Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw

Publisher  - Rebellion

Price - £9.99  Paperback (Out Now)

Gods. Gore. Good Food.

By day, Rupert Wong - sorcerer, chef, former triad prepares delicious meals of human flesh for a dynasty of ghouls in Kuala Lumpur; by night, he's an administer for the Ten Chinese Hells. It's a living, of sorts.

When the Dragon of the South demands that Rupert investigate the murders of his daughter and her mortal husband, Rupert is caught in a war between gods that's as bewildering as it is bloody. 

If he's going to survive, he'll need to stay sharp, stay lucky, and always read the fine print...

We all on occasion hate our bosses. The job can be stressful; the hours and conditions hard and our co-workers can vex us (I strongly say this is in no way reflects my current employers – honest guv).  So, imagine if you served at the pleasure of Hell, Gods and ghouls?  No Unions just the threat of dismemberment, eternal damnation and lots of pain. Enter Rupert Wong  - Cannibal Chef and this is a witty and often scarily tasty double bill of stories that may make you happily confirm your workplace is not truly a living hell.  This book covers two novellas that tell the story of Rupert’s adventures.  They are linked but worth highlighting their original format. Regardless, I think you should give this a go as Khaw is one of the freshest writers out there and this is yet another great set of tales from her.

The first story is set in modern Kuala Lumpur and focuses on how Rupert s set up to investigate the murder of a Dragon’s daughter and her husband by one of the Greek Furies.  Yes, this a multi-faith world! The major plus is Rupert’s voice while he is certainly a rogue (and does make meals of human flesh) he is so damn likeable!  Khaw combines his sense of humour;  a touching relationship with a violent ghost and his admittedly unusual sense of morality which all make him really engaging as our narrator. The central mystery of who would kill a God’s daughter also makes a tricky puzzle for the reader to put the clues together as Rupert finds himself battling other investigators and with the Gods failure often is fatal….

The second tale moves Rupert to London and this time he is dealing with a mainly European/Greek pantheon. An unusual level of holy gang warfare is underway, and Rupert is forced by his bosses to assist (and cook). A highlight of the tale is that it reveals new Gods are being create and once you realise what caused a new God to be created it is both fascinating and a rather pointed comment on our own times. How the Gods hide in plain sight is also an interesting trick.  This one has a lot more violence as factions clash and it’s more a case of which side is Rupert best placed to support to allow him to get home.

I don’t really want to say too much about he plots as mysteries they are better to discover yourselves.  But what I think should be highlighted is Khaw’s way of making a world come alive.  Both London and Kuala Lumpur are brought to life and there is interesting commentary on how those cities and their people work together. The fantasy sequences are both comical and regards gods also a reminder that those in power are not to be trusted and that the pantheons all seem to share a similar appalling view as to the treatment of women.

Khaw has already two very different but also excellent crime/horror stories set in a more noir world.  This collection is more loud and colourful but offers a very delicious read and I hope Rupert has future courses and adventures to come.