By Richard Kadrey
”After a while, no matter how messed up it is, everything becomes normal.”
Spyder is an ordinary, kinda-sorta ne’er-do-well tattoo artist. He was out drinking one night with his best friend, Lulu, when he was attacked by a demon, and his whole life turned upside down. He was saved by a blind warrior woman named Shrike, and his eyes were opened to the angels and demons and everything-in-betweens that existed around him. When Shrike needs his help on a quest, he goes along (mostly willingly) for several reasons: first, what else is he supposed to do now that he can see all the things that go bump in the night? Second, he’d like to keep fucking her. Third, the woman who sent them on the quest told Spyder that she could remove his ability to see the hidden creatures around him so that he could go back to having a normal life. Four, the friend of the demon that Shrike killed to save his ass spread it around town that Spyder was a child molester, so he clearly couldn’t stay at home. Oh, and by the way, the quest leads directly to Hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Yeah.
So, after reading a few Kadrey books, I’ve come to a few conclusions. One, Kadrey has a soft spot for formerly asshole punk kids who grow up into mostly decent (though still pretty asshole punkish) adults. Two, he’s awesome at writing strong female characters, which isn’t really something I notice most of the time; I’m much more inclined to notice when the female characters weak and whiny parodies of themselves. Three, he thinks the Devil is a victim of bad PR. And four, he likes shoving magical keys into the chests of his protagonists.
If Neverwhere and American Gods had a hard drinking, smoking, swearing baby covered in tattoos, they would’ve named it Butcher Bird.
P.S. Before you get that Celtic or Nordic or whatever rune as your next tattoo, you might just want to make sure it’s not a demon’s sigil first. Just sayin’.
Buy It: If you liked Sandman Slim, you’ll like Butcher Bird. There are quite a few similarities but not nearly enough for you to be bored before you get 20 pages in. Kadrey is dark, snarky urban fantasy at its best.
Night Shade Books
$14.95 (Paperback), 256 pages