Review: The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar #1) by Tad Williams

September 21, 2012 Review 0

The Dirty Streets of Heaven

(Bobby Dollar, #1)
by Tad Williams

Genre: Urban Fantasy |
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer:  Yes
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Publisher

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover; September 4, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 0756407680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756407681


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.

Sexual Content

Sex scenes.


Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.

When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D.End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get—in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them.

You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Brace yourself—the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.


Sam Spade with a tarnished halo, the dame who walks into Bobby Dollar’s life has a hint of brimstone to go along with her perfume. Though Bobby’s day to day angelic duties are more Law and Order than P. I. work, when a soul turns up missing he is forced to go off the reservation and start investigating things on his own.

It took me a chapter or so to get used to Bobby’s noire point of view, but his turn of a phrase had me laughing out loud almost immediately.  I was really hooked once the focus moved from how the immediately-after-life works to pounding the pavement in search of answers.   Unfortunately, angelic politics frame the beginning and end of this book, which means I only found the middle completely engrossing.

Angels in urban fantasy are a tricky business for me, and while the character dynamic of THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN had me laughing out loud, the afterlife machinations that had Bobby Dollar on the run never really made sense. Williams writes convincingly of angels as “human” workers, advocating to win souls without nitpicking on moral matters, but it’s still unclear how these flawed foot soldiers fit in to the greater celestial picture. That uncertainty is find over the course of the series, but that meant that the mystery/action portion of THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN didn’t evoke an emotional response from me.

All of the supporting characters around Bobby are a little shady, from his buddy Sam to his ex-girlfriend to the new kid or the demonic temptress that he can’t stop thinking about.  I liked the uncertainty of not knowing if Bobby were making the right decisions on who to trust.  Williams doesn’t tie any of the these relationships up with a bow, which means all of the uncertainty and questions in THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN will provide character driven conflict for book two.  Though book one wasn’t quite enough to have me emotionally on the hook, I’m definitely looking forward to HAPPY HOUR IN HELL next year.

Similar Titles

Would you like to be reviewed on All Things Urban Fantasy? Request a Review

Comments are closed.