Abaddon Press, out now
The gods are on Earth – and boy, are they pissed!
Chuck Wendig kicks off a new series for Abaddon with this often startling tale, based around the idea that the pantheons of gods have been kicked out of their respective dwellings (by the Great Usurper), and are therefore trying to get by on Earth.
It starts off with what should be a normal day for bodyguard Cason – someone tries to eliminate his protectee – and becomes progressively weirder when he’s accused of murder. By people who, according to all the laws of physics, can’t do what they quite patently are doing.
As he tries to find the true murderer, Cason’s life is turned upside down as he realises that he can’t rely on anything that he’s taken for granted, and his only ally might be a taxi driver. But when people start to really press his buttons, he has to reach deep within himself… and that’s where the fun really begins.
Some writers describe emotions, and how they affect the characters; if a scene is well-written, you can become drawn in. Wendig’s writing style is sometimes vicious, but he taps into core emotions and feelings, and impales you on what he wants you to feel. Despair, love, hope, futility – they’re all here, and by the end, you do feel as if you’ve been through the wringer.
It’s a fast read: you need to know not only what happens next, but why it’s happening to Cason. Wendig sets up enough of the world for others to follow easily (Pat Kelleher’s ebook featuring Coyote, one of the characters featured in Unclean Spirits is also out), but doesn’t hem them in too much – a balancing act that isn’t always easy to achieve.
Verdict: It’s Wendig, so it’s not for the faint-hearted or those offended by four-letter words. And it’s Wendig – so it’s a solid well-told tale that will occasionally blindside you with insights you don’t necessarily expect to find in a pulp tale. 7/10