Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

Hi, everyone! With the release of Happy Hour in Hell (the second Bobby Dollar book) coming up, DAW has put together a mass market tour for Tad Williams's The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Bobby Dollar - Doloriel - is an angel. An advocate to be exact. When a person dies, Bobby and his fellow heavenly cohorts face off against those from the other side to see where the person's soul will end up. It's a job and Bobby Dollar does it well. But things start to go haywire when one of Bobby's souls goes missing. Then the advocate from hell is dismembered and murdered, an unusual occurrence with their kind. Thing is, the case that started it all wasn't even supposed to go to Bobby in the first place. Now he's in hot water and has had to testify to both his boss and other superiors about the missing soul and the murder (which he wasn't anywhere near when it took place). And that's just for starters.

Williams has been a big name in fantasy for a long time but this happens to be my introduction to his work. It's also apparently his first foray into urban fantasy - a pretty successful foray in my opinion.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven combines elements of fantasy and mystery all wrapped up in a heaven vs hell fighting for souls package. But Bobby and the other angels aren't namby pamby bible thumpers. They're hard drinkers, cuss like sailors, and even sleep around a bit experts at their jobs. Their backstory is one that I find particularly intriguing and one that Williams provides via Bobby's narration - the prose playing out as a story being told by Dollar himself, allowing for both character development and world building all at once and still leaving plenty of room for the plot. It's a device I particularly enjoy with characters like Bobby Dollar since he's snarky and a bit grouchy as well as being smart and willing to do whatever it takes to get the information he needs. (His character is definitely written in the spirit of a noir-esque PI.)

Since 1988 Williams has penned three adult fantasy series (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn; Otherland; Shadowmarch), co-authored two installments in the Ordinary Farm YA series with his wife, has a number of stand alones, collections, and comics to his name, and now the Bobby Dollar series as well. (In other words he's a busy, busy guy!)

The Dirty Streets of Heaven is the kind of cross genre book that will no doubt have a lot of crossover appeal for fantasy and urban fantasy fans, longtime Williams followers, and mystery fans open to a bit of supernatural in their mystery mix (me, me, me!).

Rating: 5/5

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