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Happy Hour in Hell

Bobby Dollar, Volume 2
Narrated by: George Newbern
Series: Bobby Dollar, Book 2
Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
4 out of 5 stars (412 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

I've been told to go to Hell more times than I can count. But this time I'm actually going. My name's Bobby Dollar, sometimes known as Doloriel, and of course, Hell isn't a great place for someone like me - I'm an angel. They don't like my kind down there, not even the slightly fallen variety. But they have my girlfriend, who happens to be a beautiful demon named Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands. Why does an angel have a demon girlfriend? Well, certainly not because it helps my career.

She's being held hostage by one of the nastiest, most powerful demons in all of the netherworld - Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell. He already hates me, and he'd like nothing better than to get his hands on me and rip my immortal soul right out of my borrowed but oh-so-mortal body. But wait, it gets better! Not only do I have to sneak into Hell, make my way across thousands of miles of terror and suffering to reach Pan-demonium, capital of the fiery depths, but then I have to steal Caz right out from under Eligor's burning eyes and smuggle her out again, past demon soldiers, hellhounds, and all the murderous creatures imprisoned there for eternity.

And even if I somehow manage to escape Hell, I'm also being stalked by an undead psychopath named Smyler who's been following me for weeks. Oh, and did I mention that he can't be killed? So if I somehow survive Hell, elude the Grand Duke and all his hideous minions, and make it back to the real world, I'll still be the most hunted soul in Creation. But at least I'll have Caz. Gotta have something to look forward to, right? So just pour me that damn drink, will you? I've got somewhere to go.

©2013 Tad Williams (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings

What did you like best about Happy Hour in Hell? What did you like least?

This book has an interesting and scary take on Hell. We got to see some of the love and purity of heaven last book, now you get the other side. Dollar learns a lot about true desperation.

There's a few things that really bothered me about the book. The biggest one is the "interludes" to his one night with Caz. The problem is, in the other book it was quite detailed, they did this, fell asleep, woke and did this... But in this book there's ALL these conversations and sexual experiences that don't feel genuine to the original story of the night. It feels like they are just in here to justify him being in Hell and being infatuated like a 14 yr old boy. I also don't see the connection between them. I see obsession and infatuation from him, and a careless attitude at the best of times from her. She's either being bitchy or WAY to vulnerable for a hundreds of years old demon. At one point she's telling him to shut up so she can tell a story, but then doesn't want to finish it once she gets his attention and is at the last part. I was getting so annoyed with her character.
He seems to truly be in love with her beauty, but nothing about her. Their whole thing just doesn't add up for me. It detracts from an interesting story.

Another thing is the amount of time spent in hell vs what was actually accomplished. I did a lot of fading in and out of interest, and when I realized I faded, I didn't need to go back, I knew it was just stuff. Not actual needed info to progress the story.

I will probably give another book in the series a chance. I think Williams is a creative writer, but his relationship and romance writing needs some work.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Let me explain. No, there is too much; let me sum up

So you don't waste your credit on this book I'm going to sum up the entire middle of it for you: Hell is awful, Bobby Dollar is an idiot, Cas is really beautiful. No, really Hell is every bit as bad as you ever imagined, Bobby Dollar has the decision making skills of a hormonally carbonated adolescent, and Cas is the hottest thing since the sun! We know that cause we're hit over the head with it over, and over, and OVER.
I kept expecting Dollar to stop at some point and say "Hey, something must be up here, because I'm this angel who was a pretty big bad ass, so this thinking with my genitalia about a woman, whose only redeeming quality is her looks has to stop." At which point the plot would advance.
Nope.
The only reason this thing makes 2 stars is the beginning and end were decent. Not enough to make up for the middle, though. Not even close. Also the narrator was good, so should be acknowledged.




11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not at all like the first book!!

The first book was great. There was an interesting detective-like story with clues along the way. There was one sex-scene and the rest was story.

This book - not so much. It is a series of the author's imaginings of what Hell would be like. You go from one tortured description of torture to another. Dollar loses limbs, is subjected to horrific sights, sounds, tastes and experiences. There's no feeling of progression. It's just boring after a while. These scenes were littered with flashbacks to Dollar's sexual encounter with Cas. Now, however, it's really more about the sex. The entire book is torture and sex and sex as torture, in explicit detail.

I know the author can do better, the first book proves it. This book, however is a huge waste of money and time. Relying on sex scenes to propel the story is just cheap and beneath the author's skill and my respect.

Skip this one - you won't miss out on anything.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Audie
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 11-15-13

Bobby Dollar you love struck FOOL

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The ending

What was most disappointing about Tad Williams’s story?

It didn't measure up to the first book. Yes, I did enjoy the book but I expected more.

What three words best describe George Newbern’s voice?

Entertaining, Good,

Could you see Happy Hour in Hell being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Yes I could see this made into a movie but it never will be unless his next books to this series is better then this one.

Any additional comments?

Its a good listen. To me it was barley worth the credit, but it was worth the credit. I hated that he is so obsessed with his demon lady. I mean come on she is a demon and he is a angel. You know that he's going through all kinds of hell and she will probably just screw him over cause its in her nature. I loved the first book. This book not so much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

intense images, a tough guy who won't give up

Bobby is in the soup for real this time, in a surreal menagerie of beings, some out to get him, most who just want to get by for another day in hell.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome. Great addition to the Bobby Dollar series.

There really wasn't a happy hour in Hell. But Bobby Dollars' tribulations in Hell were a great story. Many reviewers complain this book is nothing like the first, but that's what makes it great. I found it fascinating with rich descriptions of Hell and the inhabitants. The places and structure of Hell in this book add a new flavor for the unfortunate consequences of a life lived sourly. A great adventure. I kept wondering what would happen next. I was not disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very Disappointing

What would have made Happy Hour in Hell better?

The details of travels through Hell were so ponderous that whole chapters could have been skipped. I was particularly disappointed with the wrap-up at the end by way of an epilogue... that left way too many questions unanswered. More time on sound development of the story line and less of the junior high-school focus on the distasteful details of Hell would have been nice.

Have you listened to any of George Newbern’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I thought Newbern did a fine job. Too bad he didn't have a better story to work with. I have to suspect that he would have had a difficult time keeping his interest up in the story, too.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was very intrigued with the first book, "Dirty Streets of Heaven." I really looked forward to this second installment of Bobby Dollar. I was terribly disappointed in this book.

Any additional comments?

It's hard for me to imagine a publisher's editors letting this get to press in this form. There were so many unnecessary chapters that should have been pulled out before this project was ever printed or performed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A step behind Bobby Dollar

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The escape from Hell was too long. A reader wants to know how the story turns out and it just took a long time to find out

What about George Newbern’s performance did you like?

Excellent as always

Was Happy Hour in Hell worth the listening time?

I give it a 3 out of 4

Any additional comments?

There has to be a third book to wrap the series up. I would like to see more conflicts from Heaven and the hopefully good outcome on the forbidden romance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Catholic afterlife — without Jesus

This is primarily a review of the first two books’ theology from a Christian perspective. All I will say from an entertainment perspective is that the plot, characters and narration are all engrossing enough for me to have completed the second book in the series— and that the descriptions of hell will definitely curb your appetite for food and probably for sex.
This applies as much to Book One as to Book Two:
Bobby Dollar’s eschatological universe is built on a Catholic framework — but without Jesus. It’s structurally Catholic, because Purgatory serves as an intermediate step toward heaven. Bobby Dollar’s assigned mission is to advocate — against the representatives of Satan — for the souls of recently deceased persons to go to heaven, or at least to Purgatory.
However, nowhere in these trials does anyone claim the saving mercy of Jesus through the redemption of the cross. Although Christian morals and some traditional theological reasoning are both present, it’s a Christless theism that isn’t much akin to Judaism. People are judged strictly on whether they have done good or evil, and what personal extenuating circumstances may have mitigated their sins enough to keep them out of hell. It’s a good format for raising significant moral questions about motives and deeds, as long as the reader doesn’t mistake it for an examination of Christianity. If this was evangelical Judgment, Jesus himself would show up to tell the demonic forces that he had died to save this person, and then escort the person safely to heaven. If this was Catholic Judgement, there would be somewhat more complicated questions involving sacraments and the Act of Contrition, before the soul continued to Purgatory or Heaven, again based on the saving death of Jesus. None of that is present.
Beyond that, the descriptions of angels may disturb readers. Actually, the strong masculine angels of these books are far more biblical than the cherubs and generally feminine or effeminate portrayals in much pop theology and pop art. And the idea that an angel could go bad and rebel against God is consistent with orthodox Christianity. Williams leans toward the pop spirituality view that angels were formerly human, rather than the traditional biblical understanding that they are a separate order of being. But he leaves that a bit murky.
What may be most unsettling to Christians about even the best angels in these stories is that their understanding of virtue and holiness has no application to their sexual conduct. Although they can harshly judge human adultery, the angels have sex with each other, with humans and even with demons, without marriage or moral qualms concerning fornication. It reminds me of a real mega church pastor who fell from grace years ago in a scandal when he was found to have committed adultery with numerous married women. He had apparently convinced them it was acceptable by quoting Mark 12:25, a passage that has traditionally been taken to mean that neither angels nor saints have sex in heaven: “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” The mega church pastor told the women that this really meant that in heaven — and presumably among angels — you could have sex with whomever you want, without benefit of marriage. He might have been the inspiration for Bobby Dollar, although Dollar does discover his One True Love and strives to be faithful to her.
Regarding the specific plot of “Happy Hour in Hell,” it owes as much to the pagan myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as to Dante, James Joyce and others who have written their visions of hell. It raises significant theological questions about the justice of damning people forever, whether damned souls may experience true repentance and, consequently, be reprieved from hell. But it’s unsatisfying as an exploration of Christian doctrine on these issues — doctrine on which Christian traditions have a variety of teachings in any case. The central difficulty is that there is no option to claim salvation through Jesus, and no reference to the crucified Jesus descending to the underworld to liberate trapped souls. There is, however, a sense in which Bobby himself serves as a Christ figure in this book — descending to Hell and suffering in order to save the demon he loves. On that level, it works as an exploration of saving love, and of love that sees past sims and flaws to the core of created goodness at the heart of a damaged soul.
Plot wise there are some logical gaps. The main one for me is how Bobby can keep secrets from his angelic superiors when mere mortals have guardian angels who know everything they think, say or do. But this is a work of fantasy, so it’s fair to suspend logic. Bottom line: I’ve enjoyed these books immensely — but don’t regard them as a serious exploration of Christianity.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Deeply Flawed

This book was a slog with no plot. Extremely disappointing after the spectacular first book.

Narrator was fantastic, though. Probably the only reason I finished.