It’s a blog tour day today, and I have a review and giveaway of Tad Williams’ first urban fantasy offering, The Dirty Streets of Heaven! Why? Because you’ll want to read it before you pick up the next Bobby Dollar installment, Happy Hour in Hell – out a few days ago from Daw.
About Tad Williams:
Tad Williams has been one of fantasy’s brightest stars for over thirty years. He made a name for himself with the internationally bestselling trilogy Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and has since authored numerous critically acclaimed novels, short stories and comic books, including the immensely popular Otherland and Shadowmarch series and the standalone Tailchaser’s Song. The Dirty Streets of Heaven was named one of “Fall’s Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books” by io9.com in 2012; the San Francisco Chronicle called it “strange and deeply entertaining.”
About The Dirty Streets of Heaven:
Set in modern-day California, Bobby is wrestling with his own sins, as well as those of his clients, not to mention a mysterious she-demon known as Countess Cold Hands.
Bobby Dollar has a secret. Actually he’s got a ton of them. The most important one is that his real name’s Doloriel and he’s an angel. Not an important angel, maybe, but a rough-and-tumble guy who’s always done his part in the long cold war between Heaven and Hell.
But now he’s stepped into the middle of something that’s got both sides very nervous — an unprecedented number of missing souls. And if that wasn’t enough, someone has summoned a truly unpleasant Babylonian demon that’s doing its best to track him down and rip him to pieces. Also, his opposite number on the case is arguably the world’s sexiest she-devil, and Bobby has feelings for her that Heaven definitely does not allow.
Bobby’s story is as dark and gritty as the setting and Tad Williams’ legions of fans will delight in seeing this new side of his writing.
Title: The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar #1)
Author: Tad Williams
Paperback: 441 pages
Publisher: Daw, 2013
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
I loved Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, and had to see what he did with this foray into urban fantasy. I’ll state up front that Bobby Dollar is one heck of an entertaining protagonist. He’s an advocate, an angel who argues on behalf of the recently departed for a place in Heaven – against a demon who’ll say the soul belongs in hell. Each soul’s every action and thought throughout their life is weighed and judged, and said judgement is summarily executed.
Makes you think about all the times you did X…
Anyway. Bobby’s doing his job, sometimes snarking off (what can I say, he’s hung around humans for too long?) but it’s the usual work, play, rest, repeat. He has friends (other angels), nemeses (demons he’s pitted against), and associates – just like most of us. Then one day, Bobby’s life goes to hell in a handbasket. Or something like it.
Souls are missing from the newly-departed. A crazy-scary, impossible-to-kill, stinkier-than-a-sewage-treatment-facility, not-mythical-anymore, demonic creature has been summoned from the bowels of Hell to hunt Bobby down. And not for a play date, unless said play date ends with a certain dead advocate. The best part? Bobby has no idea why he’s on someone’s shit-list.
And so off we go on this mystery-slash-adventure built around the eternal war waged between heaven and hell for our mortal souls. I enjoyed the story and the cast of characters – including the newbie tagalong Bobby and his BFF Sam nicknames Clarence, but was a bit disappointed by how within-the-lines The Dirty Streets of Heaven was. Yes, I know it’s the eternal battle between good and evil, but there’re plenty of shades of grey that aren’t represented here (snarkiness notwithstanding). Not that Bobby’s perfect, nor some of the other angels. But it seemed like all the villains (with one exception) were stereotypes, and the heavenly higher-ups were quite boring, really. (Side note: Maybe that’s why Bobby likes hanging out on Earth?)
That said, I’ll still pick up the follow up, for more of Bobby’s (mis-)adventures, and the entertaining chapter headers. Because I know Tad Williams can deliver more.
drey’s rating: Pick it up!
Have you read The Dirty Streets of Heaven? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Dirty Streets of Heaven for you. This one’s open to US residents only – no PO Boxes, please. To enter, fill out the form below before September 19th. Good luck!