Hell Spawn (Saint Tommy, NYPD #1) ★★★★☆

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Title: Hell Spawn
Series: Saint Tommy, NYPD #1
Author: Declan Finn
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 206
Words: 59K


Tommy Nolan is a detective in New York City. With his wife and young son, Tommy lives within walking distance of his precinct offices. One day Tommy begins to experience some strange things, things he can’t really explain. But that all is washed away when a little girl is murdered right in Tommy’s neighborhood and the killer leaves a personal message for Tommy written in the girl’s blood. Then one of Tommy’s neighbors is murdered in the same fashion. The problem is, Tommy had talked to her on the phone, long after it was possible for her to be alive.

Turn’s out there’s a demon loose in New York City and it has teamed up with a psycho killer who is a discredited medical doctor. Discredited because he experimented on live victims without their consent. Tommy manages to put the perp in jail but the demon’s name is Legion and takes over many of the inmates and causes a riot that even the SWAT can’t put down. Possessed men aren’t too worried about a few paltry bullets or tear gas after all.

Tommy, after getting some backup from his local priest and all the surrounding priests, heads into the prison to confront the demon and exorcise it. He’s a man on a mission from God and begins to experience the powers that Saints throughout history have been recorded as having.

Exorcising the demon gets the prison under control, but Tommy’s life is forever changed as the demon reveals that Tommy has been chosen to be the Patron Saint of Detectives. While this situation has been dealt with, Tommy knows that a righteous man’s work isn’t finished while he has breath in his body.

My Thoughts:

First things first. On Amazon, right in the title, this bills itself as “A Catholic Action Horror Novel”. It certainly is. Considering how other urban fantasy series shove paganism down their readers’ throats without a second thought, I don’t see that being a problem though. Unless you’re a religious bigot that is.

Now, was that a great opening paragraph or what? I was aiming for abrasive and since I bristled at myself when I read it out loud to see how it sounded, I knew I had succeeded. But seriously folks, if you can deal with Dresden or the Iron Druid Chronicles or Jayne Yellowrock or that author Jim Hines, well, you should have zero problems with the views put forth here. Especially if you espouse tolerance as the mainstay of your beliefs.

I enjoyed this a lot. While I have my issues with specific doctrines of Catholicism and even with the whole “Saints” thing, thinking of this as a supernaturally powered cop worked just fine. And it helped that Tommy had to obey some really strict rules that had 1000’s of years of history behind them. Every ability exhibited was one that previous saints had shown, so Tommy isn’t simply pulling power out of his butt. The internal consistency was refreshing. Too many times the rules of urban fantasy seem to get made up as the author goes along, or to not really have any rules beyond “it’s supernatural, we just don’t understand”. While the rules are being revealed to us as readers, they have a deep and abiding history backing them up.

One word of caution however. This is graphic in terms of violence. Finn doesn’t shy away from describing in detail just how the demon possessed man kills his victims. It is really horrific. What is even more horrific is when it is revealed what those killings are based on in real life.

Another thing I did like was the whole family dynamic. Tommy and his wife aren’t having drama to ratchet up the tension. She’s the wife of a cop and knows what that entails. Tommy is teaching his son krav maga so he can defend himself and to help others who are being bullied. His son isn’t a psycho emo goth whatever who Tommy is trying to “connect” with. Tommy is being the dad that every dad should be. It was just great to see a main character being in a stable family. They helped each other instead of draining each other.

Overall, I was very pleased with this read and am looking forward to more in the series. I believe there are currently 7. I know that Finn has also authored several other series. One of them falls squarely into the paranormal romance category though, so even if it too gets the “A Catholic Action Horror Novel” I’ll be avoiding it like the plague.


33 thoughts on “Hell Spawn (Saint Tommy, NYPD #1) ★★★★☆

  1. I’m not completely sure, but I think I read an excerpt of this one somewhere in another novel once (as a kind of forthcoming attraction kind of thing).
    Certainly doesn’t sound bad this one though. With my current to read list keeping me more occupied than I want to..(lol😂) it’s probably a while before I ever get to this though….😅🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Man, I hear you about hearing about good books and already having a tbr that’s too big. I’ve just come to the conclusion that most of the books other bloggers talk about I won’t be reading. That and keeping my tbr to about what I can read in 2 years has helped tremendously. If I have have X books on my tbr, then no matter how good a series sounds, it’s not happening until space opens up. Of course, sometimes I MAKE space by dumping something I can’t even remember why I added, but overall, it’s a pretty smooth process 😉

      Finn is an indie and as such writes pretty prolifically. So it wouldn’t surprise me if you saw a preview of his in some other book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yeah I have seen reviews by bloggers for so many good books, and I keep adding them, while at the same time wondering if I will ever get to them in my lifetime. That said, even the books that I’m currently owning and have on my shelves I have doubts for that if I will ever finish them😂😂
        But yeah, that does make sense, making a TBR list that is manageable. Maybe I should do that too, although the Horus Heresy alone is almost 25 more books that I still need to read😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, it was so GOOD to read about someone who wasn’t having drama with every step he took. It was just refreshing and kept the focus of the story where it should be, on the battle between Tommy and the demon.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s nice to hear how well this worked out for you despite being so violent! 😮 Would a tag mentioning its “catholic” nature be something that would instantly draw you towards those books in the future, especially if you end up wanting to avoid certain books published nowadays with things you fundamentally don’t agree with? 😮

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a need for violence that can only be legitimately filled by books. I couldn’t do that in real life, watching it would desensitize me to it (John Wick was the first movie where I realized just how much you can become accustomed to) and yet there’s a hunger for it. But even in reading, I have to keep tabs on it. Hence the ultra violence tag.

      I don’t think something that was marketed as Catholic would instantly draw me. It would get much more of chance of getting a second glance, but being 7th Day Adventist, I have some real issues with Catholicism. Plus, Catholicism espouses evolution as part of their doctrine, so that’s a no-no for me.

      So, it’s complicated, hahahahahaa. I’m sure that totally answered your question 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The only thing that confuses me, is why it was the DEMON that revealed to Tommy that he’s supposed to be the Patron Saint of Detectives. What is the demon doing giving out information? Why should he believe anything it says? If this is really his mission, why isn’t he informed by a more reliable source?

    (Gosh, I’m writing comments that use the word “demon” in all caps. It must be Halloween.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tommy begins experiencing things before he ever finds out, so the process has begun. I’m not up on my Saintology, but I don’t think it’s like being a prophet. I think the demon was revealing it as a matter of pride because it thought it could take Tommy down.


    1. It is a VERY welcome change of pace. Especially since right now I just finished up a UF series that embodies everything I hate about UF. It came very highly recommended so I thought I’d give it a try. Mistake!

      As for this series, we’ll see how the series progresses. I’m hoping it stays strong.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “First things first. On Amazon, right in the title, this bills itself as “A Catholic Action Horror Novel”. It certainly is. Considering how other urban fantasy series shove paganism down their readers’ throats without a second thought, I don’t see that being a problem though. Unless you’re a religious bigot that is.”

    *Blink* I don’t see anything worth bristling at here. I mean, you’re right – if other UF writers get to throw paganism or secularism at their readers, who can complain about a Catholic writing Catholic UF?

    That said, I feel compelled to add that the Church doesn’t believe in or espouse evolution. Evolution is a *theory,* thus unproven. It *may* be true, and the Church makes space for that and for those who are sure it is true. God could make the world in seven days or seven millennia; either way, He made it and there’s no getting around that fact. If someone wants to believe He did it by evolution the Church won’t argue with them. Said person insists there is no God and evolution proves it – now *there’s* an issue.

    Don’t know if anyone has said anything to the contrary somewhere, but I am ninety-nine percent certain that’s the official stance of the Church. Evolution is an unproven theory, the evidence for creationism is stronger, but if you want to believe God made the world and everyone in it via evolution – *shrug* He can do anything and everything, so why not this? It’s literally up to Him. So it’s not really worth arguing intensely over the how when you agree on the why and the Who.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason I’m pretty sure I’ve read that the official stance of Catholicism is that evolution is true. But I can’t back that up off the top of my head. Worth digging into.

      As for why, it IS important. Because if Genesis 1-5 are not literally true, then it throws the rest of the Bible under the bus. Including the need for Jesus and Salvation at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh. Not saying you didn’t read that somewhere, but that’s not what I’ve read/learned. Could be a cardinal or someone said that recently, but if it was one cardinal or a group of them, that carries no water whatsoever. Same goes for the Pope; unless he declared it ex cathedra, it is not an article of the Catholic Faith or a doctrine of the Church. Thus Catholics are not obligated to believe the theory of evolution is true. If they *want* to, they can; but the Church does not say “it is true” and insist her children believe in it.

        So if a Catholic believes evolution to be true of his own free will after studying the arguments for and against it, the Church isn’t going to mind – *unless* he says evolution disproves God’s existence. That’s where the Church draws the line; if someone wants to believe Genesis 1-5 is a poetic description of God’s use of evolution to bring the world and humanity into being, okay, that’s that person’s prerogative. The theory doesn’t *absolutely* contradict any doctrines or teachings of the Church when considered in that light. Evidence, as I’ve said, favors the Big Bang Theory (which, mysteriously, has the same number of syllables as “Let there be light” 😉 ). If I remember the arguments I read correctly, the Big Bang theory comes closest to admitting Genesis 1-5 is literally what happened.

        The Church stands by this literal understanding of Genesis 1-5; she just makes allowances for those who are investigating evolution or who have come to accept most of Darwin’s theory. If they want to believe it is the method God used to create the universe, fine; she won’t argue. Bigger fish to fry, and all that. Their souls aren’t in danger from believing the theory *might* be true, only from believing it disproves God’s existence altogether. That would be much worse for them than their saying, “Well *I* think evolution is how God made everything!”


  5. I think this one sounds quite interesting. I like people taking on demons in urban fantasy so this sounds like it could be more towards my thing than these paranormal romances being dubbed UF. I didn’t know there were books classed as Catholic Action Horror and I might just check this out at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

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