Book Review: Sleeping Late on Judgement Day

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams, Bobby Dollar #3

Bobby Dollar thinks he's seen it all - after all, he's been to Hell and back again. Literally.

But he has another thing coming. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day will find Bobby back in his adopted hometown of San Judas, California, trying to stay out of trouble... and failing. His love life is still a mess, there are one too many people who have it out for him, and drowning his sorrows in a nice glass of whiskey won't keep the demons at bay forever.

Bobby's going to have to pull himself together and make a few tough decisions before time runs out. The problem is, time could run out at any moment. In the final Bobby Dollar novel in Tad Williams' groundbreaking epic fantasy trilogy, fallen angel Bobby Dollar will finally be force to confront the one problem he can't talk his way out of: his own.

2012 saw the release of the first book, The Dirty Streets of Heaven, in Tad Williams new trilogy: Bobby Dollar. This trilogy hallmarked a new direction for Tad Williams, his venture into Urban Fantasy. Tad Williams is the best selling author of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Otherland and The Shadowmarch Quartet and many others. I have been a long time fan from his works and so far the Bobby Dollar series, with The Dirty Street of Heaven and Happy Hour in Hell have been one big blast to read. Where I do have to give an extra praise for is that the Bobby Dollar series is tight on schedule, all three books were released with only a year in between! So no hidden surprises with longer waits or anything. This is how a series has to be published. Ok that on the side. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is the third and final book in the trilogy. You know, I actually felt bad picking up this book as it would mean saying goodbye to Bobby and Sam and Caz and the mule and Eligor and a lot more memorable characters. I do have to say, once you start be sure to strap yourself in because you will be in for one crazy, wild and terrific ride with Bobby once more...

Bobby's life so far hasn't been great. In the first book The Dirty Streets of Heaven you were introduced to the Angel Doloriel or also known by the name Bobby Dollar, an advocate for Heaven. When someone dies he and an advocate of Hell have a short round to see whether the deceased person goes to Heaven or Hell. Bobby is appointed a new case but the souls goes missing, it is neither present in Heaven nor in Hell and this greatly upsets the balance of all, this is just the start of a whole lot of trouble. Furthermore Bobby encounters the Countess of Cold Hands Casimira or in short Caz, she is a demon... being and Angel himself this brings on quite a moral challenge... Bobby finds himself under suspicion and threat of not only Hell but also several high players of Heaven. Happy Hour in Hell was a direct sequel to The Dirty Streets of Heaven. Here Tad Williams readily explored his story further developing a better grip on the Third Way initiative and his girlfriend Caz is being kept prisoner by the Grand Duke Eligor. After a lot of trouble especially with an supposedly dead psychopathic killer and the side job for the Archangel Temuel, Bobby makes it out of the fiery depths of Hell but without Caz... but with a lot more interesting information and leads though. These latter moments in the book did make me think of how the third book, Sleeping Late on Judgement Day would go. Again I am blown away with the story that Tad Williams writes down, though I have to admit that I was expecting a different kind of story, in the light and dark of it all, the Bobby Dollar series couldn't have gotten a better ending... or did it really?

Lets get on with the story of Sleeping Late of Judgement Day. Bobby's problems haven't been solved yet, he didn't manage to save Caz from the clutches of the Grand Duke Eligor and he is still being looked for by some enemies that he made earlier on either on purpose or incidentally. With those adventures partially behind him, things do have seem to have quietened down a bit and Bobby is slowly picking up his old job again, that of being an advocate, but he lacks his true confidence in his job and the effort he puts in it. I guess that is more than normal considering that he has been to both Heaven and Hell and back. As you might have come to learn from Bobby's character is that he isn't shy of a drink and soon runs into a person, Walter, who he met back in Hell. Walter had important information for Bobby, which he forgot, all he knows was that it was connect to some high persons up in heaven. Now Booby finds himself back on track, well actually he never lost track of his ultimate goal of finding Caz back, but he is once again determined just find out what in Heaven (excuse the pun) is going on. New leads bring him back in contact with a couple of Amazonian women and Neo-Nazis where the latter aren't making things any easier for him to say the least... 

For Bobby it's now sink or swim, eat or be eaten, kill or be killed, the hunter or the hunted, are there anymore? Since all of his older friend are abondoning him, he has to make new ones or rely on himself. The part above only describes the first part of the story as Tad Williams slowly build up the story of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, all along the way the story is picking up pace. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it is as I mentioned already, something quite unexpected, it wasn't the action packed, guns shooting, angels with fiery swords and gigantic demon showdown at all. Trust me when I say that there is still a lot of action taking place, mainly so due to the Amazonian women, but this all happens at a 75-85% mark of the book, after this there is a big, big, BIG revealing that.... This is exactly what the book need to make it stand out above many others, introducing such a thing in the end put a smile on my face and reminds my why Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, he always has a trick up his sleeve to keep the story excited. 

It is that time again that I have to rave about how a awesome a character Bobby Dollar is. From the first introduction I think I fell in love with him. His whole attitude of how he stands and thinks about in the world is just I don't even know how to put it in to words. He is an advocate, with an important job for those souls he has to argue for, and in his jobs he is perhaps serious but when he is off of it Tad Williams paints his character with some funny and humorous personality traits and a great air of non-chalance. Bobby Dollar when he was, doing his thing, before all the stuff that went down with the Third Way initiative, one lazy bastard who would rather sit around and watch than have that proactive attitude. Though this might place him in a certain category of person with some of these vices, not all for the better, when it comes down to his friends and the people he cares about he is all virtuous and in dangerous situations he always places himself in front of the others to make sure they stay unharmed. This might all seem contradictive but well perhaps Bobby is one like that, one who doesn't really know what to do and what he wants, except for Caz, which he wants badly. Just check out one of those typical, soon to be legendary, Bobby Dollar quotes:
"I couldn't think of a single thing to say and that doesn't happen to me much. So I grabbed my gun."


 As for the other characters of the series like Caz, Sam and Temuel. I love them as well. I already said in the review of Happy Hour in Hell Bobby Dollar is a pronounced voice, but he doesn't completely steal the show. Many of the secondary characters are shown just as powerful, they come quite near Bobby to be honest. The story does still revolve around Bobby and that the higher forces are hunting him, if you take Sam and Temuel for example they are crucial to the storyline and looking back over not only the story in Sleeping Late on Judgement Day but also on the whole story of the series, several things fall nicely into place when you read the ending of the series. I still have a smile on my face when it comes down to Sam's character and his God glove, how cool it that! Also I actually thought Temuel to be a bit of an asshole, though he did have some funny scenes together with Bobby, when I read his ulterior motives I can actually only sympathize for him. Caz takes once again a role in the background and you only see her short communication with Bobby wherein you see both parties having a tough time dealing with their separation, but luckily for Caz, Bobby has some perseverance. Once again Tad Williams has written up some great characters that you can only feel for and grow attached to as you read along in the series. He goes against the normally seen themes and characteristics in Urban Fantasy and carves out his own ones. Good stuff. 

Though I expected a different type of story in Sleeping Late on Judgement Day as I explained above, but no worries there, Tad Williams still went above Heaven and through Hell to deliver one final, explosive and grande plot twist that will leave you with an echoing WOW. Trust me you won't see this one coming. It takes skill to write the story features in Sleeping Late in Judgement Dayas the action takes places at the 3/4 mark of the book but this is followed by how everything fit together with the Third Way initiative. Tad Williams keeps up the lively and entertaining persona of Bobby Dollar and his friends but also introducing a gritty undertone and maintaining the dark visions of Hell in his story. 

It's been a wonderful two years enjoying three Bobby Dollar books on after the other. Sadly the series has now come to an end, or is it... You know I have a gut feeling about a certain something that happens right at the end of the book... 

I cannot recommend Sleeping Late on Judgement Day or Happy Hour in Hell or The Dirty Street of Heaven often enough. These books are a lot of fun to read and breakthrough the current tropes of Urban Fantasy, I have read most of Tad Williams' other books and with the Bobby Dollar series he proves that he is on top of his game and knows how to write Science Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Children stories and Urban Fantasy. I hope he doesn't leave me waiting to long for his next book. 

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