The Damned Busters by Matthew Hughes

Disclaimer : Matthew Hughes and I are not the same person. We are not related in any way whatsoever. I just really like his books and love of the written word.  

When Chesney Anstruther accidentally summons a demon while playing poker, he refuses to sell his soul.  Only … no one has ever refused to sell their soul before.  Chesney’s decision causes a few complications and ultimately leads to Hell going on strike.  Sin takes a holiday and nothing bad happens in the world which, as it turns out, is really bad.

Understandably upset, Satan offers Chesney his heart’s desire.   So Chesney does what any mild-mannered person would do – he becomes a superhero.

Underlying the plot of The Damned Busters is a theological theory pushed by one of the side-characters.  In it, God is Life’s Writer and existence as we know it is merely a draft.  It seems like a crackpot theory until Chesney refuses to sell his soul.  It gets others, both above and below and in-between questioning – if you can change the draft, then what else is possible?  That’s when things go to … well, you get the drift.

Chesney is a fun, easily likable character.  A high functioning autistic, he is most comfortable when surrounded by numbers and tends to see the world purchase neurontin canada that way.  Chesney has a simple sense of what’s right and wrong and as his tale continues, he learns that it’s not so simple.  There are plenty who wish to use him for their own purposes on both Earth and in Heaven and Hell.  Throw in a few love interests and Chesney is quickly in over his head.

There’s a bevy of supporting characters, none of whom is more interesting than Xaphan, Chesney’s demon sidekick (well, more like the being who gives him his super powers).  Xaphan’s last foray into the world of men was during Al Capone’s time and he carries over the same attitude.  Chesney’s guilt-tripping mother and her preacher idol are two of the other better characters though I have to admit, I felt little for either of Chesney’s love interests.

Hughes’ humor is light and the story is full of witty passages and descriptions.  Fans of Terry Pratchett would get a kick out of it.  On top of that, The Damned Busters is a fast, urban fantasy read.  The sequel, Costume Not Included, is already out from Angry Robot with the third, Hell to Pay due out in March.

Author: Matthew Hughes

Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound

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