I’ve been reading Matthew Hughes’ books for a few years. I am a big fan of his Archonate novels, which are far-future science fictions stories in the vein of Jack Vance. He’s started a new series with Angry Robot Books about a superhero who gets his power from a pact with the devil. I like to try new things, so I picked up a copy and gave it a read.
Damned Busters opens up with our mild-mannered protagonist, Chesney, accidentally summoning a demon. Thanks to Chesney’s rather strict upbringing he knows better than to sell his soul, so he sends the demon packing and goes about his business. Unfortunately, things aren’t that easy and soon Chesney learns that Hell has gone on strike and the Devil is blaming him personally. In return for his help in settling Hell’s labor dispute, Chesney makes a deal to fulfill his dream of being a costumed crime-fighter.
So now our socially-inept actuary is a super hero with a demon for a sidekick. He fights a bit of crime and gets involved in a lot of trouble. The story is full of well drawn stereotypes, but that actually works well in the context of a man discovering that life isn’t as straightforward as his comic book fantasies. There is a meta narrative here too that is actually quite clever, but you’ll have to read the book to see it.
I’m looking forward to the next book in Chesney’s adventures. Matthew is a great writer and one of my favorite relatively unknown authors. Do yourself a favor and give him a try. I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.