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The Dirty Streets of Heaven

(Bobby Dollar #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  8,670 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
Bobby Dollar is an angel -- a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby's wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own -- pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren't all his fault. Bobby can't entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he's not too sure about any of his fe
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by DAW Penguin
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Allegra It's not erotica, but there is one sex scene that's on the graphic side.…moreIt's not erotica, but there is one sex scene that's on the graphic side.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  8,670 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews

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Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Back in 1996, I was in the middle of a creative crisis. I'd been working on The Name of the Wind for a couple of years, and I was consumed with doubt.

The problem? My book was long and complicated. "Am I wasting my time?" I thought, "Does anyone even publish long, complex fantasy series these days?"

Then I picked up Tad Williams' Dragonbone Chair. Apparently people *were* still publishing long, complicated fantasy trilogies.

This knowledge relaxed me, and I kept on writing.

I kept reading Tad Wil
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-paranormal
So I own all of Tad Williams' work in hardback, except for the book about the cats because I refuse to read books with dogs or cats as protagonists because EVERY TIME ONE OF THEM GETS KILLED AND I CRY. Ahem.

Anyway, having loved his more fantasy-based stuff, I was a bit hesitant to read this foray into an urban fantasy/noire world starring angels and demons. But OMG it is SO GOOD you guys. I couldn't sleep after I finished reading it because I was so sad about the characters' stories ending. Bobb
Experiment BL626
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: paranormal, reviewed
CAUTION: Long Review

The Dirty Streets of Heaven was unoriginal and underwhelming. It was another urban fantasy about angels and demons, meaning I didn't expect the series to break new ground. Nonetheless, the countless flaws in the book underlined how much originality the urban fantasy lacked.

The World Building

+++ the twist

TDSH put a twist on the eternal war between Heaven and Hell. Violent confrontations are prohibited, instead angels and demons fight for human souls in a supernatural court of
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting premise about earthbound angels whose job it is to help souls navigate their way to heaven after death. The main character, Bobby Dollar is a marvellous character. He's an angel with all the characteristics that that can bring plus he is smart, witty and able to fight his way out of a tight corner. Tad Williams writes the book with plenty of action and humour and it was certainly a way of passing several pleasant hours. I will be looking out for the sequel ...more
Eric Means
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was distinctly underwhelmed, to be honest. I loved The Dragonbone Chair and the rest of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and have read and reread it over the years. The City of Golden Shadow and the rest of the Otherland series was likewise extensive, inventive, and well-developed.

DSOH, in comparison, feels as if Tad Williams dashed off a (relatively) short story with little to no editing in order to meet a contractual deadline or something. Some of the prose is just flat out bad (my least favorite l
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those used to Tad’s more traditional Fantasy (such as Memory, Shadow and Thorn and the Shadowmarch series) this one is different. So different in that, had the name not been on the front, I wouldn’t have said they were the same writer.

This is being widely seen as Tad’s take on Urban Fantasy: you know, moody male with issues, living a tough life, with ‘problems’, usually of the supernatural type.

Not his usual, then: but it is good.

First thoughts are that Bobby Dollar, Tad’s protagonist, fit
Bobby Dollar is an angel, his role here on earth is to advocate for the souls caught between heaven and hell. As a result of this, Bobby knows about sin, in fact, he wrestles with a few himself; pride, lust and anger. Whether it’s pride or just instinct, Dollar can’t trust his superiors or his fellow earth bound angels so when souls start disappearing, things are bound to get bad; end of the world bad.

Like the Dresden Files, The Dirty Streets of Heaven blends urban fantasy with hard-boiled crime
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Initial thoughts: Well...this book started out soooooo strong for me!!! I was totally entranced and sucked in. But then...well, it went seriously downhill. It took me forever to finish this because I just didn't have the desire to pick it back up. Review to come at some point.


Actual rating: 2 I-Wish-I-Could-Get-This-Time-In-My-Life-Back stars. No spoilers.

I don't even want to write a review for this...

Bored photo: le-sigh_zpse70a70f1.gif

Maybe that's why I've put it off for so long?

I don't even know where to begin?!

I w
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4.5 Stars

Dirty Streets of Heaven, the first book in the Bobby Dollar series by Tad Williams is a real surprise. Tad Williams has always been one of my very favorite authors, from The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, to the Otherland Series, to all his other top notch fantasy reads. Williams is a gifted fantasy storyteller that has a huge following. In this book he departs from his genre for the first time and delves into the streets of Urban Fantasy. Thankfully, this is not another vampire or w
Nick Borrelli
Oh man was this a miss for me. I have to preface this by saying that Tad Williams is probably my favorite fantasy author of all-time. The guy can do no wrong. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is phenomenal and the Shadowmarch series is not far behind in quality in my opinion. I was a bit skeptical about him delving into the urban fantasy realm. I say this because Tad is such a damn good epic fantasy writer. He's so good that he dominates that segment of the fantasy genre. Nobody writes with the beauty ...more
David Sven
Its Control vs Chaos. Sam and Dean Winchester vs Leviathan. Ok, maybe it doesn’t feature Maxwell Smart or two unemployed monster hunters – but the humour definitely falls somewhere between, and the makers of Supernatural could easily made this into a side episode with an Angel’s POV. C’mon – angels vs demons. Heaven vs Hell. God’s gone awol? Yep, Supernatural. Except a very annoying version of the TV show (which I watch religiously – yuk yuk yuk!)

I don’t know what it is. Maybe urban paranormal f
More like 2.5 stars, but the last part dragged it up to 3. I'm halfway curious to see what happens, but don't know if I care enough to read the sequel. ...more
Ed Yong
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I've been experiencing a hunger for novels featuring angels and I found this. It was not what I wanted. I wanted wings and all I got from this was a feather. I sorta knew this isn't your usual angel-novel. The struggle between heaven-hell is analogized as court struggle. There's the advocates (Angels) that try to get the dead to heaven and the opposition (Demons) that want as many souls burning in hell as possible. But things get complicated when souls start disappearing before the court starts. ...more
Pedro António
(2.5 stars rounded up to 3)

I'll start by saying this is my first novel by Tad Williams. The Dirty Streets of Heaven (TDSOH for short)is this month's book for the Sword and Laser bookclub and having heard good things about the author I decided to give it a shot.

Spoilers will be kept at a minimum as the review is aimed at those who have yet to read the book and want the opinion of someone who's new to Williams' work.

The prologue is full of action, which led me to believe it was setting the tone fo
Jacob Proffitt
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steamy, urban-fantasy
It's always risky when a talented author enters a new genre. Even if the motives are pure and they aren't riding the latest craze looking for bonus cash, it can fail as the author steps outside of their well-known norm. I'm happy to say that didn't happen with The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams.

This book functions as much as a detective noir book as it does Urban Fantasy, really. Bobby Dollar, angel advocate for the dead, finds himself in over his head when he shows up to an adjudicatio
Melissa McShane
I have a hard time reviewing this because I read it as an audiobook, a format I don't usually use, and it turns out to be a very different experience from a printed book. It's a good hardboiled detective novel masquerading as urban fantasy, a term I use loosely just because it's about angels and demons and set in a sort of run-down city. Bobby Dollar (Doloriel? Dolariel? This is the problem with audiobooks; you never know how to spell stuff) is an angelic advocate--I liked this part very much. P ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book tremendously. It is a little more earthy than Williams' more recent books, including colorful expletives to highlight moments of tension and a couple of adult scenes to establish the power and significance of a relationship.

In simplest terms, the book is an urban fantasy about angels and demons who advocate, each for their own side, for the souls of the dead, and what happens when a soul disappears and a demon advocate is killed and an angel advocate becomes curious about thos
The Review:

“One of the best urban fantasy novels that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Essential reading for urban fantasy fans.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a novel that I’ve been looking forward to ever since I first heard about it last year. However, it was a title that I was unable to pick up before the end of the year, because otherwise if I’d have read it would certainly have gone on the Best of… list, an
Aug 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Hi, I’m Bobby Dollar, and I’ll be your host for this review because my ex-reader is off in a corner doing a happy dance for – I quote – “surviving the interminable slog that is your hard-boiled angel-spy-thriller-detective voice.” I don’t know what she means by that, if you know what I mean, because I’m a tough guy, if you know what I mean. My ex-reader told me she was hospitalized twice for severe diaphragm strain from all the exasperated sighing, and once to have her eyes returned to their pro ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of urban fantasy
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Despite growing up reading all the fantasy novels I could get my hands on, and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn being a very well respected and popular fantasy trilogy from that time, I had never read any Tad Williams before this book -- which I will have to remedy in the near future, at the expense of my ever lengthening to-read shelf.

This book, and the forthcoming series, is not the sword-and-sorcery type of novel that Williams cut his teeth writing, but a modern, urban fantasy. But where most urban f
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook
I've never heard angels swear so much. Then again I've never talked to an angel. They started off nice until the last quarter of the book. From page one I was laughing at Mr. Dollar and his thoughts. I thought the writing was well done - until a little after halfway through. It was odd I went from LOVING this book (10 stars) to "I can't wait until it's done" (1 star) super quickly.

I'm not sure if it was because I realized I wasn't going to learn anything about anyone in the book that wasn't nam
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A new Tad Williams is always an exciting event. Here he tries his hand at urban fantasy with a hard-boiled flavour.
The fantasy is a battleground between the forces of Heaven and Hell, the urban setting a modern background, and the events typical of an adventure-thriller-mystery narrated in the first person by a hero who is quirky, cynical, witty, tough yet able to be touched by the right I said, typical of a genre.

So - is it original? Not really.
Is it good? Yes, but not five stars.
I loved the writing and the main character, Bobby Dollar. I haven't read alot of urban fantasy apart from the Dresden books but among the few I did read I found this one most to my liking. Yes, there were some similarities between this and the Dresden books. The humour, protagonist facing extreme odds, near-escapes, bone-weary hero keeps going that sort of stuff.
The concept of Heaven, Hell and the Angels and Demons is pretty well done. However, Bobby Dollar is a very low level player and to mak
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 29, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: sword-and-laser
Just couldn't get into it, but still want to read Tad Williams, maybe I'll try his sci-fi. I blame my upbringing, but I just can't get excited about angels. ...more
More spring cleaning. Sampling books I'm unlikely to enjoy in an effort to clean up Mt. TBR a bit more.

This is an odd concept.

Imagine angels as gritty, noir-ish detectives/public defenders and demons as sleek and scummy corporate lawyers and the two sides hash out a deceased person's sins in a courtroom presided over by a heavenly Judge.

The concept is rather unique, but I wish he'd chosen a different narrative voice to use. I got sick of the first person, wise-cracking, noir-ish PI heroes MANY
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review Originally at Bastard Books

ANALYSIS: I was very excited when this book was announced; Tad Williams was going to write about an angel caught between the politics practiced by Heaven and Hell. This was going to be a trilogy, and with Tad forsaking his door-stopper novel length approach, the project simply upped the intrigue factor for me besides its wonderful premise.

The main gist of the story is that angels reside among us; their angelic presence is ensconced in corporeal human shells. Th
Executive summary: This book is alright, but nothing special. Certainly didn't live up to hype. I gave it 3 stars, but really it was 2.5 for me. I could have easily gone with a 2.

Full Review
This is the first book by Tad Williams I've read, so I can't compare it to any of his previous works.

The best I can do is compare it to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or Thomas E. Sniegoski's Remy Chandler books.

The former being one most people who read Urban fantasy should be familiar with. The latter being
I picked this up at the library because I had read his stand alone book The War of the Flowers and absolutely loved it, so thought I would see how this series was before getting into any of his lengthier ones.

Although the book states that which religion it’s set in ‘isn't really clear’ it’s got to be Abrahamic, or maybe even just Judeo-Christian, since there’s one god (known as ‘the highest’), they use the terms associated with angels, heaven and hell in that tradition (Dukes of Hell, archangel
Mixed feelings. The story, which is about one of several earthbound angels trudging through his daily grind in his post-life job when the usual order is upset, isn't bad. And as he figures out what's going on, it becomes pretty intricate. But the writing is mediocre, the protagonist is pretty two-dimensional, and the few unnecessary sex scenes aren't just bad, they are extended. The ending is pretty unsatisfying, too -- not much is really wrapped up. First in a series, we'll see about reading mo ...more
I'm not going to give the book a rating, since I didn't finish. I got through the first 9 chapters (96 pages) and decided that I was done. It's a shame, I've heard such great things about Tad Williams and it was a Sword and Laser pick...

I had the book in audio and in Kindle forms. I tried at first to listen to the audio, but the narrator (George Newbern) wasn't doing it for me. The narration reminded me a bit of Wil Wheaton in that it was somewhat might have gone better if I had gone t
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Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide, in twenty-five languages. His considerable output of epic fantasy and science fiction book-series, stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers: the ‘Otherland’ epic relaunches June 2018 as an ...more

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