When Heaven, Hell and Birmingham collide.........
Clovenhoof is the first in a series of books (four so far with a fifth in the works) and if this is anything to go by it will be a very enjoyable series indeed. The main idea for the story is that Satan has been fired from his job in Hell for Gross Incompetence and exiled to the suburbs of Birmingham where he is expected to live as a mere mortal .......oh, if only things were that simple.
As you would expect from the Prince of Darkness, he isn't going to take this lying down. He has tricks up his sleeve and ruses a plenty and with the help of his neighbours, the bookish, slightly nerdy - actually, lets be fair, very nerdy - Ben and the man-hungry Nerys he plans to get back to where he belongs.
Clovenhoof (which is the new name given to Satan on his exile - Jeremy Clovenhoof) works well as a character. He struggles to adapt to his new life where nobody (apart from the barman at his local) recognises him. He needs his new friends to guide him in his new life and tries to be a friend himself but is still the sneaky, crafty type you would expect but he never really comes across as Evil Incarnate - just ........a bit naughty.
Add to this an overcrowding problem in heaven, generally shown through scenes from a series of committee meetings and there is a good little backstory to keep you thinking.
As a story this reminded me very much of Tom Holt in its' style and craziness. There is a lot going on and just when you think you may have read the daftest thing ever the next scene will come along and prove you wrong. There are 410 pages and sometimes a story of this ilk can feel stretched over this length but with Clovenhoof that is certainly not the case. I got through this in three days solely because once I put it down I was itching to get back to it. Just one small point to finish on - for a book written by two people I couldn't see the seam. There was no point where it felt like 'this was written by one person and this by another' so bravo to both for a job well done.
Jeremy Clovenhoof - rogue, rascal, sneak, untrustworthy, former Prince of Hell - and one of the best damn comic leads in a long time.