I’ve been wanting to start doing reviews again since I’d let last year’s writing schedule pretty much destroy my reading habit. I’d scheduled a guest post from author Tim Lees today but the blog tour gods never appeared with the post (guess I got “stood up” in dating terms!), so I’ll just run my review instead.
Heres’s the dish on his new book, DEVIL IN THE WIRES, which was released on May 19 in digital format; the print edition is coming June 23 from Harper Voyager Impulse: After the perilous retrieval of a long-dormant god from Iraq, Chris Copeland—professional god hunter and company troubleshooter—is about ready to quit his job. But his employers at the Registry have other plans…plans to build a power facility on the shores of Lake Michigan. Adam Shailer, a rising star at the Registry, thinks he can cage the god, drain its energy, and power the city. It’s Chris’s job to make sure nothing goes wrong. And at first, everything seems fine. Great, even. But when ecstatic devotees start leaving human sacrifices on the beach near the god-house, it quickly becomes clear that the god is not as contained as the Registry would have everyone believe. The devil’s in the wires, and there’s no turning back now.
The tone of the book has a noir feel to it. Written in first person from the POV of the male protagonist, Chris Copeland, the language is spare but evocative.
The concept is intriguing: with our reliance on fossil fuels quickly depleting the supply of power, the shadowy international organization The Registry has field operatives (like Chris) whose job it is to retrieve old, often forgotten gods and trying to figure out how to harness their power and convert it into a usable energy source. In this case, Chris is sent on a particularly dangerous mission to retrieve an ancient god near Assur, a city in Iraq–dangerous both because of the ongoing warfare in that country and because of the god itself. Assur, as the god comes to be called, is older and more powerful than anything they’ve tried to retrieve and, if the bureaucratic Registry can pull it off, Assur will be used to power up the city of Chicago indefinitely and at no significant cost. Of course, as one might guess from the book’s title, things don’t quite go as planned and Chris, the field ops agent being kept around in Chicago as a nod toward “if something goes wrong,” finds himself in a battle with something way more powerful than himself (not to mention the bureaucrats).
The book is an intriguing blend of dystopia, urban fantasy, horror, and science fiction, and the locations–primarily Iraq, London, and Chicago–are well used.
BOTTOM LINE: I loved this book, from its noir tone to its fascinating concept. It’s a story well-told. I somehow missed the first in the series, THE GOD HUNTER, but this didn’t feel like a sequel so it does work as a standalone. Now I’ll need to go back and hunt down the first one!
SCORE & WIN: I’m giving DEVIL IN THE WIRES 4 out of 5 burgers today since it’s National Hamburger Day, and will give away a digital or print copy–winner’s choice. If you choose the print copy, note that it will not be released until June 23 so you won’t receive it until then. The giveaway is international, of course!