Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Snake Agent

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snake Agent (2005) Liz Williams

The Detective Inspector Chen series popped up as an Amazon ebook deal of the day, and I love this series so much I snatched them up as ebooks. (In my defense, my copies are all trade paperbacks.)

Detective Inspector Chen is in charge of crimes that stretch into Heaven and Hell (obviously, far more cases involve Hell over heaven) and as an occult practitioner whose patronage of the goddess Kuan Yin affords him a measure of protection when he has to travel to Hell. Unfortunately, his recent marriage has put him on the outs with his Goddess, and he can’t rely upon her protections right now.

The case begins with a woman wants the police to look into the death of her daughter–not the cause of her death, but the fact that she currently seems to be residing in Hell, rather than in Heaven where she belongs.

In addition to Chen, we meet Inari, Chen’s wife, the Teakettle (I love the teakettle), Shu Irzh, a member of the Vice squad in Hell, and Sergaent Ma, a member of Chen’s squad who wants nothing to do with the supernatural.

These are such marvelous characters, I love spending time with them.

And the world–it’s the end of the twenty-first century, and technology–especially the bioweb has allowed communication between the world and Heaven and Hell. But somehow, the knowledge that Heaven and Hell both truly exist hasn’t change humanity very much.

“That’s the trouble with Heaven: the only thing it ever rewards is impeccability, and so few of us are capable of that, aren’t we?”

But, of course, humanity on most levels remains unchanged.

Books lined the walls, but when Chen, unable to resist the habit of a lifetime, went over to investigate he realized that all but a few were fakes: welded together into a single indigestible mass of artificial leather and plastic. He wondered fleetingly what possible satisfaction would be gleaned from such fraudulent erudition.

That passage in articular struck me, because books set in the Victorian era also sometimes have fake libraries (or at least unread ones).

This is fantasy and mystery and horror, but weirdly, the things that I found horrific weren’t the demons and Hell, but the overpopulation and the bioweb. Those are things that are possibly inevitable, and I find disturbing.

Hell was as much as one would expect.

The trouble with Hell, Zhu Irzh reflected bitterly, was not so much the palpable miasma of evil (with which he was, after all, ingrained) but the bureaucracy.

“You have television here?” he whispered to Zhu Irzh. Somehow, this was an aspect of Hell that had passed him by. The demon merely grinned.

“Who do you think invented it?”

snake-agent-oldI will admit, however, that I much prefer the original covers for this series.

Isn’t that gorgeous?

I know this is a result of the implosion of Night Shade Books, but although the new covers are nice, they’re nowhere near as gorgeous as the first ones. So as I re-read this series, I’ll show you the original covers, so you can appreciate them.

I enjoyed this story as much this time as I did the first, so I highly recommend checking out the Detective Inspector Chen series.
Rating: 8.5/10
Published by Open Road Media


Categories: 8.5/10, 8/10, Asian, Fantasy, Mystery, Police, Supernatural     Comments (0)    

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