First Circle Club (First Circle Club – 1) by Alex Siegel
When Virgil is betrayed and murdered, he thinks his days of catching fugitives as a U.S. Marshal are over. He is condemned to an eternity of filing paperwork in the First Circle of Hell. Then a demon lord gives Virgil an unprecedented assignment. He will return to Earth as part of a team: two souls from Heaven and two from Hell. They must stop another damned soul who escaped and is now murdering teenagers on Earth. The serial killer has supernatural skills and is part of a larger conspiracy which is well prepared for a fight. If he is not careful, Virgil could be murdered a second time.
Alex Siegel has written three series, full of hellish scenarios and diabolical plot twists. The First Circle Club is the first book in his latest series. He is a computer programmer by day and a passionate, even obsessive, writer by night. He lives in Chicago with his wife and triplet teenage boys. A gray cat and two guinea pigs complete the menagerie.
Virgil was a U.S. Marshal that died in 1985. He wasn’t an overly bad person but enough to get sent to the first ring of Hell pushing paper. But then a serial killer manages to escape Hell and continues his killing spree. The Angels and Demons decide to put together a team of humans to hunt down the killer. Lisa was a rogue cop that was killed in 1995 and counted coins in Hell. From the first ring of Heaven we have Sara, a forensic specialist that passed in 1993 and Alfred, a forensic psychologist that died in 1965. All four are given powers to help them along the way. Lisa has the power to hurt while Sara can heal. Virgil can shame while Alfred can create trust.
The killer, Daniel has started killing kids again. They are at the proper age before they start sinning. His killing is sending them to Heaven before they get a chance to be corrupted and go to Hell. But there is more to this than just a serial killer escaping. Daniel had help getting out of Hell. And what are Heaven and Hell really when Heaven is more boring than anything and Hell gives you no chance at redemption.
I really liked this story. None of the characters were overly good or evil, just enough to send them to either Heaven or Hell. The one thing that got me was Virgil and Lisa did what needed to be done and didn’t think twice but it makes them look like the bad guy when in thier positions that is not always the case. But I was surprised at Sara and Alfred being so bored in Heaven that they jumped at the chance to be part of this team. I liked the Daniel, he was evil thinking he was doing good. But it makes you think about why are humans even on Earth if we just die young and not have any sin on our souls.
This is a great story and one that I recommend checking out. I’m really excited to see what happens in the next book of this series.
I received First Circle Club for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
The angel touched down lightly on the sand. A supremely beautiful face made Sara want to cry with joy.
“I am Barachiel, chief of the guardian angels. You are Sara Bass?”
Sara nodded. “What can I do for you?”
“The Lords of Hell screwed up and allowed an evil soul to escape to Earth. Now we have to clean up their mess.”
“Oh. Sounds awful. What do you want me to do?”
“Go back to Earth as part of a search team,” Barachiel said. “The soul belongs to a serial killer, and he has started to kill again. It’s a uniquely important assignment.”
“I guess you know my background. I was a medical examiner for many years.”
“We picked you because of your background.”
“We?” Sara said.
“The Council of Light.”
The enormous magnitude of the situation was dawning on Sara. Of all the many millions of souls in Heaven, the Council had chosen her to return to Earth.
“Does this kind of thing happen often?”
“It has never happened before,” Barachiel said. “This search team concept is completely new. It might be a disaster, but we don’t have any other options. Regular angels aren’t suited for something like this. Hell is sending its own representatives. Try to be polite even if they smell bad.”
Sara wrinkled her nose.
“And of course, you can come back to Heaven any time you want,” Barachiel added. “If the job proves too much for you, we can find a replacement.”
“I’m sure that won’t be necessary.” Sara was looking forward to doing something useful again. “But how did this happen? I didn’t think it was possible to escape from Hell.”
Barachiel shrugged its beautiful shoulders. “I’m sure incompetence was the cause. Demons are so consumed by sinful thoughts they can’t think clearly. Regardless, it’s a big mess now. With all the bickering and accusations, you would think the Apocalypse had arrived.”
Sara doubted the explanation was so simple.