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Unclean Spirits

(Gods & Monsters #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  751 ratings  ·  121 reviews
The force of nature that is Chuck Wendig returns with an original urban fantasy novel, creating a brand new series for Abaddon Books.

Five years ago, it all went wrong for Cason Cole. He lost his wife and son, lost everything, and was bound into service to a man who chews up human lives and spits them out, a predator who holds nothing dear and respects no law. Now, as the m
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Abaddon (first published May 5th 2013)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  751 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Let's be real here. This one is bare-bones wicked, amping up the horror elements, the noir mystery elements, and then, finally, a total American Gods vibe.

Only all the gods have been cast down and the one who cast them down is gone. As in gone, gone. What's left? All the b-listers with a fragment of their original abilities, from Sumerian, Greek... everything... working to maintain their little kingdoms in the modern world.

Fifty years of this, and even the gods are jaded, annoyed, and upset abou
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
God & Monsters 1: Now this series would have been more appropriately and effectively called "Gods Are Monsters"! It's modern day Pennsylvania, and Cason Cole is just doing his job, you know, protecting his employer, who appears to have the ability to ravish anyone (man or woman) that he likes, until he wears them out, or gets bored with them.

Actually, no, not a playa, more a malignant, cold immortal being. And when he's killed, Cason's world unravels as he is hunted by immortals, as he himself
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What would happen if the Gods were real? Earthbound and vicious, Gods from all the ages walk among us, and they’re not really very nice. Offered a deal to save his families souls, Cason Cole has been a servant for one such God for five years. Until, one day, the God dies. Finally free, and with the knowledge that the Gods can be killed, Cason sets out to find his family and get some revenge.

This was weird, and has a definite love
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unclean Spirits is really two books - Unclean Spirits, by Chuck Wendig, and Drag Hunt, by Pat Kelleher. It's the start of a collaborative series, judging by the next two. The Gods have been cast out of their heavens, and now they're all here - and these are absolutely the cruel gods of ancient stories, those who meddle with mortals simply because they're bored.

Unclean Spirits, to start at the start, is the story of Cason Cole, one such mortal who attracted the attention of the gods, and is payin
Paul E. Morph
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only things I’ve read by Chuck Wendig before this novel were some Marvel comicbooks he did and I have to say that I didn’t think much of them. I only read this because the second book in the series is by an author I really like and I’m far too anal to even consider starting a series anywhere other than book one.

This being said, I really, really liked this book and am totally a Wendig convert... I just might stick to his novels from now on and give his comics a miss.

It would be tempting to wr
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revisiting American Gods for the first time since its publication via Starz tv show adaptation can put one in a nostalgic mood or maybe in a mood to read something in similar vein. Unclean Spirits fit the bill and I was interested in trying out a new author. Interestingly enough though, while this one is a beginning of a series (of course it is), it’s a series for Abaddon Publishing, not for Wendig. He departs this book just over two thirds of the way in (and quite abruptly actually) and the res ...more
Cupcakes & Machetes
I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Demonic, murderous unicorns. Every god of every pantheon is real and banished to Earth. Despite living among humans, they still see themselves as better and play with human lives like toys. Mostly people don't know it, but some sell their lives in order to save the ones they love from certain death. Like Cason Cole, his wife and son were stuck inside a burning vehicle after being hit by a drunk driver when tim
Johann Pollard
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-fantasy
Firstly published on my blog at

I am a huge fan of Chuck Wendig's, having devoured his Miriam Black books with relish. I'm also a faithful follower of his blog and the writing advice he dishes out on there are entertaining and quite brilliant in it's own right. I must admit my Urban Fantasy reading shelf leaves a lot to be desired, consisting mostly of Dresden running around doing what he does best. This book proves that there are some damn good ones out there that
Steve Tannuzzo
2019 was the year I became a Chuck Wendig fan. I've read two of the Miriam Black books and I'm looking forward to more in that series. Then came this summer's Wanderers, his epic attempt at a 21st Century take on The Stand and Swan Song, two of my favorite novels of all time. The guy's ambitious, I'll give him that. His books are for readers who love a good story that takes unexpected turns when you least expect them. He's brash and vulgar and sarcastic -- all good things, in this reader's opini ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF at 20%. Wasn’t for me at all unfortunately and recommend reading for yourself to develop your own opinion.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating: 3.75

Received from NetGalley
Joji Grey
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
From the very first page of Unclean Spirits I found myself constantly going back over paragraphs, genuinely wondering what the HELL I had just read. RC car bombs, walking lumps of scar tissue with a fondness for blowing things up, and unicorns that looked like they were made of every burning and angry thing that hell ever spat out.

Even halfway through, I found myself being shocked back into a state of "wait- WHAT?" in all the best ways. Every crazy thing got topped by another crazier thing.

Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wendig

Took me a while get into this one which is weird for me as Wendig’s books normally grab me from the get go. I think it’s due to me going in blind it sometimes works in my favour this time reading the synopsis would have helped.

Here we have Carson a bodyguard who finds that the stories of the gods are not made up fairy tales after all and now he needs to find out what they want with him and try and get his family back.
This is not your average gods/mythology story, for a start it’s Wendig so obv
Hahahahahaha I have to write a review for this? Are you serious? I have no idea how to do that. It's like Wendig went, "Okay, so you know American Gods? Like that, but dial up the weirdness."

So, uh, review to come, I guess.

-- Full review -- Will also be posted on Miriam Joy Reads --

This is an extremely difficult book to review, mostly because this is an extremely weird book.

I've described this as American Gods but weirder, and I think that's relatively accurate. Essentially Wendig has created a
Midu Hadi

Sure, this has been done before and is still a trope that’s in play. However, reading it in Chuck Wendig’s voice and with his choice of words, made the whole thing even better. If you haven’t yet subscribed to his email newsletter, you should!

Back to the book: The gods have been kicked out of the heavens. They’re here on Earth and still doing what they do best, i.e., play with human lives. But someone’s killing them and then there’s our protagonist, Cason, who was serving a deity and sees them b
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: January 30th 2018

"Hope, a mirage in the desert, a curtain of vapor forming for us an image of that which we most sincerly desire. Hope is not an oasis but rather, a trap."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Rebellion Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're a fan of mythology, be it Greek, Norse, Hindu, Native American, etc, I have a heads-up for you. All of those gods are real, and mostly they're a**holes. When the Christian God kicked them all out of Heaven, the gods were all exiled to Earth, where they use humans as their toys to manipulate as they choose.
Cason Cole is a former MMA fighter with a beautiful wife and young son he adores. In the aftermath of a car accident that burned his wife and son alive, time is stopped and a figure
Rpaul Tho
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. It’s as if A. Lee Martinez and Tom Holt had a lovechild who grew up with cigarettes and alcohol as the main staple in the family’s diet. That’s how I would described the author’s writing style. I plan to read more from him and hope they are all as funny and fun to read.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unclean Spirits is a fast paced, fun and gory urban fantasy, it’s kinda like American gods with added horror. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, the main focus of the book is to entertain and it certainly does that. It's the start of a series of books penned by different writers and I’m definitely on board to see where it goes from here. ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Gritty urban fantasy where ALL the gods are down on earth and they’re not happy! Worth a read

Full review at
Ramona Lazar
Not for me, sorry
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
American Gods is one of my favorite books. This is a similar world, with pantheons of gods among the humans, but bawdy, violent, funny, without the lyrical immigration stories. There are two separate stories in this book. The second one reads like a modern telling of a trickster god fable, one of my favorite kinds of stories.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It sounded like a book that would be right up my alley, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into it. I did not finish.
John Willson
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Great story, gripping writing.

What would the ancient gods be like if cast down to Earth in the modern age? I imagine they'd be just like this.

So, the other books in this series were written by other authors? What an interesting idea. Can't wait to read them.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cason Cole was a successful MMA fighter, but grew soft and complacent as a bodyguard for E. Rose, a magnetic, hedonistic man. One fateful day, a bomb kills his boss, releasing him from E. Rose's influence and making him aware of his past for the first time in years. Cason is then drawn into a world of mythology, gods, and magic and those who oppose all of it. He has to decide how hard he will fight to get his family back.

Unclean Spirits is story that satisfies my mythology obsession, takes me on
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-urban
I have to admit it took me a few chapters to actually warm up to this novel, the writing style was 'different' to say the least, but that is why I like Chuck Wendig he pushes the envelope of Urban Fantasy. I first became introduced to him via his Mockingbird novel and since then I am on the look out for his work.

Gods and Monsters was a good time, action, adventure, friendship and love. Goddesses and Gods playing a long game and Cason Cole is a human caught in the middle. Cason placed himself in
Christine Leja
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A meaner, dirtier American Gods. Wendig's past writing for the gaming industry shows: lots of fight scenes and snappy dialog. I have not read a lot of urban fantasy, so it's hard to judge it against its own genre. I also tend not to read books written in the present tense, so that was jarring as well.

The beginning was a bit of a slog, but once the story picked up the novel really grew on me. I would have gladly read more, and the ending does leave things a bit unresolved. An ad in the last page
aïda 🍒
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
|| actual rating - 3.5 ||

i Love Chuck Wendig and the way he writes. and he got me into urban fantasy ((like the other chuck did. Palahniuk))

[ a little bit of a spoilery review]

i quite liked Cason and !!!!!! can't believe I guessed what he is(kinda?).

of course Francis is a rat; all i could think of whenever he was mentioned was Francis dolarhyde from Red Dragon hahaha

i gotta say tho, near the end it got a bit too messy for me (which is why i didnt give a 4).
i mean, the lead up to it ; with the
harlequin {Stephanie}
Despite my palsy three star rating this book is a refreshing kick in the teeth.

In short, Chuck brings it to the mat. He perfectly captures the moody atmosphere. It hangs in the air. You can feel it. Smell it.

Character wise, the gods prrfect. Cason, I could care less about. I just can't forgive or forget the tragic turn Frank's character took. So much wasted. Frank was an ugly bastard that I was growing a great fondness for.
Brett Shields
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If there's a writer that's better at getting me out of a reading slump than Chuck Wendig, I've yet to come across them.
As always, the writing is electric, the mythology deep and dark and rooted in blood, and the protagonist as sympathetic and real and engaging as they come. I would've followed Cason (the poor sod) through a story much less gripping than this one.
Thanks for breaking my slump, dude!
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Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter's Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at th

Other books in the series

Gods & Monsters (6 books)
  • Gods and Monsters: Drag Hunt (Gods & Monsters, #1.5)
  • Mythbreaker (Gods & Monsters, #2)
  • Snake Eyes (Gods & Monsters, #3)
  • Food of the Gods (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1-2)
  • The Last Supper Before Ragnarok (Gods & Monsters: Rupert Wong, #3)

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