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Gods and Monsters: Unclean Spirits (Gods & Monsters) by Chuck Wendig
Review by Drew Bittner
Abaddon Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781781080962
Date: 07 May 2013 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Cason Cole's a guy with not much left to lose. Serving a man he hates, his bid for freedom comes out of the blue--but he's only getting into worse trouble than he could ever have imagined.

In Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits, Chuck Wendig delves into a shadowy world occupied by the gods of ancient times--Greek, Roman, Norse and more--all of whom are exiled to Earth in the wake of a betrayal by Yahweh. At the center of the story is Cason Cole, whose life was saved by a strange man named Mr. Ros; the price was the love of his wife and child, as well as unlimited years of servitude. For the former cage fighter nicknamed "the Beast", it sounded like the only way out.

A few years later, what seemed like salvation is nothing but a trap. When an odd intruder succeeds in an impossible mission, Cason finds he is free--but it turns out that a very large number of unknown enemies want him dead--fast. The horrifically mutilated Frank Polcyn, aka Cicatrix, seems like Cason's only hope of understanding the lay of the land and solving his problems.

Thing is, Frank has his own agenda and it might not agree with Cason's long-term well being.

Frank guides Cason into the underground world of castoff deities, describing how these supernatural creatures casually destroy the lives of millions for their own entertainment. But even as he offers insight to Cason, he's setting him up for something--and they come to a parting of ways.

Cason isn't without potential allies, even so, and the trickster known as Coyote gets involved, leading Cason's ex-wife on a mission of her own. Meanwhile, a Greek demigoddess seeks answers of her own from Cason, and the dead Mr. Ros's mother takes matters savagely in hand.

Everything hinges on a missile silo, beneath which lies a path to something very, very old and powerful--the center of much conflict, in fact. Cason's destiny awaits deep underground; he must risk everything, including a shot at regaining his wife and son, if he wants to understand the truth--and face his greatest challenge.

Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits is full of testosterone, vengeance, deities behaving badly, and a look into the afterworld unlike any the reader is likely to have seen. Wendig powers the book with his trademark gusto, offering up a protagonist who is less hero than survivor, amid a collection of the divine and the demonic straight out of world mythology. He keeps the pace fast, the characterization fitting to the action, and the twists moderate but devious. In all, it's a great story about exiled gods feeding their bitterness on Earth and fighting against each other, when a new threat--a godslayer named Cason--offers them a reason to band together.

And tough as he is, not even Cason wants that kind of opposition.

Fun, fast and yet memorable, it's a great new novel from Chuck Wendig.

Recommended.

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