I went into Neil Gaiman's back catalog in celebration of the publication of [b:The Ocean at the End of the Lane|15783514|The Ocean at the End of the Lane|Neil Gaiman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1351914778s/15783514.jpg|21500681], also because I realized the only other novel by Gaiman I'd read was [b:Stardust|16793|Stardust|Neil Gaiman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328433738s/16793.jpg|3166179]. So, that needed fixing. American Gods starts out in a fairly straight forward way: Shadow has been in prison for various non-violent crimes and has been practicing coin tricks to bide his time. He is looking forward to being released and starting over again with his wife. This being Neil Gaiman, of course this doesn't happen and more than a couple supernatural occurrences leave Shadow feeling out of his wits and means. Mr. Wednesday hires Shadow to be his driver, of course after Mr. Wednesday appears several times in places that Shadow just happens to be, like his flight home to his wife's funeral. Mr. Wednesday is Shadow's guide deep into an underground of American gods, gods that have arrived from other places along with their followers from other places. Some of the gods are more powerful than others, and some are just plain down on their luck. From bizarre roadside attractions to frozen Mid-Western towns, Shadow sees the supernatural underbelly of the rural routes of America. This is more than a road novel, and more than just a Neil Gaiman road novel (which would be awesome if it ever appeared). Shadow has to complete some demanding tasks through the course of the novel, and while a clever reader can figure out the identities of some of the American gods, the plot unfolds in an organic way until the plot begins to take off.