Thumbs up for Snake Agent by Liz Williams. Dark fantasy.
In a future only slightly beyond our own, Detective Chen of Singapore Three has a transit pass to Hell. He’s just trying to solve a murder; he ends up in a bloody, creative, darkly funny speculative fiction mess, working with a demon (buddy-cop style), pursued by demon lords, and trying to save his wife (also a demon). The characters are enjoyable – I particularly like the badger-teakettle – but really it’s the setting that sets this apart: you’ll feel like you stepped right off the boat into Hell. The editor in me wants to send the climax back with a stern note (“rewrite this but give the characters agency”) but whatever. Imagine you took a Gibson novel, swapped tech for magic, set it in East Asia and made most of the characters demons? It’s not without flaws, but I loved it.
“How did it happen?” Chen asked diffidently. He had never quite ceased to feel that this was a somewhat insensitive question, but the dead seemed to take a grisly enthusiasm in talking about their means of demise.
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