Jackie Kessler writes really well - and I mean REALLY well. There's something about the way that she puts together a story that makes it un-put-down-able, even if the central character is hardly appealing.
Certainly Daunuan, Prince of Lust, whose job is to seduce people and send their souls to the Pit, isn't exactly someone you'd want to take home to your mother. We met Daunuan in Kessler's previous books, and it was hard to decide whether he was likeable or not in those.
In Hotter Than Hell, Daunuan undertakes a challenge to prove he's worthy
to be second-in-command to King Pan – he must seduce a soul destined for heaven, without using any trickery.
Pan has chosen a difficult target for Daunuan's test: Virginia Reed is a shell of a woman, someone whose life appears over but who is full of innate goodness. She also looks startlingly similar to Daun's lost succubus friend, Jezebel, heroine of the previous books and someone whom Daun
can't quite get over. Daun's challenge might be harder than he thinks. As he
tries to get on with his seduction, various infernal creatures are trying to bump him off
- and Virginia might be introducing him to that worst of four-letter-words, l-o-v-e.
What makes this book is Kessler's excellent prose, witty descriptions, great characters, and the overall ambiguity between the hero and
his infernal purposes. In some ways, Hotter Than Hell is a departure from the norm;
its ending isn't the traditional "Happy Ever After" one might expect. However, it's still a really enjoyable read, and the world in which Kessler sets these stories is amusing in a slightly dark way.