Brief Review: The Damned Busters

One of side effects of a hospital stay like I had is that you get some time afterwards to recuperate. Shortly before I went into the hospital, I went to the bookstore and came out with a couple hundred dollars worth of books* to read during my convalescence.

One thing that caught my eye was Matthew Hughes' The Damned Busters. Personally I'm not much for the simplistic comic-book type illustration cover, but the text on the back is what sold the deal.

The premise, according to the back, is this: an actuary accidentally summons a demon while playing poker** and, through refusing to sell his soul, causes Hell to go on strike. To get Hell rolling again, the actuary is offered the Ultimate Deal -- and then goes into crime fighting.

Personally, the sequence of events covered by this, the first 90- or so pages, is nothing short of brilliant. The author makes several religious observations that I have made myself, although his conclusions and resulting story directions are nothing I'd contemplated. I found myself nodding along and laughing as he writes yet another thing that I'd argued myself.

Frankly after that, the rest of the story threatened to be a let down.

But being blessed with a lot of spare time right now I pushed through the next couple of dozen pages, and the resulting ride was worth it. I found myself captured again by the actuary's antics as The Actionary.

My endorsement can be summed up by saying I'm disappointed that I have to wait until April for the next installment.


* == and thanks to a couple of years of hoarding gift certificates, wasn't out any actual money for them.

** == Nit alert: he's actually in the process of manufacturing a poker table when the demon is summoned. The text on the back scans better, sure, but running into something like that on (thumb thumb thumb) page 13 is a bit jarring.