Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hell by Robert Olen Butler

"From Broadcast Central in the Great Metropolis where all rivers converge, all storms make a beeline, and all the levees look a little fragile, it's the Evening News from Hell."

This sounds quirky to the uninitiated, right? But for those who have quirkiness surging through their veins, they roll their eyes and mutter, read that. You would think that as the book is called Hell, the writer wouldn't necessarily need to establish setting, but instead just roll out some conflict.

 It continues thus:

"And now here's your anchorman, looking a little fragile himself, Hatcher McCord." The voice of Beelzebub, Satan's own station manager, mellifluously fills Hatcher McCord's head from the feed in his ear.

This sounds weird and fun, though slightly overwritten. All these lines do is establish the tone of the book. This is important, but not enough to hook someone who reads tons and must choose between this and, say, The Demonologist. We don't have anything that hooks except an unusual setting - which isn't so unusual for anyone who reads too much Edward Lee. That is to say: Hell is cliche or kitsch - take your pick.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globrid

No comments:

Post a Comment