Review Date: May 21st, 2012
After accidentally summoning a demon while playing poker, the normally mild-mannered Chesney Arnstruther 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!
Entertaining, funny, and at times thought-provoking, this unique story had a strong group of characters, including a socially-awkward superhero and his demon sidekick, whom I followed, despite the occasional copy-edit error, through the twists of the plot with unfaltering curiosity.
The demon’s sudden appearance, along with a puff of malodorous smoke and a short-lived burst of flame, took Chesney Arnstruther by surprise.
- “The young man glanced at the document. His first thought was that its author must have learned penmanship from a seismograph…
- …in a voice that would have suited a little girl, provided she was also a fiend from Hell.
- How can we be sure that benefit and misery cancel each other out? … Maybe an ounce of misery is worth a pound of happiness.
- He’s written Himself into a corner. When that happens, it’s up to the characters to save the story.
- I do not manage Hell,” said the Archfiend. “I reign over it.
- …a wise writer follows where [characters] lead. Characters make stories. The writer creates them then puts them down in an arena called the blank page and lets them go at each other full rip. They have to go at each other because they are really just bundles of attributes — characteristics — that guarantee they’re going to collide with each other. So you get conflict, and out of that conflict comes story. A good writer trusts his characters enough to let them be who they are. You let them do what they do, because what they do is who they are. The author is never on surer ground than when his characters are doing what their natures demand they do…
- For all Hell’s reputation as a hot place, the look [Satan] gave the [Angel] could have frozen a bonfire.
- He realized it was necessary for him to say something that would salvage the situation, but the only utterance that was available was not up to the task.
- …had a soft voice, the kind that’s often developed by people who have no doubt that whatever comes out of their mouths is going to be listened to.
- His attempts to learn to drive had been thwarted by his tendency to focus excessively on particular details of the process rather than on the overall aim of guiding the vehicle safely through streets full of other moving vehicles. His instructors could not rely on his being able to grasp that adjusting the side mirror to the precisely correct angle was more important than noting the color of the traffic lights at an upcoming intersection.
- …both of them dropped like suits that have slid from their hangers.
- …but he had learned from experience that things that sounded fine in his head often had a different-than-expected effect when he said them out loud — especially when the remark was uttered in the presence of an attractive girl.
- The demon gave him a surprisingly wry look for a saucer-eyed weasel.
- …when it came to raising a forbidding digit, his own efforts were but a wan and sickly imitation of the original that now quivered before his face. And though his words, when he formed them in his mind, might seem as short and sharp as … daggers … they were no more than paper airplanes thrown at the prow of a battleship when they went up against [his mother].
- Make some gun noises.” // “Bang, bang,” said the demon. // “Real gun noises.
- …the man had finally settled on a multisyllabic accusation of incest which he kept repeating in a steadily rising pitch…
- She said it in a way that told Chesney the double entendre was doubly intended.
- …when faced with a lack of manners, the good-mannered person carried on as if the burden of polite behavior was being equally shared.
- …advice that he who raised his voice had already lost the argument.
- Chesney was fairly sure there was sarcasm behind the question, but sarcasm had always been, to him, like a shade of blue to the color-blind.
- “You call me a cheat?” The Devil’s eyes narrowed. // “I call you the one who invented cheating.“
Find this review helpful?
Clicking an affiliate link below helps to support our site and continue to bring you quality reviews! Learn More