Dec 3 2012 2:00pm

Hell is Not For Children: Julie Ann Walker’s Hell On Wheels

Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann WalkerSo, two things happened when I read the prologue to Julie Ann Walker’s Hell on Wheels. First, I guessed the secret that was tormenting Nate—our stoic hero. Walker telegraphed that punch pretty strongly. Second, I learned that telegraphed punches take nothing away from general enjoyment of a book.  Those 10 pages were enough to get me hooked. The rest of the pages were enough to get me hooked on Walker's entire series. 

Hell on Wheels starts with Nate Weller making the death notification to the parents and baby sister of his best friend. He’s always had a thing for Ali, baby sister, but you know how that goes, right? Your best friend threatens to rip your arms off and beat you to death with them if you touch his sister…..sounds like a pretty important warning to heed, right? Nate keeps his distance. But, when it turns out she is being stalked, she runs to him for help, and finds out about the secret life he and her brother had been living. Ali is interested, definitely, but Nate has some pretty dark demons working on him. It’s a romance, so you know the ending will be satisfying. 

But…..and this is where I have to put in a very strange disclaimer for a book I love: Not every book is for everybody. Yes, this is a romance. Heck, let’s even call it romantic suspense. You’d expect a certain level of violence, but this book seemed to go beyond some of the scenes in similar books. There was one scene, it happened as a flashback, that I still haven’t recovered from. In all honesty, I’m not sure the reader is meant to ever recover. You move on, the book moves on, but that scene is meant to always be remembered. It is harsh and powerful and brilliant. And horrible. If you prefer your violence off screen, just know this book may not be for you. You can skip that scene, you’ll know it when you get to it, but you’ll be missing a very important part of Nate’s story. 

Did I just spend an entire paragraph telling you not to read this book? Only those of you who don’t like violence. The rest of you, run to the store to pick this up. And, while you’re at it, you might as well get books 2 and 3 in the series as well. If you’re like me, you’ll want to start the next one as soon as you finish the previous one. The men are super Alpha and fascinatingly layered characters. The women are more than just Alpha bait. They are also complex, with their own character development and lives that don’t revolve around what their intended may or may not be doing. If I had to make comparisons, I would say these books remind me of an intriguing mix of Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series (in terms of theme) and Lara Adrian’s Breed series in terms of characters. Maybe a little bit of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood in terms of character interaction. 

It’s fun. It’s sad. It’s hot. The characters will draw you in quickly. Not just Nate and Ali, but the entire cast of characters. You’ll be rooting for Nate and Ali, both as individuals and as a couple. You’ll be curious to see how the future pairings will shake out, and you’ll try to fit the suspense pieces together. 

So—what are you waiting for? Go to Hell


Robin Bradford is a lawyer, a librarian and, most importantly, full on Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices addict. You can check her out on Twitter @tuphlos, On Unpaged, or on the new blog Collection Reflection.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I don't read much romantic suspense, but I was crazy about Brockmann's SEAL series there for a while. I'm now very intrigued about this one!
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
I have this on my e-reader, thanks to Robin's rec, and will be tucking into it soon. I don't read a lot of RS either, but when I do, I wonder why I don't read more--this sounds like it'll be awesome.
3. MelissaJo
Just finished Hell on Wheels and In Rides Trouble, books 1 & 2. LOVED LOVED LOVED them. Working on book 3 now.

If you like this series may I suggest Tara Janzens "Crazy/Steele Street" series. Very similar set up. EXCELLENT!
Robbie Thornton
4. Button
Hummm, I have this audiobook in my unread folder. I'm not even sure why I bought it. Must have been a premonition. Gonna have to give it a whirl. Thanks for the review.
Robin Bradford
5. RobinBradford
Hey MelissaJo, thanks for the Jansen rec! She drops on and off my radar, as my TBR pile gets crazy. I'm going to move her up the list now!
6. codys1mom4
I had never read any of her books and had debated back and forth about getting them. So I finally broke down and got Hell on Wheels. As soon as I finished it, I went back and got the rest of the series. I absolutely LOVED them. Yes, there's a little violence in them but nowhere near the amount you see everyday on TV. They are worth reading. You will love them.
7. toni92pc
I loved this series - As soon as I finished the 1st one Hell on Wheels, I went right out and bought the other 2. Then I went to the authors website to see if there was any others in the works! I'm an avid RS reader and the violence in this book doesnt bother me at all, since it is action oriented. I try to stay away from books about serial killers and gruesome details regarding rape/torture because that kind of violence is too much for me.
Robin Bradford
9. RobinBradford
It's possible that I read them so fast that I missed the typos, but I don't remember seeing them. Maybe they HAVE been edited? If you give me some examples, I would love to check my copies and see if I have newer editions.

But, your admission of "good stories, characters compelling" really says it all for me. Those things can make me overlook typos that, in a book without those things, would have me gnashing my teeth in frustration. Sorry you didn't love them as much as I did, but thanks for chiming in!
Robbie Thornton
10. Button
I read (or rather listened) to HOW and I did indeed enjoy it. I recognized the scene you mentioned in your disclaimer. It would be hard not to. Being a paranormal fan where flesh eating demons and bloodthirsty vamps and all sorts of "blood, guts, gore and veins in my teeth" (to quote Arlo Guthrie) plotlines are standard issue, I was not in the least bothered by it.

I normally don't like books where the heroine practically throws herself at the feet the hero, but it worked well enough here. The hero frustrated me a bit with his inability to see what was right in front of his eyes, but I can say that about just about every hero in every book I read. Maybe I just find men frustrating? Quite possibly...

Since audiobooks don't have typos, I don't know a thing about that. However, the last two books aren't on audio yet, and I really really want to see how the blossoming secondary relationship in this book pans out, so I guess I'll have to dust off the Kindle. I'm taking a week off during summer holidays (I'm in Australia) next month, so maybe I'll have some actual reading time then. This series will be at the top of my "with my eyes" TBR list.

Thanks Robin for the heads up on this one. I currently have 200+ unread audiobooks. Without this article, it would have sat in my TBLT (to be listened to) playlist for heaven knows how long.
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