Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Happy Hour in Hell (Bobby Dollar 2) by Tad Williams

Happy Hour in Hell
Author:  Tad Williams
Series:  Bobby Dollar 2
Publisher:  DAW, September 3, 2013
Format:  Hardcover, 400 pages
Price:  $25.95 (print)
ISBN9780756408152 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

I’ve been told to go to Hell more times than I can count. But this time I’m actually going.

My name’s Bobby Dollar, sometimes known as Doloriel, and of course, Hell isn’t a great place for someone like me—I’m an angel. They don’t like my kind down there, not even the slightly fallen variety. But they have my girlfriend, who happens to be a beautiful demon named Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands. Why does an angel have a demon girlfriend? Well, certainly not because it helps my career.

She’s being held hostage by one of the nastiest, most powerful demons in all of the nether-world—Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell. He already hates me, and he’d like nothing better than to get his hands on me and rip my immortal soul right out of my borrowed but oh-so-mortal body.

But wait, it gets better! Not only do I have to sneak into Hell, make my way across thousands of miles of terror and suffering to reach Pandemonium, capital of the fiery depths, but then I have to steal Caz right out from under Eligor’s burning eyes and smuggle her out again, past demon soldiers, hellhounds, and all the murderous creatures imprisoned there for eternity. And even if I somehow manage to escape Hell, I’m also being stalked by an undead psychopath named Smyler who’s been following me for weeks. Oh, and did I mention that he can’t be killed?

So if I somehow survive Hell, elude the Grand Duke and all his hideous minions and make it back to the real world, I’ll still be the most hunted soul in Creation. But at least I’ll have Caz. Gotta have something to look forward to, right?

So just pour me that damn drink, will you? I’ve got somewhere to go.

Qwill's Thoughts:

Happy Hour in Hell is the second novel in the Bobby Dollar series by Tad Williams. It starts off immediately after The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Bobby Dollar is an angel. He works as an Advocate (litigates for souls to get into Heaven) in San Judas, California. He's wise talking, asks questions he's shouldn't, does things he shouldn't, and is a magnet for trouble. He's attracted the negative attention of both those on high and those below. In short Bobby Dollar is a wonderful character.

Bobby always seems to be a little bit out of his depth. This never stops him from pursuing his goals. He knows what he's doing is risky, sometimes stupid, and often dangerous. He escapes trouble through luck, the help of others, and the occasional plan. There's a mystery he feels that he must solve, the genesis of which was in The Dirty Streets of Heaven. He seems to have an inkling about what is going, but needs more information. He certainly knows enough that beings greater than he want him out of the way permanently. Much of this is tied to Eligor, the Grand Duke of Hell, who also has the woman (demon) that Bobby loves, Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands. Yes, an angel being in love with a demon is a problem. Bobby knows this and does not care. That's part of his charm.

Happy Hour in Hell takes place mostly in Hell (not a surprise). Kudos to Tad Williams for making it hellish to read about Bobby's experiences there. Just when I thought "enough!" Mr. Williams treats you to a new horror that Bobby must endure. My only quibble with Happy Hour in Hell is that Bobby's sojourn in Hell could have been a bit shorter to the same effect. On the other hand I certainly got that Bobby would literally go through Hell for the woman he loves.

I like the richly layered world building in the novels - Mr. William's versions of Heaven and Hell come to life. The earthly setting for the novels, San Judas, CA, is wonderfully detailed.  As in the first novel, there is an exceptional supporting cast. I'm particularly fond of Sam and Clarence/Harrison (both angels). They make welcome, though brief appearances, in Happy Hour in Hell.  Bobby has help from some additional recurring characters as well as some very well written Hellish new ones. There is plenty of action and some "will he make it" moments that are exhilarating.

Bobby Dollar is an angelic anti-hero whose halo (if he had one) would be very tarnished. From the ending of Happy Hour in Hell I've a pretty good idea of where he's going next and I can't wait.

Bobby Dollar 1

The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Bobby Dollar 1
DAW, July 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
Previously released in Hardcover, September 4, 2012

Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth. When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad.

Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get—in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them. You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Brace yourself—the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of The Dirty Street of Heaven (Bobby Dollar 1) from DAW. US/CANADA ONLY

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on September 8, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

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  1. I just finished reading "The Dirty Streets of Heaven" the other day (my own review and giveaway went live yesterday), and I love it! I can't wait to sink my teeth into the sequel!

    1. Happy Hour in Hell is fantastic though some of the "in Hell" bits are really... um... hellish!

  2. I am reading Unremembered. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. reading while it lasts by Abbi Glines

  4. I literally just finished Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara. Not the best in the series but still enjoyable :)

  5. I just finished Liar's Moon by Elizabeth C. Bunce. Good stuff! Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Reading "traveling with the dead" by Barbara Hambly - love your giveaway!