This Week’s Book Review - Dark Day, Bright Hour

Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.

Book Review

A Walk Through Hell

Reviewed by Mark Lardas
July 7, 2024

“Dark Day, Bright Hour,” by Julie Frost, Independently published, 2024, 211 pages, $14.99 (paperback), $3.99 (e-book)

Anthony was a hitman. They rarely die of old age, but Anthony drowned trying to save a driver whose car went off a bridge into a river.

“Dark Day, Bright Hour,” by Julie Frost begins at an end, Anthony’s death. His act of heroism did not seem to matter. He regained consciousness to find himself at the gates to Hell.

It is straight out of Dante, with red hot lava and demons with pitchforks. With Anthony is Winifred (or Freddi), the driver he tried to save. She should be among the saved. She led a virtuous and Christian life. A clerical error was obviously made. That is what her guardian angel, Zeeviel insists. He is with her to right the error.

The demons cannot touch Freddi without pain. They refuse to simply release her. Zeeviel has to take her to Lucifer in his tower first, and gain his assent. Zeeviel takes Anthony with them. Since Anthony tried to save Freddi Zeeviel feels protective towards him.

To speak to Lucifer requires a trip to the heart of Hell and then back to its exit once permission to leave is gained. Permission will be granted. God is more powerful than the fallen angels. Yet the demons view it as an opportunity to tempt Zeeviel and Freddi to join them. To ensure Zeeviel causes no trouble, Derek, a demon of the boundaries, accompanies them.

Derek is unusual. He is Zeeviel’s brother. Derek fought on the side of the angels when Lucifer revolted against God. Later, Derek was captured and tortured until he switched sides.

The four must fight their way to Lucifer and fight their way back, even Derek. While the other demons rejoice in claiming a mortal or angel, they delight in causing pain to each other. The trip requires Derek to participate in the politics of Hell. That is something he normally avoids. He prefers its outskirts.

The book is divided into four major parts. Anthony, Zeeviel, Freddi, and Derek each play the point of view character in one of the parts. This adds surprising depth to the story. Each has a different perspective, a different personality, and a different feel, revealing different knowledge in each. The shifts help build the tension as the story progresses.

Frost uses a Christian framework to build an unique story. Neither traditional Christian fiction nor traditional fantasy, “Dark Day, Bright Hour” is a surprisingly satisfying book.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is