Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is Jägermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.
When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.
But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.
Not gonna lie, this one kind of slowed down for me about 60% of the way through with the narration from the Hell side. I don’t know if it’s because the characters were a bit hard to like (being torturing Hell demons and all) or if I got tired of the constant oddities of Hell being described, but the main Hell character’s journey ended up being not that motivating to me. Wow, that was a long sentence. I started to be more interested in the characters up topside in New Hampshire, which is kind of odd because objectively that’s probably a bit more of the normal, boring story.
What drove me to like it was the undercurrent of tension throughout each character’s experiences. Maybe it’s because I had the dual narrative coming from Hell, which gave a fairly safe assumption that SOMETHING bad was coming their way, but there was a constant sense of pending doom for them all. I wanted to see on whom it fell, and from whom it was invited. Admittedly, there were a lot of things hinted at that didn’t play as large a role as I had thought. Nevertheless, the story topside moved along nicely.
The Hell story flip-flopped so often that I had no idea who to trust or if there was an unreliable narrator (I mean, again, DEMON FROM HELL!) or if he was actually the most trustworthy of all. Sometimes he knows everything, and sometimes he’s completely clueless. Or just really good at faking being clueless. Go into this expecting to be suspicious constantly. 😁
Multiple narrators crop up through this, primarily rotating between Peyote (our Hell demon MC) and the various family members. The family members tend to have shortish chapters, though sometimes it’ll be a few of them in a row before switching back down to Hell. It wasn’t too much of an issue for me, though since I was more interested in the non-Hell stuff, it was a little tedious to get dragged back down sometimes. That air on Earth, after all. You really can’t beat it. Still, the details in the Hell-side story enhanced that of Earth’s, so they played well together.
The ending… okay. Not my favorite resolution to it all, but it made sense. That’s where I’ll leave it. So overall, yeah it was a fairly unique read and did a good job in building those aspects, but the story itself wasn’t my favorite.