Sandman Slim investigates Death's death in this hip, propulsive urban fantasy through a phantasmagoric LA rife with murder, mayhem, and magic.
James Stark has met his share of demons and angels, on earth and beyond. Now, he's come face to face with the one entity few care to meet: Death.
Someone has tried to kill Death - ripping the heart right out of him - or rather the body he's inhabiting. Death needs Sandman Slim's help: He believes anyone who can beat Lucifer and the old gods at their own game is the only one who can solve his murder.
Stark follows a sordid trail deep into LA's subterranean world, from vampire-infested nightclubs to talent agencies specializing in mad ghosts, from Weimar Republic mystical societies to sleazy supernatural underground fight and sex clubs. Along the way, he meets a mysterious girl - distinguished by a pair of graveyard eyes - as badass as Slim: She happens to be the only person who ever outwitted Death. But escaping her demise has had dire consequences for the rest of the world... and a few others.
For years, Slim has been fighting cosmic forces bent on destroying Heaven, Hell, and Earth. This time, the battle is right here on the gritty streets of the City of Angels, where a very clever, very ballsy killer lies in wait.
©2015 Richard Kadrey (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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"Mr Kadrey has penned another winner!"
Richard Kadrey and MacLeod Andrews are a perfect match. There is NO better narrator for Stark's adventures.
The latest Sandman Slim novel is everything I'd hoped it would be, and I'm a Stark groupie from way back. The only complaint I have about this series is that the books aren't 500 pages longer!
"Who hurt you Richard Kadrey?"
Good lord. I don't know what sort of personal stuff Kadrey went through while assembly lining out this, the crappiest of the Sandman Slim novels, but it clearly involved women and it didn't go well. Listen, I know Richard Kadrey is at best a C-Team Jim Butcher, but I've found his overblown, over the top bullshit pretty entertaining. That apparently ends here. Wanna see Sandman Slim completely neutered and talked down to and shat upon by every female character he encounters? Want to see woman after woman go from barely developed mannequin to bitter, condescending shrew with no real reasoning?
Then by all means, read the puzzlingly named "Killing Pretty".
The title really doesn't make sense unless it's referring to Tykho/Sigrun and unfortunately, she (and that cover art, woof) like ALL the villains and women in this third rate urban fantasy shoebox, completely lack any real character depth. (Nor do we get an explanation on why Thyko now has a completely different backstory and appearance? What happened to her 'octopus eyes'?)
Do we even need to talk about how the main big bad never gets to speak more than a sentence and has no real personality at all? That he's not even anyone we have an investment in at all? Come on.
To stack the deck further, but in a way that no one can really give a shit about, Stark is suddenly penniless and thus is now suddenly grounded in mundane concerns. Last month he took out the old gods, but this month he can't afford paint thinner. Also, the timeline of the entire story (Which was revealed last book that ALL the SS novels have taken place in the past YEAR since Stark came back from hell) is just stupid. Also, still no explanation on how Stark got the Black Blade back after he gave it away in Kill City Blues. Nor do we get a single reference to Stark's Kissi arm--which seems like it might have come in handy in a fight with faux-death. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.
In the category of "Characters We Used To Care About": Candy has a total personality shift, which granted can be explained by starting her life over, only we don't see her do that. We get to hear her complain like a third year cosmetology school drop out disconsolately perusing a community college course catalog. All the while she just punishes Stark, which really makes no sense at all. The Candy from the previous books did not want to be "normal" and I don't think this shift is done convincingly or well. Julie, Stark's new boss, has all the character depth and personality of a cardboard cutout from a 1978 Sears catalog, and why the fuck is Brigitte in this book at all?
Look, I get it. It's noir. Women are often gonna be written a certain way, but Kadrey just didn't even try on this one. Every woman is a hateful ball buster. Stark is this poor put upon sad sack that just bends over and takes it. The whole thing just reeks of passive aggressive misogyny and lazy, lazy writing. Sorry Kadrey, I think you lost me on this one. Get a better editor and actually read your own notes or just stop.
One bright note, Macleod Andrews is over the top and cheesy as ever, but that's a good thing.
"Too Short - I need MORE!!!"
I want Richard Kadrey to do one of those really big novels like Diana Gabaldon does... hours and hours and hours worth. I LOVE these Sandman Slim/Starkbooks and - hey, Mr. Kadrey? You need to write faster please. I am ready for the next one. Have to say this one is not as funny as the first ones, as some of those lines were stop you in your tracks but the story is good and solid and MacLeod Andrews is such a great narrator. I have bought books I'd never have found because he narrated them. Another great addition to the series.
"Another winner for Sandman Slim"
Well, Stark has Death in his closet without a heart. In order for people to start dying again, Death needs to find his heart and go back to work. Thus, a new job for Stark and his band of misfit crime solvers. The story and the characters are as colorful as the previous in the series, with the voice of MacLeod Andrews bringing them all to life. Great series, that hasn't gone stale.
"Love me some sandman slim"
This was like a super bonus book; I thought the series ended with the last one! I enjoyed the new story line and all the regular cast of characters. Keep them coming!
"Ohh Red Herring.... Such A Necessary Evil..."
The Dialogue and MacLeod Andrews as always awesome performance.
MacLeod Andrews is one of the few narrators I know by name. He always gives a award worthy performance and this time is no different.
He has preformed all of the previous Sandman Slim Novals and as always he makes the book feel so much more alive.
First I want to say thank you Mr. Kadrey, you could have ended a series with the previous book but you choose to continue an awesome series.
This book is while REALLY awesome has it's weak points. First this is the first book after the Angra Om Ya arc. and there are times when it shows. The lack of some bigger picture is a little surreal having spent the previous six book with greater threat looming over head.
HOWEVER this is a GREAT jumping on point for new readers while returning readers will still enjoy awesome dialogue.
I still love this series and I look foreword to next installment
"Another Great Book"
I look forward to each audiobook! MacLeod Andrew makes listening a blast, and the writing and story are always great. This entry into the series was one of my favorites next to the first. Story is fun, without being too heavy! Highly recommend if you're a fan of the series!!!
"I have enjoyed every one of these in this series."
This review is not very deep stuff, I simply find Richard Kadrey's work very entertaining. I have been in the habit for many years of listening to recorded books in between as I get opportunities through the week, I have found his work to be memorable. This book more or less fits my definition of enjoyment along with his others, which is to say I have liked them all.
"Andrews is a fantastic reader and Kadrey is great"
Killing Pretty went full PI mystery and it wasn't quite as compelling as the previous novels. It's all relative though. It's still a silky smooth combination of badassery, comedy, and action that you can feel comfortable diving into and binging. MacLeod Andrews was fantastic as always. Poor guy probably ruins his voice with every Sandman Slim novel.
"hurried and thin"
this does not feel like a finished work. feel like an abridged version. unsatisfying.... kill city and devil said bang felt like multiple books in one but this felt like a conglomeration of partially finished short stories and hints at bigger ideas left unfinished. Maybe it's just a bridge novel setting up plot devices and characters for something bigger...
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