This book kept popping up on my Amazon account as a recommendation so I thought I would give it a shot. It’s not bad.
The afterlife is overcrowded and measures are taken to improve the situation. Those measures fail and the Devil gets fired. He ends up in a medium sized city in England living in an apartment and harassing his flatmates.
I didn’t quite understand why they were introducing themselves as flatmates which I always thought was synonymous with roommate, when they lived in separate apartments. It seems like it is a building with four apartments that each person owns? As an American I was a little confused, but I guess it is similar to a condo association in that you have to work with your neighbors to some extent because of shared space.
There are two authors and their attempts to cowrite it via email are noticeable in the kind of choppy uneven plot points. They are aiming for farce, but end up somewhere near misadventure. Of course this version of the devil is more a boorish brat who’s version of torment is to just really annoy other people. Since he is just a neighbor and not a roommate, I don’t know why the other tenants build relationships with him, but there would be no story if they didn’t.
Angels Michael and Peter make appearances as does a host of other deceased catholic icons and are portrayed as petty people with petty problems. There is a Mcguffin of a dead body and his vengeful spirit, but the author’s stick to pettiness as a way to avoid dragging the overall light tone of the book down.
Since the authors chose to base characters around the more famous residents of heaven as opposed to creating new characters, it takes an appearance of the almighty to clean up the mess.
This is my major issue with the book. There is nothing new in this story; Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman did it way better in Good Omens. So did Kevin Smith in Dogma. Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage did it slightly worse in City of Angels. The trick to writing a good “fish out of water” story involving angels and/or demons is to focus on minions. The unnamed legions of angels who can be petty, boring and easily manipulated because they aren’t in charge of anything. When you come out the gate with the Devil being cast out of hell, you should really up your game a bit. Even the tv show Lucifer, of which I have seen exactly one episode, has him at least being a bit intimidating.
This devil is not scary, the angels are not inspiring and their version of the afterlife sounds worse than being stuck in traffic on the way to a music festival. I read the whole book, it wasn’t bad. It was just like eating the store brand version of oreo cookies. Sure you still get cookies but not the good cookies.