It’s not rare for editors to work on books we love – in fact, if we’re acquiring and editing books we don’t love, it means something is wrong. With first novels, we have the luxury (usually) of reading a whole manuscript before making an offer and editing the book. But with sequels… we may have seen a synopsis, we may know the author’s writing style and track record, but there’s always that thrill of anticipation. That feeling that we’re going to open up the manuscript and find familiar characters – but also something entirely new and unexpected. More than that, it’s the excitement of finding out that not only does book two build on the world of book one – it blows it out of the water.
And that’s exactly why I can’t recommend Devil in the Wires to you highly enough. Tim Lees’ Field Ops novels can be hard to pin down – they’re contemporary fantasies. They’re urban fantasies, when it comes down to it. They’re thrillers. They’re inspired by film noir. They’re fast-paced, and equal parts hilarious and terrifying. But with this second novel, Tim has created something really special. This book grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go. It adds more depth and personality to some old characters, and introduces some new ones who are rich and interesting and complex.
Devil in the Wires is Constantine meets Office Space. Protagonist Chris Copeland works for the Registry, a faintly evil (but not exactly villainous) company that captures gods to be recycled as energy. After the not-so-easy extraction of an ancient and powerful god in Iraq, Chris finds himself drawn into a new company venture: the Registry is building a god-house to contain the god Chris has just captured. They’re going to use it to supply Chicago with electricity. And they want Chris to oversee the facility. Chris, company troubleshooter, is not convinced that this is a good idea. And with good reason, because all too soon, bodies start turning up on the shores of Lake Michigan.
All of that combines to something that feels real. Tim may be a British author living in Chicago, but he knows his new city – the ins and outs, the atmosphere, the type of people who live there – the things that make it special. By the time I finished my final edits on this book, I felt like I’d really been there. And not only that – I was sorry to let these characters go. I’ve never come across a character with a pithier, more spot-on way of looking at the world. He’s skeptical about the motives of his colleagues, pessimistic and a little put-upon. But he also hasn’t lost sight of the fact that he works with gods. Literally. And that respect for his job makes him good at it.
And then there’s Angel, Chris’s publicist girlfriend, who’s not afraid to tell things like they are, and whose goofy pit bull Riff adds a bit of fun; Woollard, a straight-arrow Chicago detective who suspects things may not be as under control as the Registry would have everyone believe; and Shailer, a Registry executive who just might be a touch out of his depth. With every new character, I found myself becoming more and more immersed in this fantastically creative, captivating world. I hope you’ll find you love this book as much as I do!
from Rebecca Lucash, editor at Harper Voyager Impulse