April 7, 2013
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The Gates

by John Connolly

Don D’Ammassa explained at Readercon’s The Year In Books that he found John Connolly in a grocery store. Visiting friends in a remote part of rural New England, D’Ammassa ran out of books. This is not hard to imagine, as he reads one or two novels a day, but booklessness is not something he is willing to contemplate for more than an hour or so. And so it was off to the grocery store to find the least-bad book in town. (Had his hosts nothing in the house? ) And there he found John Connolly.

In The Gates, we meet a young British lad named Samuel Johnson. He has a dachshund named Boswell. He has a distracted mother, an absent father, and unpleasant neighbors named Abernathy. Unfortunately, these unpleasant neighbors have taken to dabbling in satanic rituals. More unfortunately still, one of their rituals, assisted by the CERN supercollider, accidentally manages to open a portal to Hell.

No one will believe Samuel’s warnings, and demons turn out to come in surprising varieties, including one who discovers that he really enjoys driving a Porsche very fast. The book inhabits Terry Pratchett territory, which is not a bad place to be.