The book Hell to Pay, is the seventh in line of the What Does Not Kill You series.
Truth be told, I was initially apprehensive about opting to read Hell to Pay, as I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series. So, wasn’t sure if I would even follow the story line.
And, Oh, Boy! I was so wrong.
For, this book by Pamela Hutchins turned out to be one hell of a rider!
Book Review of Hell to Pay
The blurb blurts out the unearthing suspense inside the pages; while the burning cross on the book cover heightens the suspense surrounding the blurb!
Complementing each other, right?
The blurb of Hell to Pay
“USA Best Book Award-Winning Series, Cross Genre Fiction. The third book in the Emily series, a spin-off from Katie & Annalise.
Big-haired paralegal and former rodeo queen Emily thinks she’s got her life back on track. Her adoption of Betsy seems like a done deal, her parents have reunited, and she’s engaged to her sexy boss Jack.
Then client Phil Escalante’s childhood buddy Dennis drops dead, face-first into a penis cake at the adult novelty store Phil owns with his fiancée Nadine, one of Emily’s best friends. The cops charge Phil with murder right on the heels of his acquittal in a trial for burglarizing the Mighty is His Word church offices.
Emily’s nemesis ADA Melinda Stafford claims her witness overheard Phil fighting with Dennis over a woman, right about the time Phil falls into a diabetic coma, leaving Nadine shaken and terrified.
Meanwhile, Betsy’s ultra-religious foster parents apply to adopt her and Jack starts acting weird and evasive. Emily feels like a calf out of a chute, pulled between the ropes of the header and the heeler, as she fights to help Phil and Nadine without losing Betsy and Jack”.
The narrative style in Hell to Pay
The narrative style across Hell to Pay is in first person, through the character of Emily – the female protagonist.
The book starts with an introduction of a few characters in a wild party scene, while the plot thickens with the death of Dennis, in the very first chapter.
We get to understand that the characters in Hell to Pay are an extension of the characters in the previous books of the series.
However, readers of this book would still be able to understand the roles played by the characters in the previous story as well as in this, as the story progresses.
Indeed, kudos to the writer’s thought process that went into weaving such a story line.
Characterisations in Hell to Pay
In particular of interest is the impressive characterisation by Pamela for Hell to Pay.
Be it the character of Emily, Jack or Wallace : each one’s role is perfectly defined, and helps in the progression of the story. And, in one way or the revolves around helping the protagonists.
While Jack comes across as a multi-talented and multi-tasking male, his character oozes an aura of goodness and calm, compelling readers to fall in love with him!
On the other hand, Emily’s portrayal as fiery, always on the edge, and a no-nonsense female — who doesn’t think twice about cracking the whip even on the not-so-religious ‘Mighty is His Word’ church is rightly balanced with her portrayal of handling the rattle-snakes with ease!
Inspite of all these traits, she fails to keep in check her feelings for Jack! Awww….right?
Some of the descriptions and oft-repeated lines pertaining to dogs and braces, sound out of sync, while undesirably contributing to the story length.
However, apart from churning out a wonderful thriller, the writer should be commended for the evocative descriptions of the Texas countrysides, with minute detailing of scenes and characters.
Although, Emily comes across as a person who doubts her own potential and talents, Pamela makes a hero out of her when the occasion arises.
And, this makes Emily’s characterisation realistic and relatable.
Until the end, the author keeps the reader on the edge, with a persistent cloud of doubt hanging on Phil, Nadine and other characters’ involvement in the murder of Dennis. Goes on to show that every character in the story is used in unraveling the plot.
The Language used in Hell to Pay
The language used by author Pamela in Hell to Pay, is at times hilarious. Especially, in instances with monologues.
While, the cuss-words introduced in her writing are a creation in themselves!
I could so relate with this side of Emily’s portrayal, as I churn such new off-the-cuff cuss-words on the go 😀
Here are a few sample lines from the book, which tickled me:
“She had so much eye shadow on her lids I was surprised she had the strength to hold them open”
“Dimples that put a double exclamation point at the end of her smile”.
Aren’t they hilarious?
So, what are you waiting for? Go and grab an online copy of Hell to Pay, as well other books in the series now!
My take on Hell to Pay
The intertwining of romantic and thrilling moments in this story is commendable.
However, at times while reading, I felt that Pamela could have added a few more romantic scenes to supplement the allure between protagonists.
No doubt that the romantic scenes weaved in the storyline are sweet and subtle. But my only rue is that they end abruptly, compelling the reader to empathise with Emily!
On the flip side, I wonder if is this what Pamela intended the readers to undergo?
Nevertheless, in the book, underneath the various layers of romance, suspense, family sentiments, and drama, is a strong message on today’s boiling issue — religion.
Through her protagonists, Pamela sends a strong message to the religious institutions that misuse common people, by playing upon their beliefs and sentiments.
She also conveys to her readers that God is and will always be on the side of truth – through Emily’s character, especially when she utters the below lines:
“Dear God, please forgive me for wanting this to be the takedown that self-righteous witch deserves. He didn’t answer, but I wasn’t struck by lightning either, so I figured he was taking my side on this one”
Something to ponder on, right?
Parting shots on Hell to Pray
In conclusion, I thoroughly loved reading and unravelling the nested layers of plot in the book Hell to Pay.
And, I highly recommend that you grab a copy, and unearth the underlying suspense : all the while falling in love with the characters- especially Emily and Jack.
I am sure, you would also appreciate the heartwarming father-daughter relationship in the story!
I give this book a rating of 4.5 / 5!