I have to start this review with this fact; I love Tad Williams’ books. So if this review reads as though it has been written by a fanboy, I have at least warned you.
The Dirty Streets of Heaven revolves around the angel Doloriel, who is known on Earth as Bobby Dollar. Bobby works as an advocate for the recently deceased in the city of San Judas. He and his best friend, Sam, defend the dead person’s soul in a celestial court room where it is decided whether the soul is going to Heaven or Hell. The prosecutors are demons from Hell.
As Sam takes an apprentice of sorts in the young angel Clarence, Bobby gets called in to defend the soul of Edward L. Walker. Bobby shows up at the man’s house, but as he gets there he gets a strange message; the soul is missing. This starts a chain of events that drags Bobby deeper and deeper into a dark conspiracy and close to a new war between Heaven and Hell.
This book automatically gave me a feeling of stepping into a film noir or into a 40s detective novel. Williams has chosen to write the story as though it is a memoir and the dark and damp streets almost leap of the page. It has all the elements of a good film noir; a deadly femme fatale in the Countess of Cold Hands, a loyal friend and confidant in Sam, the young and innocent man in Clarence and the old love interest in the angel Monica.
Hell’s minions are cast almost as the wise guys in your typical 40s detective novel. They have you basic thug in Howlingfell, the duplicitous Grasswax and the boss himself Eligor. The deeper Bobby goes, the more questions are raised and his loyalty to Heaven is questioned by himself and others.
I loved every part of the book and the more I read it, the harder it was to put away, as it often is with Tad Williams’ books. I can highly recommend taking your time and do as I did, love every page.