Costume Not Included
Chesney's efforts to Save The Day and Win the Girl make slow progress. Meanwhile, Boss Greeley's deal with the Devil makes him ever-stronger, and untouchable, while the Reverend Hardacre digs deeper and finds that not everything in reality is quite what it seems...

Costume Not Included Details

TitleCostume Not Included
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 27th, 2012
PublisherAngry Robot
ISBN-139780857661395
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Humor, Comics, Superheroes, Science Fiction, Novels, Magic

Costume Not Included Review

  • Ben Babcock
    January 1, 1970
    So you solved Hell’s labour problems, foiled a fake kidnapping plot, and have successfully become a crimefighting superhero with the help of a demon. Oh, and you got the girl! What’s next? Try stopping your mother’s new lover from bringing about the end of the world (and the start of a new one) by writing the next draft of the book that is our lives! Costume Not Included hews pretty closely to its predecessor, The Damned Busters, but benefits from tighter pacing and much more interesting charact So you solved Hell’s labour problems, foiled a fake kidnapping plot, and have successfully become a crimefighting superhero with the help of a demon. Oh, and you got the girl! What’s next? Try stopping your mother’s new lover from bringing about the end of the world (and the start of a new one) by writing the next draft of the book that is our lives! Costume Not Included hews pretty closely to its predecessor, The Damned Busters, but benefits from tighter pacing and much more interesting character development. As Chesney Arnstruther and his girlfriend, Melda, contemplate how to stop the world from ending, the righteous Lieutenant Denby and his superiors are closing in on the mysterious Actionary. Oh, and Satan is involved.I was fairly ambivalent towards The Damned Busters. To be honest, Costume Not Included does very little to improve my opinion of the series. It shares many flaws with the first book. Notably, the opening section is slow and dull, with a lot of exposition covering the developments of the first book. While I understand that Matthew Hughes needs to bring new readers up to speed, there must have been better ways to integrate this information. Likewise, a great deal of the plot developments in this book occur as a result of pages of intensive dialogue between characters.These structural critiques aside, I did enjoy this sequel more than the first book. Hughes’ writing is more comfortable now that I don’t have to spend so much time getting to know Chesney (whom I still don’t like that much). I enjoyed reading his relationship with Melda, and how that is affecting his relationship with his mother. I enjoyed his conversations with Joshua/Jesus about being a prophet and the effects that has on ordinary people. And, once again, he stands up to Satan and does an end run around the Infernal Prince’s gambit. Bravo.Hughes also takes a gamble when it comes to the antagonist. In the first book, he gave us Nat Blowdell as a clear bad guy, complete with the climactic confrontation in Hell. Here, the conflict is subtler. Billy Lee Hardacre, labour lawyer turned televangelist, is still exulting over confirmation of his pet theory that the world is a book being written by God to figure out good and evil. He’s overdosing on the pride pills, and the angel helping him work on a new gospel (the Book of Chesney) isn’t helping in that respect. When Chesney refuses to be a prophet—but finds a suitable substitute—Billy Lee’s fascination slips into obsession.Billy Lee’s descent from ally to antagonist is the most fascinating thing about Costume Not Included. I loved watching him justify manipulating and lying for the greater good. He is someone who genuinely believes he is doing the Lord’s work, and hence what he is doing is acceptable; the possibility that bringing about the end of the world could all be a Satanic plot never occurs to him! Meanwhile, the actuary who has demonic superpowers is actually pretty grounded.Another rising star of this series is Lieutenant (now Captain) Denby. Ordered by his corrupt superiors to expose the Actionary however possible, Denby gets pretty close to uncovering the truth. I’m dissatisfied by how easily Denby seems to develop the time travel theory—Hughes doesn’t spend enough time fleshing out Denby’s character for me to gauge how realistic his reaction is, but my mental picture of Denby at that point didn’t seem consistent with this Denby who believes in time travel. But, what can you do? I did enjoy the detente between Denby and Chesney that resulted in their tenuous alliance.Costume Not Included plays off the best and the worst of The Damned Busters, but I would say it’s a definite improvement. I can’t quite get excited enough to recommend or hype this book. The premise is cool, and the characters and story are competently done, but there isn’t something I can point to and say, “That! That is why you need to read this book.” Without that essential spark, Costume Not Included joins all the other barely-memorable but enjoyable books I’ve read over the years, doomed to be forgotten until I dust off this review and re-read it prior to reading the next one. And I will read the next one, which is something!My reviews of To Hell & Back:← The Damned Busters | Hell to Pay →
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  • Mieneke
    January 1, 1970
    Costume Not Included is the second volume in Hughes' To Hell and Back series after The Damned Busters. Not having read the prior book, I decided to take a chance and read it after being captured by the cover – yes, I'm shallow like that, but seriously... how cool is that cover? – and intrigued by the synopsis given on the site. To be honest, the synopsis, included above, doesn't really do the book justice as it's so much more than it suggests. In actuality, Chesney, his demon assistant, Xaphan, Costume Not Included is the second volume in Hughes' To Hell and Back series after The Damned Busters. Not having read the prior book, I decided to take a chance and read it after being captured by the cover – yes, I'm shallow like that, but seriously... how cool is that cover? – and intrigued by the synopsis given on the site. To be honest, the synopsis, included above, doesn't really do the book justice as it's so much more than it suggests. In actuality, Chesney, his demon assistant, Xaphan, and his girlfriend, Melda, need to save the world from ending in a glorious puff of nothing. Costume Not Included was a fun read, but it did take me quite a while to get into the book, as it's very clearly book two in a series, and not having read the first one, there were some things I didn't understand. Hughes doesn't really recap anything from the previous book, so new readers are thrown into the deep end and have to gather information on what went before from the text as they go. At first, this was confusing, but once I settled into the book and the action got going, what went before was less important as what was happening right now.The main character of the book, Chesney – as an aside, am I the one and only person who keeps having flashbacks to one-hit-wonder Chesney Hawkes at that name? Or am I dating myself now? – is quite interesting. Apart from being a demon-assisted super hero called the Actionary, a nice pun on his day job of actuary, he is also a high-functioning autist. Hughes never comes out and states this, but the way Chesney's thought processes are described – the pools of light – his trouble with social interactions and his love of numbers all led me to quickly conclude that Chesney might have Asperger's or some such. Being pretty familiar with autism-spectrum disorders due to having people in my life who have them, I thought Chesney's symptoms pretty convincing and I think Hughes really hit the nail on the head in showing us how life can look from an autistic perspective. I liked Chesney's self-awareness and how funny he is at times when talking about his being different. But don't let my focus on Chesney's autism mislead you, this book isn't a quirky, fantastical look at said disorder; no, the autism is part of who Chesney is, but he is so much more. He's a young man trying to find his way in the world, figuring out his first relationship, trying pry loose his mother's death grip on his figurative umbilical cord and in addition to these 'normal' concerns, he's also trying to figure out how this super hero lark works. I truly enjoyed Chesney's point of view and his story, which shows both emotional growth and social development.Chesney's supporting group of characters is a strong one and highly entertaining. The pack is led by his demonic sidekick, Xaphan, who has stuck to his 1920's persona and language and who is a classic mob guy. He is part comic relief and part magic wand, helping Chesney find crime to fight and moving him around without people seeing him. Next up we have Melda, Chesney's girlfriend. She was a hard character to get a bead on at first for me, as I kept expecting her to be with Chesney just because he's a super hero and he can provide fame and wealth for her. Luckily, it turns out that she really does love him and I came to really like her. Rounding out the crime-fighting team is Lt. Denby, a police officer who gets drafted by Chesney to help him catch The Twenty, the big fish of the town who run it through corruption and intimidation. In addition, there is also Chesney's overbearing, zealot mother, Letitia, and her 'husband' Reverend Hardacre. These latter two are hilarious; they make fun of the stereotypical TV-preacher types, common in the US and their adherents, without turning them into cardboard caricatures. I loved the way that Letitia learns to accept that her baby is grown up and won't be automatically obeying her any more and more importantly, that she is no longer the pre-eminent woman in his life, that this position now belongs to Melda. It made her sympathetic to the reader in a way Chesney himself can't see her and I thought this very well done by Hughes. Hardacre is everything you expect a TV preacher to be, slimy, proud and out for his own glory, though he also really seems to believe he is chosen by God to help him further creation.The central conceit to the 'Saving the World from Ending'-plot is the fact that God is writing a book and we are nothing but characters in it, through which he can learn the truth about Good and Evil. Problem is, whenever God messes up and dislikes what he's written, he discards the current draft and starts a new one from the point where he was still happy with his Creation, which means that the world as we know it ends and changes to suit the new draft. I thought this was a clever idea and the way Hughes lets this play out is very cool. I really liked the resolution of this storyline and how much more convoluted it turned out to be than at first implied. Chesney has to go back to Hell and deal with the Devil again and he even retrieves a prior draft-version of Jesus to help him solve the problem. This version of Jesus was hilarious as he's nothing like our modern day depiction of him; everything we know about Jesus? All changed after the fact due to God starting a new draft. And he's none too happy about that, or about where he ended up—a sort of Groundhog Day version of Nazareth. In the end the resolution to this plot line ties everything neatly together, while still leaving some side plots open, so there is still enough to do in the next book.Costume Not Included is a funny, clever book and I'm glad I took a chance on it. However, if you can do read The Damned Busters first, as I expect it'll make for a smoother read once you start Costume Not Included; this is definitely not a book that stands easily on its own, it's very much part of a series. I know I'll be looking to get my hands on a copy of The Damned Busters, not just to see what I missed, but also to spend more time with Chesney and his friends, because they are great company. Costume Not Included is out now from Angry Robot Books in the US and worldwide and will be released in the UK tomorrow. Book three in the series, Hell to Pay, will be released in March 2013, I know I'll be back to see Chesney trying to roll up The Twenty!This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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  • Lorina Stephens
    January 1, 1970
    Matthew Hughes has to be one of Canada's most under-celebrated, under-appreciated writers. Easily capable of dancing between genres, in this sequel to The Damned Busters, Hughes unfolds a wry, witty tale, absolutely heretical, deliciously irreverent, that continues the concept of 'is God making this up as He goes along?'As always there are clearly-drawn characters that lift off the page, a pace that is steady and at times palpitating, and just when you think matters might become too serious he a Matthew Hughes has to be one of Canada's most under-celebrated, under-appreciated writers. Easily capable of dancing between genres, in this sequel to The Damned Busters, Hughes unfolds a wry, witty tale, absolutely heretical, deliciously irreverent, that continues the concept of 'is God making this up as He goes along?'As always there are clearly-drawn characters that lift off the page, a pace that is steady and at times palpitating, and just when you think matters might become too serious he ambushes you with an insight that leaves you laughing out loud.If you're a fan of Terry Pratchett, allow me to introduce you to Matthew Hughes. You're in for a rocketing good read.
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  • Ken Parkinson
    January 1, 1970
    I got this book for the wrong reason. I was looking for Tom Gauld books on amazon. I thought this was a graphic novel. Nope. So I started with the second book in a series. Not ideal. But I figured the author would make the book stand on its own. Nope. It’s full of Clunky exposition. I liked the characters and it does have a sort of British humor that I enjoyed. The pacing: not good. Too many diversions from the core story. I kept loosing interest. Even with all of these problems, I held out hope I got this book for the wrong reason. I was looking for Tom Gauld books on amazon. I thought this was a graphic novel. Nope. So I started with the second book in a series. Not ideal. But I figured the author would make the book stand on its own. Nope. It’s full of Clunky exposition. I liked the characters and it does have a sort of British humor that I enjoyed. The pacing: not good. Too many diversions from the core story. I kept loosing interest. Even with all of these problems, I held out hope that it would come together in the end. Nope. Early in the book, I thought I would go back and read the first book just for curiosity. After reading the end, I decided against it.
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  • Reuen
    January 1, 1970
    I red this without knowing it was a book two of the To Hell & Back saga, but you don't have to read the other one to enjoy this book and I still have'nt red the first book. The story was funny to read and has a interesting inquiry of what if there is someone above us is writing a book about us to learn as it goes on; personally gives me thoughts about the religions that we are devoted to.
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  • Aaron
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the first one in the Hell and Back Again series and liked this one even more. The first one was goofy and light fun, but Costume not included have much more depth to it. The twist and turn of what is good and evil allowed for more story to be developed. It still has a light hearted tone though that is far different from you standard book.
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  • minz
    January 1, 1970
    it was a unique idea. It was not predicable and it was funny. I have no idea of how they will make it to a series but I may try the next one.
  • Jason Pyrz
    January 1, 1970
    Good, but not as good as the first one. This book is essentially more of the same, but instead of starting off with a strike in hell, this one is concerned with keeping the end of the world from happening - and it's not really as exciting as that might sound.If you've read the first book, you already know what to expect in terms of the second book. There are definitely some clever plot points thrown into this one, and overall it was an enjoyable read, but I'm still undecided as to whether I want Good, but not as good as the first one. This book is essentially more of the same, but instead of starting off with a strike in hell, this one is concerned with keeping the end of the world from happening - and it's not really as exciting as that might sound.If you've read the first book, you already know what to expect in terms of the second book. There are definitely some clever plot points thrown into this one, and overall it was an enjoyable read, but I'm still undecided as to whether I want to spend the time reading the third in the series. There wasn't anything in this one that made me immediately jump to read more about this universe.As with the first book, this one unfortunately has some oddly-placed, creepy sex scenes in it. Very unnecessary - especially when I think of a dude sitting alone at his computer typing it out and thinking "yeah, this is good stuff." Maybe it's just me.
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  • Larry
    January 1, 1970
    Ever feel like you world needs more devils, demons and super-heroes? I know my does, and thanks to Matthew Hughes I just got my fix. In Costume Not Included we returned to the world of Chesney Anstruther, Xaphan and The Actionary.This sequel to The Damned Busters is a nice return to the world of Chesney. There are a bunch of subtle differences in the leap from book one to second. The first is out main character. In the first book Matthew tip-toes around Chesney’s mental state of mind. It was lik Ever feel like you world needs more devils, demons and super-heroes? I know my does, and thanks to Matthew Hughes I just got my fix. In Costume Not Included we returned to the world of Chesney Anstruther, Xaphan and The Actionary.This sequel to The Damned Busters is a nice return to the world of Chesney. There are a bunch of subtle differences in the leap from book one to second. The first is out main character. In the first book Matthew tip-toes around Chesney’s mental state of mind. It was like a secret that if you paid attention then maybe somebody would whisper it to you. In this book he comes out and simply reveal that his hero is in fact a high-functioning autistic. Although the reason for his change in style this become clearer as the book progresses, his ‘pools of light’ device becoming a reoccurring element and it even effects the plot, I did miss the subtle approach of the previous book. In no way should this be viewed as bad writing, the book was brilliantly written, just an observation from one who liked the subtle approach from the first.The style is not the only thing that changes about Chesney. Our main character has grown since our last book and rightfully so. He is stumbling around the idea of an ongoing and serious relationship with last book’s heroine Melda McCann. We’ve seen take a greater approach to crime fighting and the detail in his observation. Our hero is changing and for the better.The next topic on the checklist is the theology of Hughes work. Now before I go any further I have to explain the premise of this world, it was something I was shying away from in my last review, wanting the shock to be as much of a surprise as it was for me, but there is no avoiding it this time.In Chesney world, existence and everything in it is a book that God is writing to learn about morality. This is all fine and dandy except parts from previous ‘chapters’ and stuff that didn’t make it into this cut keep showing up.In the previous book this was almost like a world setting instead of a plot point but in the sequel the theology take a major step up. The Book, as they call it, is front and center in this story to end the world. It affects everything from the way The Actionary fights crime to the decisions Chesney makes. Matthew doesn’t shy away from it either even going as far as introducing, and promoting him to a main cast member, Jesus Christ but one from a previous chapter of the book.While crime fighting takes a back seat in this battle against the devil and the antichrist all while trying to stop the end of the world, it seemed like a necessary evil, even though Chesney awkward approach to fighting crime was where the previous book held its heart.Costume Not Included is a great book and one of the must-reads in modern fantasy and superhero fiction this year.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Today's post is on Costume Not Included by Matthew Hughes. It is the second in his To Hell & Back series. It is 378 pages long and is published by Angry Robot Publishing. The cover is great; it has scenes from the book in comic book style. With Chesney and his demon at the top and Jesus and the Devil on the bottom. There is sex (not graphic), language, and some odd violence in this book. The intended reader as read the first book, is not easily offended, and likes meta plots. The story is to Today's post is on Costume Not Included by Matthew Hughes. It is the second in his To Hell & Back series. It is 378 pages long and is published by Angry Robot Publishing. The cover is great; it has scenes from the book in comic book style. With Chesney and his demon at the top and Jesus and the Devil on the bottom. There is sex (not graphic), language, and some odd violence in this book. The intended reader as read the first book, is not easily offended, and likes meta plots. The story is told from third person close of the main characters moving from to the other has the story moves. There Be Spoilers Ahead.From the back of the book- Chesney Arnstruther's efforts to Save the Day and Get the Girl are making slow progress. This superhero stuff is more complicated than he first thought, even with a cigar-chomping demon for a sidekick.But even as Chesney is trying to learn the ropes, Boss Greenley has made a deal with the Devil, a pact that is making the villain stronger by the minute. Meanwhile, Reverend Hardacre has been doing some research into matters spiritual and has found that not everything in the Garden of (Eden) is rosy.It's book two of the acclaimed To Hell & Back saga, the uproarious fantasy of part-time superheros and wayward deities from the pen of Philip K. Dick Award nominee Matthew Hughes.Review- The blurb is misleading for this book. Boss Greenley is just a minor background character. He may end up a bigger deal in the last book but the real plot is going with Hardacre and Jesus. Hardacre wants to be the most important man of his age or at least this chapter in the book that God is writing. So he tries to end the world. Chesney has to stop him and the Devil from doing that. One of the funniest scenes is when Jesus is meeting with a TV news reporter and he casts out the demons in the man. It was great. This book is not as funny as the first one but there is more character growth all around. Chesney gets a lot which is good as he is the main character. But his mother, his girlfriend, and even Hardacre get good growth. If you have read the first book then you need to continue with this series. If you have not you need to. It is really great.I give this book a Four of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with own money.
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  • Meran
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to nite something about the cover art, so here goes... The cover art tells the story, just as the art for the first book did - funny, well done, fitting. I'm glad they kept the same artist for the series.These books are based on the premise that each of us has 2 advisors one from Above (who keeps silent), and one from Below, (who doesn't). In the case of Chesney Arnstruther, his advisor from Hell has become his partner in fighting crime. (Yes, his demon actually helps keep evil from hap I wanted to nite something about the cover art, so here goes... The cover art tells the story, just as the art for the first book did - funny, well done, fitting. I'm glad they kept the same artist for the series.These books are based on the premise that each of us has 2 advisors one from Above (who keeps silent), and one from Below, (who doesn't). In the case of Chesney Arnstruther, his advisor from Hell has become his partner in fighting crime. (Yes, his demon actually helps keep evil from happening. Mostly. It's complicated. Read the first book.)These books are NOT religious in spite of how that paragraph may read! They are, however, very irreverent, which may offend some readers.Chesney and his partner, ahem, SIDEKICK, Xaphan, also must contend with Chesney's very religious to a fault mother, and her boyfriend, Reverend Billy Hard acre, who is adding a new book to the Bible, called The Book of Chesney, with the help of an Angel, which casts Chesney as a new prophet. This addition is causing some trouble in Chesney's life, since his crime fighting persona, The Actionary, is not known to be Chesney himself, except for a very few. One s Chesney's first girlfriend, Melda McCann, the second is his mother, and the third, Reverend Billy, who his mother refers to as her "husband in the sight of God".This new book makes Chesney, a highly functioning autistic man, think very unusual thoughts, causing repercussions both for Chesney and his (our) world.; the actions he takes introduces a new character about halfway through the book who fulfills a need for the Reverend and for Chesney.And this is where religious ideals are shaken to their core. Irreverent and still funny, I could quite see this new prophet acting just as he does in the book.So, there IS religion in this one, after all, but not as anyone could have expected!Fun quote: Chesney-"I don't do faith. I do numbers. They don't cheat."
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  • John Loyd
    January 1, 1970
    To Hell and Back #2. In Damned Busters Chesney inadvertantly summoned a demon, refused to sign a contract causing hell to go on strike. Eventually leading to a deal where he got a demon to help him two hours a day be the Actionary, a crime fighting superhero. The ending came with the conclusion that heaven, hell, and everyone were a part of a book that God was writing. This book was being rewritten now and had been in the past. So things like Noah's ark were parts of previous drafts.Now that man To Hell and Back #2. In Damned Busters Chesney inadvertantly summoned a demon, refused to sign a contract causing hell to go on strike. Eventually leading to a deal where he got a demon to help him two hours a day be the Actionary, a crime fighting superhero. The ending came with the conclusion that heaven, hell, and everyone were a part of a book that God was writing. This book was being rewritten now and had been in the past. So things like Noah's ark were parts of previous drafts.Now that many of the characters know that they are characters in the book some like Reverend Billy Lee Hardacre want to write the new chapters or at least guide them along. Billy Lee has written The Book of Chesney where his stepson will be a new prophet. Chesney sees no pool of light in being a prophet. His pools are limited to a few things like mathematics, crime fighting and Melda McCann.Lieutenant Denby, an honest policeman, is baffled by the Actionary, and does the best dectective work he can to figure out who and what is this guy. Eventually coming to the conclusion he's a time traveler.Hughes does a good job of weaving these threads together. Very clever when we find out there has been some string pulling. There are plenty of zingers like Joshua saying he "had the only outhouse in heaven," and situational humor. Quick reading, a lot of fun, I love the characters, especially Chesney, Melda, Denby and Xaphan. The ending left me wanting a little more. I'm going to use an analogy in hopes of not giving anything away. In a superhero movie you see the hero fight the villain and eventually the hero wins, but what about all the collateral damage to the buildings and bridges and infrastructure.
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  • Ashley Lambert-Maberly
    January 1, 1970
    A bit of a slow start but it picked up as it went along. I was expecting more superhero action, but there was very little--which ultimately was fine by me--as the plot steered In a much more theological and interesting direction (I could feel the moment my mental tally clicked this book over from three to four stars). If you enjoyed the first, there's a good chance you'll enjoy the second--just not if you demand superhero derring-do throughout.(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good bo A bit of a slow start but it picked up as it went along. I was expecting more superhero action, but there was very little--which ultimately was fine by me--as the plot steered In a much more theological and interesting direction (I could feel the moment my mental tally clicked this book over from three to four stars). If you enjoyed the first, there's a good chance you'll enjoy the second--just not if you demand superhero derring-do throughout.(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. There are a lot of 4s and 3s in the world!)
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  • Chris Eddins
    January 1, 1970
    It was a little circuitous. The action seemed to pick up towards the latter half of this book. Being that this is supposed to be a light somewhat adventurous comedy that's definitely a minus. One of the things that was so inviting about the first novel was Stanley's nerdy distance and awkwardness. It really helped you root for the guy. It made his transformation into a super hero all the more satisfying you when you see him exhibit some decisiveness and power in his own life (towards his mother It was a little circuitous. The action seemed to pick up towards the latter half of this book. Being that this is supposed to be a light somewhat adventurous comedy that's definitely a minus. One of the things that was so inviting about the first novel was Stanley's nerdy distance and awkwardness. It really helped you root for the guy. It made his transformation into a super hero all the more satisfying you when you see him exhibit some decisiveness and power in his own life (towards his mother and co-workers). Stanley's just a little to chummy and happy for the firs part of this novel. He's living the perfect life. There is no conflict or obstacles to overcome until the very last quarter of the book. Again, that would be ok in another book. This could lead towards introspection and seeing more into Stanley's soul, but hey this is a light super hero comedy and we don't get that kind of play nor should we expect to get that type of play. Another interesting absence seems to be less give and take with his demon assistant. You just get the feeling that he's an errand boy mechanically carrying out tasks. There was negotiation, no background (considering an immortal demon would have quite a bunch) besides a passing reference to being involved in the whole Legion pigs episode in the New Testament. I'd have loved to have seen his assistant as just more than background.
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  • Todd Mulholland
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a sequel to the damned busters. It continues the saga of the Crime fighting actuary, Chesney, his girlfriend, his father-in-law who may or may not end up being the anti-christ, and the actual, historical Jesus.Ok, Jesus is a new addition, so it's not really continuing his saga. I enjoyed this book, but it never really GRABBED me until the last 15% or so. It took me forever to read it, because while I enjoyed it while I was reading it, it just wasn't calling me back to it.The book en This book is a sequel to the damned busters. It continues the saga of the Crime fighting actuary, Chesney, his girlfriend, his father-in-law who may or may not end up being the anti-christ, and the actual, historical Jesus.Ok, Jesus is a new addition, so it's not really continuing his saga. I enjoyed this book, but it never really GRABBED me until the last 15% or so. It took me forever to read it, because while I enjoyed it while I was reading it, it just wasn't calling me back to it.The book ends on a non-tense cliffhanger. The story isn't really finished, rather just wrapped up, sort of. There's no real climax, no resolution. It does resolve one of my frustrations of the previous books, and has some really nice character growth for Chesney.If you liked the first book, this one is worth reading, so long as you're okay with it not really having an ending.
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  • Amy Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    Ridiculous amount of typos, and the story has really slowed down. Poorly paced dialogue, and too much of it. My favourite quality of Chesney's personality has now been 'cured', which takes away some of the inside jokes the reader has with the protagonist.Some interesting plot points, some characters introduced and developed that will hopefully make the third book a solid finale. Denby has become my favourite character, the portion of the book that followed him was really interesting. Kind of a s Ridiculous amount of typos, and the story has really slowed down. Poorly paced dialogue, and too much of it. My favourite quality of Chesney's personality has now been 'cured', which takes away some of the inside jokes the reader has with the protagonist.Some interesting plot points, some characters introduced and developed that will hopefully make the third book a solid finale. Denby has become my favourite character, the portion of the book that followed him was really interesting. Kind of a supernatural crime story, reminding me of how excited I am to the August release of Deadbeat: Dogs of Waugh by Guy Adams.I think the third book will be better, more Actionary and more... action. One of my favourite 'nerd' premises for a book, and I still don't believe it'll go to waste.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    A fair enough follow-up to The Damned Busters, we rejoin mild-mannered Chesney Arnstruther adjusting to life both with and without his alter-ego, The Actionary, wherein Chesney learns that the world is not as simple as the comic books he wishes to emulate. Right and wrong and good and evil are not as easy in the real world. There are twists beyond what you'd expect from even a traditional crime-fighting superhero, and the ending comes rather abruptly. Not your parent's eschatalogical musings, it A fair enough follow-up to The Damned Busters, we rejoin mild-mannered Chesney Arnstruther adjusting to life both with and without his alter-ego, The Actionary, wherein Chesney learns that the world is not as simple as the comic books he wishes to emulate. Right and wrong and good and evil are not as easy in the real world. There are twists beyond what you'd expect from even a traditional crime-fighting superhero, and the ending comes rather abruptly. Not your parent's eschatalogical musings, it is also not as action-packed as you might think, setting a broad and unusual stage for the next book.
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  • Keelan
    January 1, 1970
    I'm very disappointed. What was billed as a different kind of superhero story quickly devolved into a celebration of the authors distaste for religion. In addition to having several obvious logical flaws and excessive and pointless sexual encounters, this book had very little actual crime fighting and even managed to remove the most unique and endearing characteristics of the hero without the satisfaction of actual personal conflict and growth. I can see how he might be setting up for a big fini I'm very disappointed. What was billed as a different kind of superhero story quickly devolved into a celebration of the authors distaste for religion. In addition to having several obvious logical flaws and excessive and pointless sexual encounters, this book had very little actual crime fighting and even managed to remove the most unique and endearing characteristics of the hero without the satisfaction of actual personal conflict and growth. I can see how he might be setting up for a big finish in the final book, but it will take quite the ending to make this meandering journey worthwhile.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    Chesney Arnstruther is a comic-book collecting superhero who suffers from high-functioning autism. The author is being funny, I guess. But you know there's a longbox filled with a complete collection of Detective Comics down in the batcave. And there's nothing funny about that...Full review here: http://superheronovels.com/2012/05/19...
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  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked the continuing story line of costume not included. It picks up nicely where damned buster leaves off and takes up the idea thread of god using us to write a story to learn about morality. An original take on what it all means in a humorus and fun way. . . don't know if there is a third instalment in the works but i would love to find out in what direction Hughes will take it.
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  • Brent
    January 1, 1970
    I have a fondness and fascination for books that take a slightly off-kilter view of religions and their associated "creatures" (demons, angels, etc.); and comic books. This--somehow--manages to combine the two into a great story. I do, however, highly recommend that you read the first book ("The Damned Busters") prior to reading this sequel.
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  • David Marshall
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent way to continue the series, leaving us on a fascinating cliffhanger for Volume III. Bring it on, say I! And as soon as possible, please.http://opionator.wordpress.com/2012/0...
  • Khalil Omran
    January 1, 1970
    costume not included, a publish by angry robot and written by matt hughs it was great experience going through a hell and heaven with demons and angles it even confused with some of arc just wow!!!
  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    The tale of Chesney Arnstruther "The Actionary" continues with interesting twists. Still excellent humor and creative plotting, this interesting take on the existance of God and what he is up to is worth your time.
  • Karen Desmond
    January 1, 1970
    This second book about the Actionary is less about his crimefighting skills and more around the fallout of his disagreement with Hell. It does set the stage nicely for the Actionary's battle with the 20 which I'm looking forward to.
  • Mitchell
    January 1, 1970
    Part 2 of a fantasy superhero series that I read for the Endeavour. Basically a smart but limited young man wins a deal near the devil that lets him do superhero crime fighting. And meet a historical Jesus and go to the Garden of Eden. It was interesting but I can't say I enjoyed it.
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  • Nicole Luiken
    January 1, 1970
    Sequel to the Damned Busters, featuring Chesney Arnstruther. Hard to describe: fun comic-book type action with a nerdish/austistic hero, who really grew on me, but at the same time it continues to explores the idea/premise, "What if God were writing a book?"
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    The sequel to The Damned Busters delivers a much more meta story which I really enjoyed. If you liked following the adventures of Chensey and his crime fighting demon in the first book, you'll enjoy this one too.
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this trilogy (and wish there were more books!). A fun take on heaven, hell and everything in between. Superheroes, evil villains, Satan, satanic minions, not-really-all-that-evil-when-it-comes-down-to-it demons, evangelistic preachers, angels (who can't think for themselves) and much more!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed just as much as The Damned Busters-plus what fun cover art they have!
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