Sunday, April 12, 2020
The Bookwyrm's Review of The Fall of the House by C. T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus
Authors: C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus
Length: 267 Pages
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Release Date: April 18, 2020
Series: Red Room, Book 3
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
This book was a long time coming, being the third book in a series started with a publisher that went under, and a bit of a struggle to get the rights sorted for the first two books. The authors then decided to do a soft retcon to align the timeline of this trilogy to their United States of Monsters series, and have seamlessly added a richer backstory to the several characters series.
The story picks up with Derek Hawthorne, Council member of the Red House and still sometime field agent, reeling from the events of Eldritch Ops, including his role in the death of his sister Rebecca, who was working on a plan to mind control all the supernatural creatures of the world. Derek is now dedicated to exposing the corruption of the Red House, and bringing it down from the inside. Unfortunately, he's not the only one with these plans.
The story starts with Derek reliving a memory of his first partner, Ashley Morgan, a powerful psychic, who he helped escape the House's clutches with the help of another agent who was his partner, Christopher, who would become a vampire afterwards. Awaking in the hospital after barely surviving his sister's end, Derek's current partner and lover Shannon, his Uncle Talbot and Christopher come in and let him know moves are afoot to destroy the House, and that Ashley has disappeared. This is immediately followed by an attack by an unknown force of mercenaries, who turn out to be elves, which shouldn't be possible, since elves no longer live on earth's plane.
Dealing with the elves with extreme prejudice, they let the House cleanup crew deal with the fallout while they try to determine who is plotting against them. What they discover is that their past is coming back to haunt them, as Derek's ex brother-in-law, Roland, now head of the Pantheon Corp., the House's weapons supplier, is gunning to take Derek's seat on the council. The problem is, that's not all that he's up to, and he has unexpected allies in a plan to bring about a world ending horror from the past back to the world, all while bringing down the House and exposing the world to the truth that the supernatural exists. Its up to Derek and company to try and stop Roland and his allies, and save the people in Derek's life that it would crush him to lose. Oh, and maybe save the world while they are at it. Derek may have to make the ultimate sacrifice if the world is to survive.
CHARACTERS AND WORLD BUILDING
Anyone familiar with the authors' work knows they are extremely character driven. They spend a lot of time fleshing out the various characters. this includes all the familial and romantic relationships, some of which are just oddly funny, sort of like real life. Derek is such a tragic character, raised to be something he has fought against being for years not to be. His beliefs are the exact opposite of what he has been trained to believe, and his relationships feed off that. The various other characters also get their moments throughout of character development, and they never feel like cardboard cutouts, but fully realized characters. The villains are unexpected and have interesting motivations, feeding into the theme of the book, which is change on an unprecedented scale for the whole world.
The world building is solid, helping to create a solid foundation for various other parts of the series. The supernatural world has been slowly approaching exposure to the mundane world, and this story ties the pre-reveal world to the post-reveal world, creating a bridge between the story arcs.
The idea of merging this series in with The United States of Monsters world was an inspired choice, taking the fairly undeveloped backstory of the post-reveal world and adding some rich layers of occult spy action leading right up to the reveal. It is definitely some of the authors' best writing, and is a fitting end to this arc, while adding to the various future arcs. I'm hoping to see a few more of these characters in future installments of the various series.