Here's a little teaser excerpt from Tad Williams' Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, compliments of the author himself! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.
Here's the blurb:
Where does an angel go when he’s been to Hell and back? Renegade angel Bobby Dollar does not have an easy afterlife. After surviving the myriad gruesome dangers Hell oh-so-kindly offered him, Bobby has returned empty-handed – his demon girlfriend Casmira, the Countess of Cold Hands, is still in the clutches of Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell. Some hell of a rescue. Forced to admit his failure, Bobby ends up back at his job as an angel advocate. That is, until Walter, an old angel friend whom Bobby never thought he’d see again, shows up at the local bar. The last time he saw Walter was in Hell, when Walter had tried to warn him about one of Bobby’s angel superiors. But now Walter can’t remember anything, and Bobby doesn’t know whom to trust. Turns out that there’s corruption hidden within the higher ranks of Heaven and Hell, but the only proof Bobby has is a single feather. Before he knows it, he’s in the High Hall of Heavenly Judgement – no longer a bastion for the moral high ground, if it ever was, but instead just another rigged system – on trial for his immortal soul… Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is the third installment of Tad Williams’ urban fantasy Bobby Dollar series!
I went and fixed myself that drink Caz had suggested. I could hear the winged snotbag muttering away underneath my jacket, and it occurred to me that I might be able to use the same creature to send a message back to her. I had no idea if it would actually work, but as someone once said, Fortune favors the brave. Sam usually added, “And stomps on the stupid,” but I don’t think that’s entirely true. I’ve done all right so far, and nobody’s ever called me smart without tacking “-ass” onto the end.
I polished off the vodka-tonic pretty quick, then lifted the jacket. The nasty little thing was trying to fly again but of course not succeeding much, just bimbling around against the metal cage of the strainer while repeating its message like a broken toy. I lifted the strainer and reached in, and was surprised by how hot the thing was, like Silly Putty sau- teed in butter. I dropped it, almost sucked my fingers until I realized what I’d be putting in my mouth, then grabbed a kitchen towel and tried again.
“...Don’t worry how...” it was saying as I lifted it up, but it was squirming a bit, too.
“Shut up,” I explained, and gave it a nasty squeeze, but not so roughly that it would pop or anything.
“. . . Got out of Hell . . .” it said quietly. I squeezed it again, harder. “Shut up, you flying turd!”
After a few rounds of this merry game, the little blotch finally got the hint and stopped muttering Caz’s message. It sat in the towel, three red eyes staring at me, looking like something that a dog had eaten and then put back into play. I leaned in close to feel the heat coming off it. “I’m going to get you out,” I said as slowly and clearly as I could. “Pack a suitcase. I don’t know how long it will take, but I am going to get you out. I swear by the Highest.”
The nizzic stared at me, but I had clearly convinced it not to make any noise at all. I gave it the message again, this time with another squeeze, then again and again. After about the fifth time it goggled its eyes, opened its mouth, but instead of repeating what I said, it let out a belch like the tiniest corpse-fart you can imagine. It was still enough to make me lean back, eyes watering.
“All right, you little fuckstick,” I said. “You want to play with the big boys? You want to step to me?” I wrapped it in the towel like put- ting Frances Farmer in a straitjacket, then carried it into the kitchen. “Last chance. Repeat after me. I’m going to get you out . . .” But the nizzic only looked at me without a glimmer of understanding, like the world’s smallest complaints department employee, so I opened my refrigerator and shoved it into the freezer, towel and all, and went back to pour myself a second drink.
Five minutes later I opened the freezer door. The thing was lying on its back, gasping like a landed fish, and something steaming hot was running out of its mouth and earholes and nostril slits. I held it while it shivered and crawled around in circles on my hand—it was much easier to hold now—and then gave it the message again. It didn’t do anything useful, so I put it back in the freezer.
This process went on for about an hour. I put the sports news on the television and tried to make myself relax, but it didn’t work. Too many crazy things had been happening lately—armed Amazons, weird warn- ings, Dear John snotgoblin messages from the woman I loved, not to mention Nazi thugs and demonic arm-spiders, all shoving to get onto my calendar. I was tired, confused, and mad as hell. I was pissed off.
After I took it out for maybe the fourth time, the nizzic seemed to be getting the picture. It lay panting in my hand, sucking back in the hot liquids it had sweated out in an attempt to keep itself from freezing, and when I tried my message again it actually opened its mouth and croaked, “I’m going . . . I’m going . . . I’m going . . .” I thought it was just being melodramatic until I realized those were the first two words of my message.
That was all it would give me, though, so I shot it a stern look. “Any man don’t keep order gets a night in the box,” I warned, then I shoved it back in the freezer, but I didn’t leave it in too long this time.
I had downed maybe four vodkas by the time the turdball finally managed to repeat the whole message to me. I’m sure Caz had some better way to program the ugly bastard, but we all make do with what we have, and I was determined to let her know not only that I had heard the message, but that it didn’t change anything important. I was a little wobbly on my feet—I haven’t been drinking that much lately, as I think I said—but feeling more than a bit triumphant when someone knocked on the door.
I wrapped the towel around the flying hobgoblin so I could peek out and see who it was, then opened the door. Sam walked in. He looked me up and down and said, “You look weird. What’s that in your hand?”
I looked down at the squirming kitchen towel. “Hang on,” I said. “I’m almost finished here.” I opened the towel and the nizzic sat up, still shivering, its wings like crumpled cellophane. “What do you say, you ugly little fartsparrow? What do you say?”
“I think you need professional help more than you need a new pet, but I’m glad you’re trying to give your life meaning,” said Sam.
“Shut up,” I told him. “Any man talking loud gets a night in the box.”
“Oh, lord, it’s the Cool Hand Luke thing.” Sam shook his head and stared at the nizzic. “What is that?”
“Hold on. Like I said, I’m almost done.” I made the tiny monstrosity repeat the entire message through without mistakes, then took it to the window and stuck my hand out. It sat there on my palm for a moment, then spread its wings and buzzed off in awkward circles like a dangerously overloaded helicopter.
“So this is how you spend your evenings now?” Sam asked. “Professing your undying love to random snotbugs?”
“ ’S not a snotbug,” I said grumpily, then laughed. “ ’S not. Snot. No, ’sa snotgoblin. Incredibly huge difference.”
“Shit, B, how many drinks have you had?”
“Hardly any. Four. Maybe seven or eight if you count beers. Doesn’t matter. That was from Caz. She sent me a message.”
“And spared no expense, clearly. Whatta gal!”
“You . . . are an asshole.”
“Coffee,” he said. “You’ll still be an idiot, but you’ll be an alert idiot.”
I knew there was something I wanted to talk to Sam about, but damned if I could remember. Actually, I realized, I was pretty much damned no matter what. I laughed again.