This is the second of the Detective Chen books, set in some future sci fi-ish Singapore III. You may remember I talked about the first book in the series, Snake Agent, here. I recommend you go read that review because it gives you a lot of background that I am not going to repeat here.
The landscape in this book is filled with temples and places of Chinese mythology, and just chock full of Chinese dieties, demons, and metaphysical places, like Hell, and a boring Heaven, and Dogtown, which seems somewhat like a purgatory.
Detective Chen works with a Hellkind, a demon assigned to him from the Vice Squad of Hell, and in this story, they get themselves involved with a creature who looks like a woman but is actually some kind of catlike being who is on her way to being the richest person in the city. She has her lab working on altering celestial beings she has captured, and it all gets really crazy. She wants to take over Hell and Heaven as well. Talk about ambition!
It involves a dowser, not for water, but who dowses for the meridian lines, the energy lines crisscrossing the city. His patron goddess was once a human and has become a bovine personage, but is beginning to lose her power, and finally turns into a placid cow.
No, really. I don’t make this stuff up. Liz Williams did.
So it is more of a fantasy thriller than a mystery, and a lot of fun, and goofy, and a world you cannot possibly ever imagine living in. But I want the tea kettle/badger who lives with Detective Chen. If I remember correctly, it was a demon or something that got stuck in a spell and now spends its life in this altered state, traveling around with the Detective and helping out. You would be surprised how much a tea kettle/badger can do in the way of spying and biting enemies. Really. Almost as good as a pit bull.