Reviews – Hell is Empty

Susie Black – An unflinching nail-biter of a story. When a 1968 pro-Democracy movement in communist-controlled Czechoslovakia called the “Prague Spring” was brutally put down by the Russian Military, not only were the intellectuals and University professors who led the revolt eliminated but so were many of their family members. A Gentleman from the Darkness, the prequel to Hell is Empty, focused on the fate of three families. One woman, whose husband they had already killed, realizes that she will probably be murdered by the Russian hitman tasked to eliminate the resistance’s families. She tries to save her children and the child of another family whose parents had already been killed. The woman takes the three youngsters to a trusted neighborhood couple who spirited them away to another part of the country for safety.

Hell is Empty is the story of those three children and the couple who took them in. Author Mark Edward Jones has created a cast of flawed but believable characters. Ordinary citizens who somehow rise to the occasion when faced with impossible odds. The characters evoke powerful emotions in readers right from the beginning in this David versus Goliath parable of good versus evil that shines a light on the best and worst in human beings. 

This unflinching nail-biter is no story for sissy readers. With his wife’s unexplained, sudden death, the ill-prepared hero must now be both aunt and uncle to the younger two children and the moody, disrespectful teenage girl. The stark reality of the hero and children’s desperate situation comes alive as the hitman’s pursuits weave together with a ribbon of sci-fi that defies any plausible explanation for the deaths of two of the teenager’s school friends. 

The tale begins with a level of tension that builds to a crescendo of an unbelievable ending that will have readers thinking about this story long after it ends and has more than earned a five-star review.


Jax Journalist: Enjoyed the unique setting for this dark tale! Great atmosphere and hooks that keep you reading to see what happens next.

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