Costume Not Included by Matthew Hughes


Remember how much I gushed about the cool book called The Damned Busters? And then I went toΒ buy the sequel and they had JUST gotten rid of it before I got there and I was so sad? Well I went and ordered it online and started reading it the same day it came in the mail, so here we are!

Costume Not Included is book 2 of the To Hell and Back series and picks up just a couple weeks after the events of the first book. (So you know, SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK, GO READ THAT ONE FIRST THEN COME BACK HERE.)

Chesney is enjoying his crime-fighting and spending time with his first girlfriend ever, Melda and life is pretty good. That is, until his mother starts harping on him to come read what her boyfriend, the Reverend Hardacre, has been writing – The Book of Chesney, in which Chesney becomes the next big prophet and helps restructure the world. Between trying to find and fight crime, telling everyone that he doesn’t want to be a prophet, and trying to keep his girlfriend and mother from tearing each other apart, Chesney has his hands full.

So, this book was still a lot of fun – but admittedly, less than the first book. There was a lot less of Xaphan, which made me sad. His 1920’s gangsta-talking ways crack me up. For instance, this scene between Chesney and him:

“Is there anything you aren’t telling me?” he said.

The enlarged weasel eyes looked at him sideways. “Yes.”


The demon began ticking off its stubby fingers: “The median annual temperature in Timbuktu, the middle name of the guy who stocks the meat cooler at the Safeway on Route 44, the measurements of the winner and first runner-up in last year’s Miss Universe pageant, the-“

“That’s not what I meant!”

“That’s a relief,” said the fiend. “We coulda been here all night.”


Also, Chesney kind of lets himself fade into the background and trusts Melda to make most decisions for him. The religion subplot (that God is just an author who is constantly re-writing a book – a book in which we are all just the characters) was still unique, but started to take a confusing turn when Hardacre’s plan to turn Chesney into a prophet was added in.

Overall, this was still a really enjoyable book about good guy Chesney just trying to save the day, and I am SO excited that the third book, Hell to Pay, comes out in February the day before my birthday. I’ll obviously be buying it the day it comes out!


Sarah Says: 3.5 stars






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