, is slightly longer, at 53,000 words, containing 11 short stories that, once again, address the sins punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell. Plus, this time, there is an illustration for each story and a From the Author section, which describes the inspiration for each story. [There are no recurring characters, however, so no need to have read the first book in order to plunge into the second.]

What they are saying:

As 5-time Stoker(R) winner Gary Braunbeck said: "I really don't know how she managed to do it, but Wilson surpasses her previous Hellfire & Damnation collection with this sequel. Her writing is stronger, streamlined, and often lyrical, despite the nastiness her words describe. This is another impressive collection of tales from a writer I could very well learn to hate if she gets much better. Seriously, Connie, can't you write just one stinker so the rest of us will feel a little bit better?"
"Take a twisted ride through hell and back with Connie Corcoran WIlson's Hellfire & Damnation II...frozen corpses, homicidal authors and sociopathic presidential candidates just scratch the surface of this inspired collection. Don't miss it!" -Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of DIABLO: THE ORDER and DAY ONE

"Connie Corcoran Wilson's Hellfire & Damnation is a remarkable collection of somber, noirish, flat-out scary and altogether satisfying stories that seek to find hope in a dark world that defies it. Her subtle irony and penchant for finding terror in the least expected places will generate comparisons to Stephen King and Ray Bradbury with just a hint of Phillip K. Dick thrown in. But don't be fooled: Wilson has a wondrous voice in her own right and her tight, twisty tales establish her as a force to be reckoned with."-Jon Land, New York Times Best-selling author of the Caitlin Strong series.

"Connie Wilson's new anthology sends the reader spiraling down Dante's nine circles of Hell with devilish twists and turns of time and place across eleven superb short stories."-Brian Pinkerton, author of "Rough Cut"

"Whether Connie Corcoran Wilson has been visited by Dante's spirit or eavesdropping by Hell's own confessionals, Hellfire & Damnation II definitely delivers on its title. There is a fine line between good and evil within these pages. A very fine line. Be careful that you don't teeter into the abyss. From a Norwegian army deserter trapped in limbo within the Colorado ice to parents pondering the sale of their organs to fund their college-bound son, these stories abound with life's-and death's-ironies."-Terrie Leigh Relf, author of The Waters of Nyr and co-author, with Henry Lewis Sanders, of Blood Journey and The Ancient One.

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson graduated from the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago. She taught writing at six Iowa/Illinois colleges and has written for five newspapers and seven blogs, including Associated Content (now owned by Yahoo) which named her its 2008 Content Producer of the Year. She is an active, voting member of HWA (Horror Writers Association).

Her stories and interviews with writers like David Morrell, Joe Hill, Kurt Vonnegut, Frederik Pohl and Anne Perry have appeared online and in numerous journals. Her work has won prizes from "Whim's Place Flash Fiction," "Writer's Digest" (Screenplay) and she will have 12 books out by the end of the year. Connie reviewed film and books for the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) for 12 years and wrote humor columns and conducted interviews for the (Moline, Illinois) Daily Dispatch and now blogs for 7 blogs, including television reviews and political reporting for Yahoo.

Connie lives in East Moline, Illinois with husband Craig and cat Lucy, and in Chicago, Illinois, where her son, Scott and daughter-in-law Jessica and their three-year-old twins Elise and Ava reside. Her daughter, Stacey, recently graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, as a Music Business graduate and is currently living and working in Australia.

Connie's Website:
Connie's blog:

Follow the blog tour to see more reviews, guest posts by the author and giveaways:

1 tell me a story:

Teddy Rose 10/17/2012 1:54 PM  

Thanks for taking part in the tour. I am so glad you enjoyed the book!

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