The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey

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The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey is fanciful, funny, irreverent and pokes fun at everything from God to the angels, to the devil, to man and the undead. While the tone is far less serious than Kadrey’s Sandman Slim novels, it is very original and much like Kadrey’s other tales, very enjoyable.

“…So you’re the angel of Death?’
The angel shook his head, a little embarrassed.
‘I don’t have that honor. In Heaven, I’m the celestial who bears the great golden quills, the silver Chroma, the holy vellums upon which the Lord God inscribes the fate of the universe.’
Tira’s eyes narrowed.
‘Your’re in charge of office supplies. You’re the angel of office supplies.’
The angel looked at him.
‘That’s a little reductionist, don’t you think? Disrespectful, too, when you get down to it. You do understand that I’m a living representative of God on Earth, right?’
‘What’s your name?’ said Tiras.
‘I’m called Qaphsiel…”

It is the time of the Great Flood, when God looked upon the Earth and saw all of it’s wickedness and figured out that creating mankind was simply not one of his better moves. So he sent forth a Great Flood that covered the Earth. But like good cockroaches, some of mankind remained. Not to be outsmarted, God sent down one of his angels, with the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, to finish the job.

“…Too late, wretched mortal!’ thundered Qaphsiel, and the Earth rumbled beneath them. Tiras backed down the mountain away from the angel. Qaphsiel felt good. He felt powerful. Yes, he was going to enjoy obliterating these people and finally leaving office supplies behind.
He looked down upon Tiras and said in a voice that made the sky tremble, ‘Behold the instrument of thy destruction!’
Qaphsiel plunged his hand into the pocket of his gossamer robe…
…then his other hand into the other pocket. He patted himself down and looked in the silk bag he kept tied to his belt. It was empty. He turned in a circle, scanning the ground.
‘Hmmm.’
The object was gone. Qaphsiel looked down the mountain.
Humanity continued to crawl across the face of the Earth.
‘Oh, crap….”

Four thousand years later, a thief of magical objects, Coop, is hired to steal a magical object and deliver it to a mysterious client. Using his own abilities and the poltergiest, Phil Spectre he breaks into a home protected by magical spells and creatures to steal the object. Only, is normal with Coop, nothing quite goes as planned and he finds himself arrested for the crime. Released from jail early by his friend Morty, who happened to be the one who gave Coop up to the cops in the first place, Coop is offered a job. Steal a box, don’t open it, and deliver it to his client.

Only his new client is not the only one who wants this mysterious box and Coop soon finds himself dragged into the Government Department of Peculiar Science. The agency of enforcement for all things odd and strange. They want the box too and if they don’t get it, they will send Coop right back to jail. There is of course those 12 weird guys in robes as well and then unbeknownst to them all, there is an angel who has been walking the Earth for four thousand years looking for this self same box.

“…Here’s the thing,’ said Qaphsiel. ‘Inside the box is, well, what you would call the Apocalypse.’
‘What does that mean?’ said Coop.
Qaphsiel looked around, raised a hand, dropped it. ‘You know. The Apocalypse. Armageddon. The Four Horsemen. The end of all things.’
‘Wait a minute. The DOPS said it was just some kind of techno bomb,’ said Coop.
‘And Babylon said it was full of luck,’ said Giselle.
Coop looked from Giselle back to Qaphsiel. ‘That’s three stories about the damned thing. There any more we should know about?’
‘Unfortunately, yes,’ said Qaphsiel. ‘There are two groups right here in Los Angeles-cults, you’d call them-who believe the box will summon their dark, demonic gods back to Earth to destroy it and enslave mankind.’
‘I guess that explains the glee club at the Blackmore Building. They must have been looking for the box, too.’
‘And if anyone opens the box, the world will be destroyed?’ said Giselle.
‘Yes.’
‘Then why should I help you get it?’ said Coop. ‘You’re probably the one who brought it here to destroy us in the first place, didn’t you?’
‘Yes.’
‘What happened? Why is the Earth still here?’ said Giselle.
Qaphsiel looked at the floor. ‘I lost it…”

Kadrey is a master at creating regular people with extraordinary abilities and tossing them in impossible and incredible situations. With The Everything Box he takes a far lighter tone than will be found in his other novels of the paranormal and all things celestial. Here the angels and demons are far less vicious and deadly and the paranormal beings far less oppressive. Fans of Chris Moore will find another good addition to the satirical in Richard Kadrey’s The Everything Box. Fans of Kadrey may be initially put off by the lightheartedness of this book, but his narrative and pace will remind them quickly of who they are reading and this one is sure to please.

A terrific novel by a must read author!

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