I LOVE it when I decide to purchase a book on a whim, without ever hearing of the author or the books, and it turning out to be a really good book. I was browsing around Barnes and Noble a while ago and they had this book and its sequel, Costume Not Included, on one of the display racks. I read the description of the first book, The Damned Busters, and decided it sounded fun enough and bought it.
Chesney Anstruther accidentally summons a demon one night, and when he refuses to sell his soul it sets off a volatile situation in which Hell goes on strike. Bad things stop happening everywhere, which turns out to be a very bad thing. To try to get his demons back to work, Satan comes up and strikes a bargain with Chesney, which results in him having personal use of the demon Xaphan for two hours everyday to fulfill his heart’s desire: to be a crime-fighting superhero!
This book hooked me in from the very first page. Chesney is a fun character – he’s a bit of a beta male, but he’s also a numbers whiz and pretty clever – almost to a fault. He’s a nice guy though, and I liked seeing him think his way through social interactions and his crime-fighting ways. He loves his comics, and all he wants to do is be a good guy superhero and help fight bad guys. The fact that he has to team up with a demon to do this is hilarious, and I ended up really liking Xaphan – who talks like a 1920’s gangster. But it turns out fighting crime may not be as simple as Chesney was thinking…
There’s also a bit of a religious plot underneath everything that I’m really liking – obviously, since Hell is involved. I don’t want to spoil it for you because it’s a really inventive and unique idea, so you should just read it and see for yourself.
A shy guy who dresses up and fights crime, a gangster-slang talkin’ demon, tension between Heaven and Hell, various dames that may or may not need rescuing – seriously, this book has a lot of weird stuff that comes together in a pretty awesome way. I flew through this book in just a couple days, and I think I’m going to go to Barnes and Noble today to pick up the sequel*. It was THAT good. And according to the publisher’s site, the third book will be out later this year / early next year. I’m already eagerly awaiting it.
Also, I’m a little sad to see that this book doesn’t have many reviews on Amazon, so I’m purposely going to post my review there. I rarely post my reviews on Amazon, but I really think this book and author deserve the praise!
Sarah Says: 4 stars
*So I did go to Barnes & Noble to pick it up, and about 15 minutes before I got there they had just scanned that section for returns. Matthew Hughes’ books were on the returns list, so they MOS’d it and stripped off the cover. I was SO SAD. If only I had read this book a little sooner I could have saved that copy of the sequel from being destroyed. So I guess I’ll have to order it now.