Sleeping Late On Judgement Day: A Bobby Dollar Novel
by Tad Williams
Cover Artist: Photo: Getty Images / The Image Bank
Review by Drew Bittner
DAW Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756408893
Date: 02 September 2014 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
In Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, Tad Williams continues the story of Bobby Dollar, aka Doloriel, angel-advocate for the dead. His job is making the case for sending the souls of the deceased to heaven, while his demonic counterpart argues the opposite. It's not his job that's the problem, it's everything else in Bobby's life.
Living and working in the city of San Judas, California, Bobby is now back from a trip to Hell and a failed effort to free his girlfriend, Casamira. Given that she's a demon, he's keeping that bit of info off his bosses' radar. But he's earned someone's wrath, as a cult of magic-obsessed neo-Nazis is after him, thinking he has a supernatural artifact.
Unfortunately for Bobby, trouble with the bosses (especially an archangel who appears to be up to some shady business) means he cannot go to his friends, and his usual allies are running for the hills. He's left with a pair of honest-to-God Amazons, long-distance help from a cybergenius werepig, and his trademark determination. Oh, and maybe a little coaching from a scholar who knows way more about Heaven and Hell than he should.
At least his old enemy Eligor the Horseman, a Grand Duke of Hell, isn't actively trying to destroy him. Or is he? A fateful message may suggest that Hell is keeping a much closer eye on Bobby Dollar than he suspected.
Caught between Heaven and Hell, with old friends suddenly going cold and a noose rapidly tightening around his neck, Bobby may be forced to make the ultimate Hail Mary play--involving a break in at a museum, a battle against hellish monsters, some trust issues and those pesky neo-Nazis again--and if it all goes wrong, he might be getting a much longer visit in Hell than he had last time.
Williams continues his engaging, engrossing "angelpunk" series by making things far worse for his hero. Bobby has rarely been on top of the world, but by making him a target of several enemies, plus putting his girlfriend far out of reach, Williams outdoes himself in the category of really sticking it to the good guy. (Which is great, otherwise how would Bobby triumph over impossible odds?)
He's also stripped Bobby of his usual comforts, including the circle of earthbound angels at the Compasses, his favorite bar and hang out. Bobby's isolation only grows when he decides he cannot trust the young angel Clarence (aka Harrison) and falls out with his best buddy Sam (who kept a lot from Bobby back in the day but is now angry about Bobby keeping secrets--see, angels can be hypocrites too!). He's forced to rely on newcomers, who have their own agendas and may become rivals as quickly as they became allies.
The action is fast paced but the story takes its time to develop, as small bits of the puzzle slowly accumulate. Bobby is not a natural detective, having to work his way through laboriously what a Sherlock Holmes might grasp intuitively, but he gets results (albeit usually with some blood loss along the way). He remains an engaging hero, even when at his lowest ebb, and Williams provides plenty of work for Bobby, smiting evil, foiling the plans of the bad guys, and living under a cloud of suspicion that never quite goes away.
If angelic urban fantasy is your thing, this one's definitely for you.