I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the book. I feel it was like something about a painted man, but I know it starts with a tattoo artist who unknowingly inks out a sigil that summons a demon, and is then saved by a blind lady with a katana, who might be called Winter. At some point he is granted "the Sight" and can now see the real versions of the people around him, some of whom are missing eyes, or ears, or have other horrid wounds that are the result of unpaid debts to supernatural beings.

He then goes on some big journey to the underworld, or some other secret realm, where angels and demons fly around in airships shooting at each other, and then at one point he fought a clone of himself. I think his mission might have had something to do with a book that he was supposed to give to the devil, but I could be pulling that from a different book.

I know for sure that he was a tattoo artist, that he got the sight, there was a blind swords lady, and that there were angels in airships.


Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey.

*Butcher Bird

Spyder Lee is a happy man who lives in San Francisco and owns a tattoo shop. One night an angry demon tries to bite his head off before he's saved by a stranger. The demon infected Spyder with something awful - the truth. He can suddenly see the world as it really is: full of angels and demons and monsters and monster-hunters. A world full of black magic and mysteries. These are the Dominions, parallel worlds full of wonder, beauty and horror. The Black Clerks, infinitely old and infinitely powerful beings whose job it is to keep the Dominions in balance, seem to have new interests and a whole new agenda. Dropped into the middle of a conflict between the Black Clerks and other forces he doesn't fully understand, Spyder finds himself looking for a magic book with the blind swordswoman who saved him. Their journey will take them from deserts to lush palaces, to underground caverns, to the heart of Hell itself.

The lady with the sword is named "Shrike", after a bird of that name, also known as the "Butcher Bird" due to its habit of keeping live insects it has captured impaled on thorns to eat later.

I found it by searching for book "tattoo artist" demon blind swordswoman with katana after a few abortive attempts at shoehorning "Winter" into the query.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.