Book Review: “The Everything Box” by Richard Kadrey

The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey

A new novel by Richard Kadrey, the first of his that I have read, is a bit of supernatural rom-com set in contemporary LA (and preternatural suburbs and neighborhoods thereof).

Coop and his cronies are small time crooks, using their combined supernatural talents to steal. But Coop gets tangled up in a complex series of events surrounding an object that may be a 4,000 year old end-of-the-Earth device (possibly from God).

Or it may be the way to summon one or more of the ancient elders. Or it might raise the dead, or at least convert the living dead back to just living. Everyone seems to know it is significant, but it in a way that is especially important to each.

Pretty soon, we aren’t sure what “the everything box” really is, but it is probably best to keep it out of the hands of criminals, cults, the government, angels, demons, or any number of other supernatural entities.

I can’t say that the plot totally makes sense.  Given the high level of “Peculiar Science”, not to mention magic, monsters, and general LA goofiness, how could it?

It is fun to meet all the strange people (well, people-like entities), who live their everyday life filled with strange talents and weird differentness. Coop and his friends are nice folks, mostly.

The supernatural mall is great! I mean, of course, vampires and werewolves and all need shops and food courts (with obnoxiously cute names), though, of course, the details are different from the mall catering to ordinary mortals.

The characters are interesting and there is a lot of pretty funny banter, and some pretty funny parts. As ever, people are people, family can be hell, and everyone loves a lover.

Despite some potentially very dark material, this is light reading, and Kadrey manages a happy ending (after some absurdly slapstick rampaging). The Deus Ex Machina is, in this case, sort of plausible and reasonable. I mean, Deus seems to have started and propelled the underlying crisis, so he, she, or it really ought to intervene to clean it up, no?

In the relative flood of supernatural noir fantasy (this, this, this, this, this, to mention a few), this book isn’t exactly unique. But it is good stuff.

I liked it.


  1. Richard Kadrey, The Everything Box, New York, HarperCollins, 2016.

 

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