Lucifer's Lottery

Lucifer's Lottery - Edward Lee Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
boobs: 3
blood: 5
bombs: 4
bondage: 2
blasphemy: 5

I liked this book enough to finish it, but it's not Edward Lee's best. The book follows Mr. Lee's formula impeccably: an introductory vignette, then a series of unrelated plotlines that are clearly headed for a calamitous finale that unfolds with predictable and horrific results.

Unlike his other stories, though, Lucifer's Lottery doesn't "gel" effectively. The disparate plotlines are interesting enough in their own ways, but the way they intersect seems forced - it's like the ending was written first, and the rest of the story was forced to fit it.

I had very high hopes for Mr. Lee's description of the goings-on in Hell, but it came across as a bit theatrical and even tawdry. For example, a bridge made of living humans that cars drive across - the humans are screaming, but a few words about the agony they experience lashed together and crushed under tires for an eternity would have been a good counterpoint to the civilized conversation happening in the car. Each page missed opportunities to heighten the agony and despair stemming from the grotesque perversions; the writing is especially sensual (vision, smell, etc) but the punishments meted out wholescale are experienced so abstractly by the protagonist I didn't get any sense of horror or revulsion. It feels like Mr. Lee was trying too hard to describe the scale of Hell, at the expense of the experience of Hell.

If you like stories about temptation and paranormal horror involving the Christian mythos with a triple helping of gore and violence, this could be a good introduction to Edward Lee's corpus. However, if you're a longtime fan of Lee (especially his Appalachia series) you'll probably read this book just to complete the canon.