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The Demon And The City: A Detective Inspector Chen Novel by Liz Williams
Review by Gayle Surrette
Night Shade Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 1597800457
Date: 15 August, 2006 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Meanwhile Irzh continues to investigate and interrogates Jhai Tserai, a Paugeng heiress, and finds his control of his sexual appetite is not as strong as he thought or Jhai is not as she seems. There are a lot of threads that interweave: Irzh was responsible for a feng shui practitioner, Paravang Roche, loosing his license; Robin Yuan, who was Deveth's girlfriend, works for Jhai Tserai; Mhara, who is an experimental person, is being tested upon by Robin; Senditreya, the Goddess of the feng shui practitioners, seems to be missing; Kuan Yin, the Goddess that Inspector Chen prays to, is also absent; and heaven seems to be unreachable.

From page one, we're dropped into this strange city with real gods and goddesses, where denizens of Hell can get a work permit and visa and come to Singapore Three. The dead can call you up and tell you about their day in hell or heaven if they want. It's confusing but internally consistent so you eventually get your bearings for the story but since the major character Irzh isn't used to Singapore Three and its customs and mores either, you can sympathize with his confusion. It seems the Chinese mythos is real, and people live in it in Singapore Three. Only, as usually, the myth and the reality are a bit different in application.

While it is a mystery and there is a murder and therefore a murderer to find, you learn who did it early on and the rest of the book deal with the underlying problem. Someone is trying to drive heaven into closing its doors and ignoring us. Together Irzh and Chen must find and stop a Goddess from upsetting the status quo and throwing the world into chaos.

The world is vividly realized and the characters each have interesting quirks and personalities. There is plenty to like about this world in its off kilter weirdness and plenty to thank your lucky stars that you won't have to deal with it -- pay the company a fee for every day I'm out sick, I don't think so. I hadn't read the first book with Inspector Chen but found that I could follow the story line and the characters without difficulty. It's a well written book that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next especially to find out what weird thing this world will have happen next.


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