Shadow has just been approved for release from prison. He's looking forward to reuniting with his beloved wife, Laura. But just as he's been released, he learns that Laura & his best friend were both killed in the same car accident. His first destination after prison release: his wife's funeral. It is there that he learns the unpleasant truth behind the cause of the car accident. It seems that his wife & best friend were getting a little too "familiar" with one another when they were hit by an oncoming car. Learning this, however, does not diminish Shadow's love & devotion to his wife which comes in handy when his deceased wife begins appearing to him in the form of a zombie/ghost something-or-other as a way to warn him about things he is getting involved in. Shadow has been recruited by Mr Wednesday for a very high-paying, very dangerous job. He finds himself traveling the country from time-to-time meeting contacts of Mr Wednesday's. Between trips, Shadow has been instructed to lay low in a small town in northern Wisconsin. He begins to get to know a few people, make some connections, when he become suspicious of some of the strange things that go on here every year. In a near-death experience, he learns the truth about the suspicious going-ons & reveals the truth, bringing sad justice upon the wrong-doer. He also learns the truth about who Mr Wednesday really was & what connection he had with him.
Dark, suspicious, & at some times sad, you would think this would not be as highly rated & loved by so many people. But, here I am, joining the crowd & casting my vote for this book as a "must read". I think what really brought meaning to the story was Neil Gaiman's comments at the end of the story on why he wrote this book & why he picked this title.
Age recommendation: 18 & up (profanity, detailed sexual scenes, multiple mentions of sexual parts of the anatomy in both medical & slang terms, ghost activity)
On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 9.