Snake Agent was originally published in 2006 and is the first in a continuing series. It is being republished this month and is another ARC offering from NetGalley.
Set in the future in the city Singapore Three, the novel introduces Detective Inspector Chen, a forty-something detective who is involved in supernatural investigations. This alone separates Chen from his colleagues and the general public, who either know or sense his connections to Hell and try to avoid him. And then there is Chen's wife Inari and a badger/teapot....
Chen's current case concerns the missing soul of young Pearl, a fourteen-year-old whose soul, after death, failed to arrive in Heaven. Pearl's mother seeks Chen's help in finding the ghostly Pearl and sending her on her way to the correct destination.
But there is more to the case than just one missing soul, and the denizens of Hell are also concerned. Enter Seneschal Zhu Irzh, a young vice detective and a demon, who has been sent to collect Pearl's soul. Chen and Zhu Irzh have a pointed disagreement about the destiny of Pearl's soul, but when other events overtake them, the two must work together.
A surprisingly refreshing supernatural mystery, Snake Agent has both a human and a demon detective, an exorcist, a contrary goddess, a trip to Hell, and a particularly nasty Minister of Epidemics. Great fun!
NetGalley/Open Road Media
Supernatural/Mystery. Sept. 17, 2013. Print Version: 410 pages.