After accidentally summoning a demon while playing poker, the normally mild-mannered 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 – and that actually turns out to be a really bad thing.
There’s only one thing for it. Satan offers Chesney the ultimate deal – sign the damned contract, and he can have his heart’s desire. And thus the strangest superhero duo ever seen – in Hell or on Earth – is born!
Before I make my thoughts on this know, I have a confession to make. I used to be a big fan of authors like Terry Prattchet, Robert Robert Rankin and Tom Holt. So much so that there was a time when I rarely read anything else. In the hay day of comic fantasy there was a period where there were more books to read than I had time for. It has been about 16 years since I last read Terry Pratchett and Tom Holt and about 8 years since I last read Robert Rankin. I just slowly but surely got burnt out on them.
So I was a bit hesitant to crack open this book. There’s still a lot of books I really want to read so taking a chance with this book had me a bit worried. I decided to give it hour and see how it went. A good six hours later I realised I still had all the house work to do, and I really should go and pick up the boy child from school. Yes the book is that good. You maybe wondering why I even wanted to take such a punt on a book, to be honest it was two things, the synopsis of the book sounded like fun, and I really really liked the cover.
Matthew Hughes has entered the the all ready crowded comic fantasy market, with his own unique voice and style of humour, he will soon elbow his way right to centre of the genre. The story itself is fun, witty but more importantly it is full of heart. This is and i hate to use the term a nice book, full of fun, and an charming take on the role of sin. Hughes writing is both funny and clever, with some great descriptive passages. he has a style that instantly hooks the reader, that manages to balance the fine line between being a funny novel, and novel that is just full of jokes. The humour goes from raising a wry smile, to full on belly laughs. However novels like this live or die on the strength of the narrative.
The story never feels forced, or just as the framework to hang the humour from, you could cut the humour from the story and you would still have a rather fine piece of fiction.
I will be picking up the next instalment of this series without a doubt. A highly recommended read.
It is available from all good book stores, and all online book retailers.
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