- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: DAW; 1 edition (Sept. 4 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0756407680
- ISBN-13: 978-0756407681
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.5 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 422 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #740,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Volume One of Bobby Dollar Hardcover – Sep 4 2012
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"Tad Williams is a huge inspiration for me.... His books are epic, exciting, and filled with fascinating characters. When it comes to inventing imaginary worlds, he’s as skilled as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert.... Tad Williams’ work is an essential part of any science fiction and fantasy library. I look forward to each new book he writes. If you like exciting, thought-provoking fiction, you owe it to yourself to give Tad a try." —Christopher Paolini, NYT bestselling author of Eragon
"Exhilarating action, fascinating characters, and high stakes will leave the reader both satisfied and eager for the next installment." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A tough, likeable hero and a multidimensional plot.... The author’s many fans as well as urban fantasy enthusiasts will enjoy Williams’s take on Heaven’s less desirable places as well as his wry humor and keen insights." —Library Journal (Starred Review)
"With a hint of detective noir, a colourful cast of characters and fast-paced, witty dialogue, The Dirty Secrets of Heaven is a fantastically fun read." —Amazon.co.uk (Editors' Pick)
"Williams does a brilliant job.... Made me laugh. Made me curious. Impressed me with its cleverness. Made me hungry for the next book. Kept me up late at night when I should have been sleeping." —Patrick Rothfuss, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Kingkiller Chronicle
"Part urban fantasy, part spy thriller, part hard-boiled adventure, The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a worthwhile and entertaining new addition to the genre, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Tad Williams takes us next time." —Tor.com
"The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a new breed of urban fantasy, gritty, unrelenting, and yet strangely human. The stakes are high, the costs are real, and all you've got to pay your way is Bobby Dollar." —Seanan McGuire, NYT bestselling author of Ashes of Honor
About the Author
Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide. His considerable output of epic fantasy and epic science fiction series, fantastical stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers. Tad always has several secret projects on the go. 2016 will see the debut of a number of them; March 2017 brings The Witchwood Crown, the first volume in the long-awaited return to the world of the Memory, Sorrow & Thorn novels. Tad and his family live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a suitably strange and beautiful house.
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But I am immediately intrigued by anything that Tad Williams has written, so I broke my rule and picked up "The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Volume One of Bobby Dollar." This isn't Williams at his most creative or eloquent, but it is a fun, snarky urban fantasy in the tradition of the Dresden Files (but with more trips to Heaven).
Bobby Dollar -- aka Doloriel -- is a lower-level angel in human form, living in the city of San Judas. His job is to argue on behalf of the newly dead, trying to get them to heaven despite the involvement of the Opposition (read: demons).
But when he's called to the site of a recent suicide, Bobby is aghast to find that the man's soul is MISSING. Then a demon prosecutor is brutally murdered on the same spot, and Hell has apparently decided that Bobby is the dude whodunnit. Even worse, someone has summoned a primordial ghallu to completely destroy Bobby.
As Bobby tries to unravel this mystery, he learns that both Heaven and Hell are in an uproar, because this isn't the first soul that's gone missing. And finding out the answer will reveal a shocking fact that will unsettle both sides of that cosmic battle -- assuming that Bobby isn't killed first.
"The Dirty Streets of Heaven" is probably Tad Williams' lightest book to date -- it's a snarky, snappy urban fantasy in the mold of the Dresden Files, but focusing just on angels and demons. The biggest influence is obviously Bobby Dollar himself, a naturally suspicious angel who tends to be cynical and kind of a loner.
The story slips along at a steady clip, with jaggedly clever prose ("the sun stabbing through the dusty blinds of the Royal Highway Motor Hotel like Norman Bates's favorite steak knife") and lots of dry wit. Throw in some alluring demons, a ravening monster and a grimy urban setting, and you have a recipe for fun fluff.
However, this isn't the best writing I've seen from Tad Williams, who is capable of soul-stirringly beautiful prose and complex plotting. It's not BAD -- in fact it's quite entertaining -- but it's nowhere near what he's capable of writing.
The part of the book that bothered me was the theology, which rarely seemed to make sense and was full of logical holes. It felt like Williams came up with two different versions of angels (one strange and alien, one "just people"), and smushed them together in one book. And his theological musings end up falling flat, because his angels are SO wildly unlike those of Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Bobby Dollar is definitely a character in the Harry Dresden mold -- he's snarky and witty, gets bashed around a lot, and has a reputation as a mistrustful troublemaker. Despite this, he has a good heart inside his fleshly form. There are also some interesting characters on both sides, such as the Countess of Cold Hands and Clarence/Harry, a young angel just starting out on the job.
"The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Volume One of Bobby Dollar" is a fun, action-packed read with some truly holey theology, but it's pretty light fare from an author like Tad Williams.
However, much to the consternation of all concerned, when all are gathered together after a new death it is found that the soul to be judged has completely disappeared. When this appears to be more than a one off occurrence the powers that be in heaven and hell are seriously concerned as the balance between the two is threatened.
As the advocate in the first missing soul case, Bobby is soon involved and is quickly caught up in an action packed investigation which pits him against various demons and other creatures from hell, as well as less physically threatening, but nonetheless challenging entities on his own side. An author creating his own unique environment in this way treads a very narrow dividing line and the whole thing can end up as seeming rather silly. However, to Tad Williams' credit the reader quickly gets caught up in the whole scenario which seems very believable and acceptable. Bobby Dollar is an extremely interesting character and his hard drinking, swearing and sometimes violent persona are quite far removed from what most would consider angelic behavior!
This is a story which really has everything. It never flags from the word go. Despite being quite long the reader's interest is engaged throughout. The ending is not at all predictable and we even have the unlikeliest of romances along the way. This is great stuff and happily we will not have to wait to long for more as apparently both Happy Hour in Hell and Sleeping Late on Judgement Day are in the works. They will certainly be high on my reading list.