Urban fantasy, in my few experiences within the genre, tends to steer away from the perceived vulgarity of the horror genre even though there are horror elements that appear in many a UF title. Armageddon Bound isn't as timid when it comes to walking that line, and that is thanks largely to the protagonist and narrator of the tale, Frank Trigg--Satan's nephew and reluctant Antichrist.
To set the stage, God and Satan called a truce, made amends, and abandoned the universe fifty years ago. Today, Heaven, Hell, and little ol' Earth are on their own. And things are not going so well. Angels and Demons are still fighting, humans are still doing what humans do best, and poor Frank Trigg is caught in the middle. Once destined to be the Antichrist, he long since shirked his birthright and now makes do as a hired hitman of sorts with Demonic Resistance and Containment (DRAC).
DRAC is an anti-Armageddon faction comprised of wizards, telepaths, and other supernatural entities, doing what they can to prevent the End Times. Since there are no tog dogs anymore to pick up the pieces, the End Times truly mark the end of everything rather than a new beginning. Still, there are forces at work trying to jumpstart an Apocalypse. But it's not just DRAC that Frank finds as his allies, as Frank has an angelic cousin, Scarlett, a demonic mafia-style boss, Baalth, and others he doesn't exactly get along with. Not to mention his ex-wife, Victoria, who may or may not have put a hit out on him.
The noir-esque elements are at peak volume, with the story being a blend of heroism and cynicism coming from Frank Trigg. I mentioned him as the source of much of the vulgarity in the novel. Well, it's not a piece of gory fiction, if that's how you took the statement. Instead, it's his inner monologue that drips with puerile and lewd thoughts. The guy can't even think about his own cousin without fantasizing about her sexually.
Quentin Tarantino's Foxy Brown meets Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings it is not, but the mish-mash of styles gives it a vibe I ended up liking. To stray from movie references to video-games, it felt a bit like Grand Theft Auto mixed with God of War. But enough "this-meets-that" stuff, the book stands out to me. Let's leave it at that. And as the first book in a series, it caps off nicely like a stand alone novel, so readers can give it a try and not feel like they're only reading a prologue.
I thought the book was more urban than urbane, more ribald than refined, but Armageddon Bound was a fun read. And that was enough for me.
You can find another review of this title at: Fantasy Book Critic