Bill Tankersley lives in hell--literally. Damned for killing himself after a serial killer gunned down his wife, Bill spends his days in Hellcity working in a bacon cookery and attending remorse sessions in which he relives his sins with a diabolical social worker. When a beautiful female demon from Lucifer's executive branch asks him to investigate the devil's mysterious disappearances and personality shifts, Bill refuses... until he learns he really doesn't have a choice. While in-fighting and coup plots ripple through Lucifer's cabinet, a human anarchist group is attacking police demons downtown, and somehow all this centers on Bill's wife, who runs an orphanage in Heaventown. A playful and smart homage to city life and Chandler-style noir, the story sometimes gropes for a focus; it's difficult to know who to root for. Flood's artwork is sleek and elegant when Bill meets the demon who will lead him into her world of politics and power, then ragged and bold when he fights for his life in the chaos of lower Hellcity. Blair's wry humor is just right for a story that depends on mythological and religious allusion for its power, yet cannot take itself completely seriously. Illus. (Aug.)
Joe Flood is a journalist who has spent the last seven years- since before his graduation from Harvard-researching the facts and implications of the epidemic of fires that swept through New York City in the 1970s.