Hell's Half Acre by Will Christopher Baer - Book Review - Kristopher Cook

Hell’s Half Acre by Will Christopher Baer

Hell’s Half Acre by Will Christopher Baer Book Cover
Phineas Poe tracks Jude to San Francisco, where he finds her involved with John Ransom Miller, a wealthy sociopath with a mysterious hold over her. Jude is nursing her own revenge fantasy, but she needs Miller's help, and in exchange, Miller wants Jude to help him with an unspeakable crime.
Series: Phineas Poe
Genre: Contemporary
Available from: | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Having refined his style, or added more edges depending on which side of literacy you stand, this book is like a swift kick to the bollocks!

Violent, ruthless and leaves a distinct impression.

Breaking so many of the ‘writing rules’, you’re plunged into much deeper depths than any of the previous books, and that’s saying something. You’ll need to look up, just to see hell!

For a better background on Phineas Poe see my review for Kiss Me, Judas, which turned out to be one of those great books that you just stumble into. In short; a problematic ex-cop with substantial demons.

On the other hand, Hell’s Half Acre is anything but stumbling.

Going Quiet

This is third in the series of Phineas Poe books and what looks to be the last.

Since releasing Hell’s Half Acre, Will Christopher Baer has gone into hiding, refusing to talk to publishers or press.

This reclusive episode has but the release of his fourth book, Godspeed, into the indefinitely shelved category.

I never wanted Phineas to be a criminal genius, or a black belt. I didn’t want him to be fucking McGuyver.

Will Christopher Baer, BookSlut.com


I’m pleased that Hell’s Half Acre lives up to its billing. The series has been up and down so far, but here we’re left with a thoroughly thrilling read.

Throughout I was on the edge of my seat with the actions of Phineas. As an ex-cop addicted to just about everything under the sun, you never know what will happen next.

How will this scenario play out? What will happen next? Who’s going to die?

I can guarantee that you’ve never read a book like this one. Requiem For a Dream comes close for its fluid-style, but that’s reaching.

It’s also this raw edge that gives Hell’s Half Acre so much character, both exhilarating and uncompromising from start to finish.

On the flip side, this book doesn’t conjure up any deep-meaning philosophy, it doesn’t make you question your own beliefs; unless of course, you’re already a raging psychopath, at which point you probably don’t care.

But this lack of meaning gives this book, and the series, its own sense of fun. Nothing is to be taken seriously. The characters are purposely over-the-top, something I had a problem within the first book, but I’ve come to see that as part of the charm.

These are simple pulp-noir books aiming to hit that side of you that wants to switch off at night with a bit of cartoonish entertainment.

Closing Thoughts

If you like your fiction to grab you ‘round the throat and squeeze it till the end, then this is the book for you (you big masochist).

There are moments of dejectory in the mid-points, but otherwise, this is a solid read and a high end to the series.

Overall, I’d absolutely recommend this book to anyone who’s read Will Christopher Baer’s previous books; Kiss Me, Judas and Penny Dreadful.

If you haven’t, do yourself a favour and check them out; they’re a must read for any fans of modern neo-noir.

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Interviews Cited

Goodwin, G. H. (2004, December). An Interview With Will Christopher Baer. Retrieved from http://www.bookslut.com/features/2004_12_003786.php

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