Ready to talk a little urban fantasy today? Read on for guest reviewer Shannon Donnelly’s take on The Damned Busters, the book by Matthew Hughes released the first of June by Angry Robot, and check out the contest at the end of the post!
ABOUT THE BOOK: After accidentally summoning a demon, Chesney Anstruther refuses to sell his soul, which leads through various confusions to, well, Hell going on strike. Which means that nothing bad ever happens in the world… with disastrous consequences.
SHANNON’S REVIEW: Trouble starts for Chesney Arnstruther in The Damned Busters when he accidentally summons a demon. This sets off some spirited—and metaphysical, arguments—and basically puts hell into a work freeze, leading to Cheney making a deal with the devil. That deal gives Cheney a chance at crime fighting—with demon assistance—and a chance to save Poppy Paxton (the daughter’s boss).
Chesney works as an actuary at Paxton Life and Casualty, a Midwestern life insurance company, a job he’s good at, and which also complicates his life. There is, at the end, a final showdown with the devil with Chesney fighting not just for himself, but for the souls of others. Overall, Matthew Hughes knows how to keep the action moving. If you want a light, fast read, the book’s not a bad way to pass an evening. The ending could use a touch more drama—this is a showdown with the devil, after all. And it would have been interesting to have more soul-searching for Chesney on the morality of how much good is one doing by fighting crime with hell’s assistance—that seems ripe ground for storytelling. This is noted to be part of a series, so perhaps there will be more about such issues—and a little more depth to the characters—in future books.
ABOUT SHANNON DONNELLY: Author of romances, young adult fiction, and computer games. Writing awards include a nomination by Romance Writers of America’s for the RITA for Best Regency, the RWA’s Golden Heart, Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, the Laurel Wreath, Winter Rose, and multiple finalists in the Bookseller’s Best, Orange Rose, Holt Medallion, Colorado ACE, and other contests. You can find Shannon and info about her work at http://shannondonnelly.com/.
Want to win a copy of The Damned Busters? Have you read a good demon/devil story you’d recommend? You know the drill: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet or Retweet. Go!