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The Demon and the City (Detective Inspector Chen #2)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  673 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The second Detective Inspector Chen novel (after Snake Agent) returns us to Singapore Three. A mysterious murder sends Chen and his demonic partner Zhu Irzh on the trail of a conspiracy between hell and one of the heavenly hosts.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science ficti
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Night Shade Books
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Feb 25, 2015 Mimi rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are tired of average urban fantasies
Detective Chen Wei goes on vacation for a couple of weeks and the whole city of Singapore Three goes to Hell. Literally, not in a hand basket though. More bad puns below. You've been warned. (j/k)

After helping Chen unravel Hell's plot in Snake Agent ,Seneschal Zhu Irzh has decided to stay on Earth to assist Singapore Three's police department during Chen's leave. The work is fine forZhu Irzh who works in vice back in Hell, but he finds it hard to fit in at the PD and stay in Captain Sung's good
May 02, 2011 Carol. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Williams' fans; someone looking for unusual urban fantasy
A capable entry into the Chen series, I found that I did not enjoy it as much as the Snake Agent. Although billed as "An Inspector Chen novel," he doesn't make an appearance for quite some time; in fact, the book truly is about the demon on his own. Although a murder supposedly begins the process of investigation for the police, it is haphazard and largely driven by involvement from Chen's patron diety. Solving the mystery of the murder becomes almost an aside as there are larger theological and ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)

2.5 stars
I started out loving this book which was a real surprise as I didn't like the last one that much and was really on the fence about even reading further. My biggest complaint with the first one was how sexist it was both in a lack of women characters in general. Even the extras, those that are there to hold the door or answer the phone, were almost exclusively men. The women were stupid and weak, other than the goddess who was just annoying. Other readers liked Inari but I found her whi
Jul 30, 2009 Stefan rated it did not like it
I enjoyed Snake Agent, the first book in this series, because it was such an amusing mixture of genres. The story is basically set in a near-future version of Singapore. Heaven and Hell are not only real, but actual places you can go to (if you are dead - or have the proper visa). Detective Inspector Chen, the main character, investigates crimes in this setting, so the novels often read like a detective/police procedural. It's a mix of SF, fantasy, horror, detective - with some comedy thrown in. ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Mely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Even though a lot of people who know a lot more about Chinese culture than me felt the series was shallow and appropriative, I read Book 2 because I liked Book 1. (Shallow, appropriative, and charming to white people! Also I like Detective Chen and Inari.) Book 2 is so much worse, OMG. Detective Chen and Inari are gone for most of the book, and the hedgehog teapot just doesn't make up for everything himself. Two women who have only referred to previous lesbian relationships end up in long-term r ...more
Such a promising start to the series in Snake agent then I read this what a let down, won't be carrying on with the series.
Dec 15, 2007 Res rated it it was ok
The one set in a futuristic/occultish Singapore, where a socialite is killed by some sort of fantastic beast and a demon is sent to investigate.

I abandoned this one after fifty pages because aside from the setting, nothing rang true. Pretty much every character was too stupid to live, and the so-called demon was apparently exactly like a human male in every respect except for having a tail.

After reading this and Keeping It Real, I'm getting really tired of authors calling characters 'demons' and
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
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Dec 18, 2012 Laudys rated it really liked it
I was rather surprised to find that Inspector Chen had more of a minor role in this book and that Zhu Irzh had replaced him as the main voice. Surprised because I had quite liked Zhu Irzh's character and narrative in the first book and wasn't expecting so much more of it. He's just so... himself.

Once again, power thirsty people plot to wreak havoc but their schemes backfire and the stakes of failure couldn't be higher. With fast paced action, wrath inducing drugs, missing gods, lots of travelin
Shawn Thrasher
Dec 15, 2016 Shawn Thrasher rated it really liked it
It's always the edge of night in Liz William's Singapore Three (The Demon and the City). The sun is always just about to set or just about to rise. That's because this second Inspector Chen novel is all about edges -- the edge of night and day, the edge of heaven and hell, the edge of sanity, tottering at the edge as the world ends. William's writing is so rich and layered; like a red and black lacquered box of magic and mystery. I missed Inari - but the badger tea kettle was there in full force ...more
Nov 17, 2008 Brendan rated it it was ok
I loved Snake Agent; this one I struggled to finish. I still love the world Williams has created, but this story is just not as compelling as the story of Snake Agent. Though Zhu Irzh is an interesting character, there's just less at stake for him than there is for Chen--his worst case scenario is just going back to hell, so all of the action of this novel lacks the urgency that made Snake Agent such a compelling read.
Aug 10, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it
This book really carries on where the previous one left off- not directly but following up a number of hints and comments made in the previous book. Now this is a not a high concept book, nor is it a modern day classic - what it is however is fast fun and fascinating - now I see by other reviews this is not for everyone however for me i really enjoyed it - maybe not as much as the first - but still enough to drive me on to read the next instalment.
Oct 06, 2014 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, urban-fantasy
Not as good as the first Detective Inspector Chen story, possibly because that character in question is largely missing from the book... but more likely due to choppy writing, a sub-par melding of characters and some lame plot devices which added nothing to the book.

However, there was some good too. I enjoyed the further development of the world which Williams is writing, expanding not only on Singapore Three, but also with greater insight into Hell and Heaven and the wider world beyond the Chin
Margaret Taylor
Meet Singapore Three … a city set in a future that’s just around the corner, a nexus of cultures where you can find nanobots and whorehouses, magical drugs and fried noodles, seedy slums and the estates of the rich. And gods and demons from several major religions walk the earth.

Zhu Irzh is a rookie cop in the Singapore police department. He’s here on a work visa because he was born in Hell. The Demon and the City is a fascinating send-up of the noir genre, several world mythologies, and some re
Nov 11, 2014 Pauline rated it liked it
I also agree with the previous review. The first book gave me really high expectations for Liz Williams's writing. Where the first book was exciting, had good flow, and good character profiles, the "Demon and the City" presents a tumultuous disarray of events and a rather unlikeable character cast. I liked Zhu Irzh's character in the first novel. He seemed like a real demon of the aristocracy, but in this follow-up book, he is reduced to a clumsy and weak protagonist. Chen is gone for the first ...more
Oct 03, 2007 Brownbetty rated it really liked it
A good book, although a little disappointing compared to its predecessor. Basically you should read Jam's review, which I will quote in full since I cannot figure out how to link on this site. What's wrong with html, you fiend?

"Two of the characters I liked from the first book are missing for most of this, so as much as I enjoyed it, it gets a slightly lower rating for that. Still a great book, still actually original and still definitely worth reading."

Yeah, that. And I disliked very much that
May 08, 2011 Jenn rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I was somewhat disappointed in this book. I really, really liked The Snake Agent and love this unique world that Williams has created with Heaven, Hell, and Earth in the balance. I love Agent Chen and his "sidekick"/partner Zhu Irzh and his adorable, feisty wife Inari and their badger/teakettle. But this plot - to me - was a big ol' mess. I often dislike a novel with the structure of having each chapter from a different point-of-view, and this book was difficult because a few of the point-of-vie ...more
The Demon and the City is another one of those wonderful books where the City is a major character. Although Singapore 3 doesn't exist (yet) Liz Williams depicts it vividly in all its steamy, smelly, garish glory. Not just the elegant upper reaches where the wealthy (mostly Evil, and in league with Even More Evil) lord it over the rest, but the crowded middle class and lower class areas - abandoned temples, markets, criminally overcrowded markets.

The characters are wonderfully vivid, as well -
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 05, 2016 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
C2006: FWFTB: demonic, Singapore, Heaven, heiress, socialite. Strange in a good way. It probably would have been a 4 star read but it all got a bit convoluted for me about two thirds of the way through. What an original world and plot. Pacey to a point but full of effortless, sardonic humour which I really enjoyed. Recommended to those of the crew that like to experiment within the genre. ' God, I need a cigarette," Zhu Irzh said, coming out of a cabin. The maiden looked scandalized. "This is He ...more
I went in this book knowing Chen wasn't the main character and that Inari was not in it either. Knowing this I wasn't annoyed by the focus on Zhu Irzh and how he finds his balance and fits in Singapore 3.

Againg the world building is interesting and kept me reading. The new character, Jhai Teserai, I'm on the fence about. She did felt like a variation of the damsel in distress. Especially since it's having a physical relationship with Zhu Irzh that kinda 'saves' her.

Still the plot kept me readin
Jun 24, 2007 shay rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone patient
Shelves: mysteriooos
First of all, I liked the concept - Heaven and Hell, demons among men, and what-not. Yet I had quite a few problems getting into this story...Beginning slowly, there were some small grammatical errors that bugged me, but soon the book became a lot more interesting. This middle portion was engaging, switching between character perspectives with brief cliff-hanger chapters and lots of action. I enjoyed it. But then, the end came.

It wasn't bad - just not really engrossing. I found that I was readi
Aug 20, 2008 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book miffed at the 3.8 star average reading and muttering that some random group of people couldn't possibly accurately judge this book. After all, I had liked the first book very much and I was sure I'd like this one as much. While reading the book, I had conversations at work about self-selection. The people rating this were not a random group. Collectively we all selected this book for some common reasons. Now that I've finished the book, I find myself agreeing with the others. ...more
Oct 19, 2007 Speedtribes rated it liked it
This second Detective Chen novel isn't as tight as the first volume. Still enjoyable, but hampered by the fact that some of the reoccurring characters that I liked in the previous book didn't get nearly enough airtime in this one. I'm not certain I like the new female protagonist-- though, as is with a few of her other books, I found myself strangely fascinated. (Or at least grudgingly respectful. Neither of which is the same as actually liking however.)

The two main leads, Chen and Irzh are exce
Jun 26, 2013 Bevan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2013 Neil added it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, dnf

I've finally admitted that I'm not going to get into this book. I really enjoyed book one in the series, however book two has taken too long to get going. After having read a serious amount of Urban Fantasy this year, I was hoping that this series would build a solid lead character, carrying on from the last instalment. The big problem I ran into was that the first part of the book doesn't even introduce the protagonist from the last book. As such, I've struggled to get into it. Call it a sho
Mikko Saari
Interesting sequel to Snake Agent. This time Zhu Irzh takes the leading role. Somebody's messing with the meridian lines holding the worlds together. Hell is about to break loose, quite literally, and somebody has to do something about it. Once againt the book is chock full with all sorts of lovely details from world of Chinese occultism, and the result is an interesting story.
Julie Davis
Mar 08, 2010 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
#18 - 2010.

Much more Demon Zhu Irzh-centric, this is the second book in the series begun in Snake Agent. Detective Inspector Chen is on holiday in Hawaii leaving Demon Zhu Irzh holding the fort when the feng shui goes terribly awry in Singapore. Naturally this means mighty plots are afoot to take over earth ... this time from Heaven (based loosely on Chinese mythology). Also a cracking good yarn. Liz William's twist on Chinese mythology intersecting with our world makes a weird kind of sense for
Feb 17, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was another great Detective Chen novel, but it was mostly in the perspective of Zhu Irzh, the demon policeman from Hell who's working on Earth as Detective Chen's partner.

Since I had started with the third book in this series, this second novel filled in some back story for me.

The characters, location, and plot are all original and interesting. I'm so glad I came across this series at the library.
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There is more than one author with this name

Liz Williams is a British science fiction writer. Her first novel, The Ghost Sister was published in 2001. Both this novel and her next, Empire of Bones (2002) were nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award.[1] She is also the author of the Inspector Chen series.

She is the daughter of a stage magician and a Gothic novelist. She holds a PhD in Philosophy of
More about Liz Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Detective Inspector Chen (5 books)
  • Snake Agent (Detective Inspector Chen, #1)
  • Precious Dragon (Detective Inspector Chen, #3)
  • The Shadow Pavilion (Detective Inspector Chen, #4)
  • The Iron Khan (Detective Inspector Chen, #5)

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