• The Dirty Streets of Heaven

  • Volume One of Bobby Dollar
  • By: Tad Williams
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (983 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.

When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get - in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them.

You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Brace yourself - the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.

©2012 Tad Williams (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Dirty Streets of Heaven

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Angel Noir

What made the experience of listening to The Dirty Streets of Heaven the most enjoyable?

Tad Williams takes the reader on a great modern paranormal adventure with some innovative takes on Noir in a Modern context. The main character is well portrayed; as a flawed angel, tasked with advocating for the souls of the dead, Bobby Dollar is both real and supernal.

In Noir fashion, our hero is dropped in the thick of the Cold War between Heaven and Hell when a soul disappears on his watch. What follows is a ride that takes Bobby D through the righteous underbelly of San Judas (Santa Clara), California, angering Angels and Demons alike.

While the mystery is solved by the end of the book, it leaves many questions unanswered and I eagerly anticipate the next volume of the Bobby Dollar series.

What about George Newbern’s performance did you like?

Snarky and funny while keeping the tone serious at tense moments of the story.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I'll Read another Bobby Dollar Book

For fans of Dresden, it's hard not to compare this book to Jim Butcher's work. Which isn't really fair in my opinion. That tepid observation aside, I'll say this: I've started a ton of new series and the vast majority i never make it past book one. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A heavenly slice of urban fantasy.

Tad Williams offers up a modern view of the struggle between heaven and hell and in his version of the conflict things aren't quite as black and white as you would imagine. Angel Doloriel (Bobby Dollar) is unlike any angel you've ever read about before and his heavenly assignment is to be an advocate for the recently departed. He is responsible for pleading the case on behalf of the deceased's soul to ensure their final judgment results in a trip to heaven or no worse than minimal time in purgatory.

Bobby, like many other angels, spends a lot of time down on earth and he struggles with many of the same temptations that get the better of his clients. These are angels that drink, smoke, and curse like sailors so if such a portrayal is likely to offend you then best to take a pass on this one. After one case goes wrong, Bobby finds himself at the center of a giant heaven/hell conspiracy where he is likely to be the fall guy. He must sleuth out what is going on and in the process he finds himself up against extremely powerful beings on both sides of the eternal conflict.

Bobby has an engaging personality and you can't help but be amused by his views on life (and the after-life.) From foul language to sexual exploits and violence, he certainly crosses the line of "acceptable behavior" for an angel and you often wonder which side of the conflict is going to be his downfall in the end. As you would expect he has a moral compass that puts him on the good side of the line and you find yourself rooting for him to be successful.

Although the story ventures into weird territory from time to time it is definitely different and ultimately entertaining. As the mystery unravels the book gains momentum and it left me intrigued enough to give book 2 a try at some point. George Newbern does a good job on the voices and seems like a great fit for bringing Bobby D's unique personality to life.

9 people found this helpful

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An attention Keeper

If you could sum up The Dirty Streets of Heaven in three words, what would they be?

something for everyone

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bobby Dollar

What does George Newbern bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He brings every character to stunning life

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It had humor,action,developed characters and romance. I will wait for book 2 and hope it comes out in a hurry.

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed lots of Audible offerings but only a few have kept me listening so that I did not want to turn on the TV. I just wanted to see how the book proceeding racing toward an unknown finish.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Most Imaginative Gumshoe Novel Ever!

It's such a fantastic surprise when a book exceeds your every expectation. I didn't just like this book -- I loved it!

First reason: the character of Bobby Dollar, who is a modern take on the classic hard-boiled, pulp-fiction private eye. This guy can go wise-crack for wise-crack with Sam Spade or stand toe-to-toe with Mike Hammer.

Second reason: the imaginative setting. I can't think of any other neo-noir setting that is quite so much fun as this one. The uneasy truce between heaven and hell is the perfect background for a private-eye procedural where all-is-definitely-not-what-it-seems.

Third reason: the performance. George Newbern makes Bobby's wisecracks come alive. His pitch-perfect delivery of the "Prince Sat-on-a-panda" wisecrack had me in stitches.

I've been a fan of Tad Williams's since Tailchaser's Song and I'm very happy to see him return to stand-alone novels. I eagerly await the next installment in the Bobby Dollar series.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ok, it's the first in a new series....

I was excited to see that Tad Williams had started a new series. I am a big Williams fan, having enjoyed all of his other books. For those who haven't yet done so, I recommend reading or listening to his Otherland series. I would also recommend any of his fantasy books. The problem with The Dirty Streets of Heaven was that it wasn't near the quality of the other Williams offerings.

Had I not seen his name on the book, I never would have guessed that this book was written by Tad Williams. I would have thought it was a collaboration effort between Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files series) and Richard Kadrey (the Sandman Slim series). Bobby Dollar, it seemed to me, must be closely related to Harry Dresden. Dollar also inherited Dresden's sassy and (oftentimes but not always) endearing sense of humor. Maybe it's because I just got done listening to the (delightful) Dresden series, but I kept finding myself thinking I was listening to another Dresden book.

While the protagonist, earthy angel Bobby Dollar, is far less foul mouthed and depressed than Kadrey's (oftentimes but not always) likable Sandman Slim, he does have the same love/hate relationship with his otherworldly overlords (in Slim's case, the devil, and in Dollar's case, the angels). Dresden and Sandman are both series that took an original idea and ran with it. I hate to say it, but in my mind's eye I kept seeing Tad Williams talking to his editor about what kind of series he should write next. Anyone in the industry couldn't help but notice how successful this whole genre of books (the vampire, zombie, wizard, hellion themed books with a hip, loveable, very capable but self-denigrating anti-hero) has become. I kept wondering, as perhaps Tad Williams did while developing this character, "What would Harry Dresden do - WWHDD'? Where would Harry go? Or, what would a Harry Dresden-type character (who is a well intended, golden-hearted, anti-establishment earthbound angel) do if he had essentially the same personality as Harry Dresden but wasn't a wizard but rather an angel. Well, maybe it didn't happen that way at all. Maybe he didn't talk it over with his publisher at all.

What did Williams do well in this book? I was very impressed with his well considered presentation of the afterlife, and many of the salvation issues involved. His presentation of heaven actually made me excited to experience the afterlife. He deftly and successfully navigated around a lot of thorny theological considerations in a way that should offend few of any faith. In other words, as he does so well, Williams has created a consistent and believable imaginary world. What I found sadly lacking was the story itself and the characters. I expected better characters and character development from Williams. Other than Bobby Dollar and his (evil but virtuous, treacherous but warm-hearted, loyal but untrustworthy devil babe) girlfriend, the Countess of Cold Hands, I found the characters flat and not very likeable. I found the chase scenes and battle scenes with the "spawn of hell, creature, monster character" chasing and fighting with Dollar and his posse agonizingly frequent, predictable and boring. And the monster kept coming and Bobby kept escaping... again and again and again.

There are other shortcomings as well, but I don't want to whip a dead horse.

If I had never read Williams' other books, I wouldn't have expected as much as I did going into this one. Would I recommend it? I don't know. Will I read the next Bobby Dollar book? Probably, because I'm willing to try anything Tad Williams writes. Even when he lays a relative egg, he is a good enough writer that I'm willing to slog through it. At least this time.

I thought that the narrator, Dick Hill, did a yeoman's job. It was a good, but not in any way exceptional Hill performance.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Lacking creativity

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, I'd recommend a book to a friend that likes angels vs. demons stories, mysteries, and is more concerned about having something fun to read, rather then something that would amuse or surprise him.

Would you recommend The Dirty Streets of Heaven to your friends? Why or why not?

I guess I answered that on my first response.

What about George Newbern’s performance did you like?

Yes. George Newbern does a very good performance. He gives a lot of personallity to Mr.Bobby Dollar, as well as some of the other characters. I mean, you can not only identify the character by the way he reads, but you can also get a feeling on its mood and intentions. Well executed!

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

You know what? Yes, I would! Although I was a bit disappointed with it as a book, I think it would make a very nice thriller on the big screen.

Any additional comments?

I was disappointed by the lack of creativity of the story - too many clichês for my taste. It felt like Mr Tad Williams (which is a terrific writer) was being pressed by his publisher to deliver a book faster than he'd like, and his solution was to come up with this fast and easy to read story, but that lacks on much of the depth of his other works.

4 people found this helpful

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I liked it

interesting twist on a mystery. I found Bobby Dollar very likeable and will be listening to more in this series.

3 people found this helpful

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Angelic Gumshoe

Interesting story, well written. Dislike the narrator, especially when he tries to do accents. There ought to be a rule that if the narrator can't pull off an accent he isn't allowed to do them. Characters can be differentiated without resorting to bad Scottish, Australian and Hispanic accents, especially when the characters are angels and have no country of origin. If bad accents don't bother you, give it a try. If they do, read the physical version.

3 people found this helpful

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Angels as gritty investigators...I like it.

I came into this book with little expectations, I have read some of Tad Williams other novels and had mixed reactions to them. Some I liked a great deal, others...not so much. But I was looking for something a little different from my usual fare, and the title of this novel intrigued me. The base world of this novel is contemporary Earth, near San Francisco but in this world angels and devils/demons walk among us every day. You see, they all have day jobs in the employ of Heaven and Hell as part of the eternal struggle of Heaven and Hell for the souls of the living. At our deaths we are put on trial, a literal trial..complete with Judge (an angel) an advocate (basically an angelic public defender assigned by the court) and a demonic prosecutor assigned by hell. The prosecutor and the advocate present arguments why the soul should be damned or a saved. I will admit, at first I was not liking this novel, I am not much for overtly religious rhetoric and feared that this novel would devolve into a treatise on the pros and cons of Judeao-Christian-Islamic religious dogma. Luckily it did not, Mr. Williams keeps clear of endorsing or refuting any particular religious dogma and presents his world largely outside the constraints of established contemporary religious thought. He sticks to the story and the characters instead. The lead character of this novel can be described as a slightly dis-enchanted advocate of Heaven. A kind of gritty angelic Colombo character, and he is very entertaining. I enjoyed the character self-deprecation and infinite compassion. All the characters in the novel were well conceived, and explored. Completely believable albeit in a "film noir" way. The novel was light, funny, and at times poignant. I highly recommend this novel for those of you who like a "gum-shoe" type tale with a supernatural twist, and especially for those of you who have never read a "gritty PI"-style novel but are a bit curious about one.

3 people found this helpful

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