The Infernals

John Connolly. Atria, $22 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4308-4
A few years after the events of 2009’s The Gates, the demon Mrs. Abernathy (formerly Ba’al) wants revenge on young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, who stopped the forces of Hell from invading Earth. The reactivation of the Large Hadron Collider gives Mrs. Abernathy enough energy to drag Samuel to Hell, along with two police officers, an ice-cream man, and a troupe of ne’er-do-well performing dwarfs. With Samuel’s not-so-evil demon friend, Nurd, they become the fulcrum of a war that threatens to sunder Hell itself. Connolly’s graceful prose, laced with acerbically witty footnotes, is a joy to read, and he easily alternates among slapstick comedy, powerful drama, and skin-crawling horror. His unsettling vision of Hell encompasses grotesque evil and, even worse, pure nothingness. Despite the terrors of Hell, this highly enjoyable, often funny adventure is buoyed by optimism and the possibility of grace. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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