Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for wacky and wild jaunt through space. HELL FOR THE COMPANY is a fun futuristic M/M supernatural romance I had the chance to review on audiobook. Author Angel Martinez weaves a fantastic yarn about demon space merchants who inadvertently rescue a defecting angel. Also, floating cows. Yep. It’s a bizarre trip.
Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves, has reconciled himself to exile. He has a grand time careening around the galaxy as a high-end, intergalactic purloiner of pretties. Everything’s going just fine, thank you very much. All right, fine, the anti-gravity cows are a bit problematic and some of his buyers are bad for his health, but he manages until he comes across an injured angel in a psychedelic alien jungle.
He only rescues the wing boy for his golden feathers, but what Shax doesn’t know about angels could fill an intergalactic encyclopedia.
First off, this is an audio book of roughly 2 hours in length. I enjoyed every second of it. The narrator, Vance Bastian, is engaging and makes the story really pop. His voice is well-suited to the major characters. While the narrator’s voice sounds “young” I think he did a great job conveying Shax’s bravado, shy flower Nes, and a sassy falsetto for “Ivana” the ship’s drag queen audio file. Bastian seemed to have a good range of voice timbres, allowing the gruff voice of Varin to sound completely separate from the others, and good pacing. On the whole, I enjoyed the audio book very much.
Shax is a prince from Hell, Varin is his compatriot demon, and both of them are hurtling through space on a small freighter, attempting to turn a tidy profit while keeping well clear of Earth. Shax is a playful being, eager to charm and sure to find the “pretties” he’d like to swipe, because he’s a thief demon, I guess. Varin is a more impatient sort of demon, mechanically-inclined and not thrilled with Shax’s antics.
While en route to deliver a cargo of floating cows, they detour to an uninhabited planet and recover an escape pod. Inside they find an angel, completely unconscious, and injured. Shax is captivated not only by the angel’s golden feathers, but also by the beautiful man before him. Problem is, Angels and Demons have been fighting each other for eons. Shax begs Varin to let him keep the pretty angel, and while they travel they get to know one another. Nes, as Shax dubs their passenger, is a lower eschelon angel, who cannot believe that Shax and Varin aren’t plotting to kill him.
This is a super fun story. Really. It’s so completely wacky, I had to stifle my laughter when listening on my earbuds so strangers didn’t give me the side eye. Shax is a great MC, and he’s so captivated by Nes. Nes is delightfully innocent, and naive, constantly surprised and unsettled by Shax’s propositions and veracity. I really dug the idea of space demons and angels. Expect double-crossing humans, a sassy computer, and a cargo hold filled with sexual tension, but no actual sexytimes.
Download a sample of the audiobook here!
How about some insights from Verin…
The author catches Verin Hammer, demon ship’s pilot and all around grouch, in a rare good mood over coffee and cinnamon rolls for a (brief) interview:
A: So Ver…you and Shax have known each other a long time…
Verin: I thought you were asking questions. That’s not a fucking question.
A: I’m getting to it. Hold your garters. When did you first meet?
Verin: Bunch of centuries ago.
A: *exasperated sigh* Can you tell us how you first met?
Verin: You’re not real good at this, are you? Yeah, guess I can. Hadn’t hit my full growth yet. Some older demon punks decided I looked like easy pickings, so they jumped me. Shaxy came riding by – literally on his high horse, damn demon prince. He had some big night mares back then. Anyway, Shax may be bad but he doesn’t like shit that’s not fair, right? So he orders the punks off. Let his horse kick a couple in the bargain. Arrogant little son of a—
A: And you were instant friends?
Verin: Absofuckinglutely not. He was just a kid, too, and his mommy wouldn’t let him have minions. So he figured he’d tell her I was a friend. But, yeah, he wanted a minion. I told him to piss off.
A: But you stayed with him anyway?
Verin: *shrugs* Didn’t have anything better to do. Living with him in a palace was better than scraping by in the slums of Hell.
A: So eventually…
Verin: Look, I know what you’re getting at. Yeah, Shaxy’s my friend. Dunno when it happened exactly, but it did. He’s a bonehead and a high-handed little prick, but he keeps life interesting. He decides what stupid shit we’re gonna get into next and I keep him from getting his skinny ass killed. And no, we never fucked. Cause everyone always asks that. He’s not anywhere near what I go for.
A: Oh, um, good. Now if we could just touch on some of the—
Verin: Nope. I’m done. That’s all the stupid questions I have time for this year. This century. Hell, maybe ever. *Verin stomps off in a cloud of steam*
(Verin can be found in every Brimstone book, and is voiced perfectly by Vance Bastian in the Hell For The Company audio edition.)
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Meet the author:
While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of gay romance – Science Fiction and Fantasy. (That’s a Blues Brothers’ joke FYI!!) Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
Meet the narrator:
Vance Bastian loves being a professional storyteller. He writes urban fantasy about sandmen and reapers. He has grown his acting and voice background into a career performing voice-over work and narration for both radio and audiobooks. He is also a founding host of the WROTE podcast – bringing you interviews and news of authors who write, perform, and tell LGBTQ stories. When nobody’s looking, Vance is a complete sci-fi and fantasy geek.
For more on Vance, please visit his website.