This book was quite a ride! I find that I’m reading slower and slower as I get older, but this is a slim volume (115 pages), and I had set aside a few evenings for reading it. But once I started it, I couldn’t put it down, and 90 minutes later I had finished it, feeling as if I had just spent an hour and a half on the world’s wildest roller coaster.

Ford and Neuland are assassins. As the book opens, they are in New York City, waiting for their mark. Nothing unusual there.

Except Ford and Neuland aren’t your ordinary assassins. One is living, and one is undead. The living one kills the undead and the undead one kills the living. And it’s no mistake that their job often involves the undead. When their job goes pear-shaped, they clear out and head for the west coast, deciding to let things lie low for a while before they return.

Unable to find work in Los Angeles, they decide to head north to San Francisco. Once there, they meet Tilda, who works for a mysterious Mr. Mansfield. As it turns out, Mr. Mansfield has long had need of someone like Ford and Neuland, and had sent Tilda out to find someone who does what they do.

Mr. Mansfield has a pale house, and the pale house has a devil. Ford and Neuland agree to the job, and as they do so, they uncover a long history of blood, treachery, and just pure greed and evil.

This book was fun from the first page. It has well-developed characters (no small feat in so slim a book), the dialogue is convincing, and the action is fast-paced and manages to surprise at every turn. There is a more than a touch of the macabre in it, as well. And the evil in the book is not always what it seems. For such a short book, it is packed with surprises. I will certainly be looking for other books by Richard Kadrey.

Works Cited

Kadrey, Richard. The Pale House Devil. London: Titan Books, 2023. Book.

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