Title: Sandman Slim
Author: Richard Kadrey
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Series: Sandman Slim (Book 1)
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Format: Paperback, 388 Pages
ISBN-10: 0061976261 (HarperCollins)
ISBN-13: 978-0061976261 (HarperCollins)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero.
Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.
Now Stark’s back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you’d expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.
Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.
Quick & Dirty: Anti-hero Stark, aka Sandman Slim, escapes Hell and comes back to Earth to exact revenge on the people that sent him there 11 years ago. There is lots of killing, drinking, blasphemy, and magic that is used in the hunt for Mason and his crew; and you cheer Stark on during every minute of it.
Opening Sentence: I wake up on a pile of smoldering garbage and leaves in the old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose, though these last details don’t come to me until later.
There’s a new power in the town of Lost Angels, straight from Hell and out for revenge: James Stark aka Sandman Slim. A man with loose morals and dangerous moves, Stark is the bogeyman of the monsters. His purpose back on Earth is to make the people who sent him Downtown 11 years ago pay with their lives and he will use every weapon at his disposal. Armed with magic, both Sub Rosa and Hellion, and his near-indestructible body, Stark is about to open a can of whoop-a$$ that Los Angeles may or may not be able to withstand.
Just like the villains in the show The Middleman, Stark’s purpose is elegant in its simplicity. He escaped for the sole purpose of dealing out revenge, not just from his lost 11 years spent Downtown but for the death of his old girlfriend, Alice. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to get it done. His time away has left him in a similar situation as ex-convicts; he must readjust to normal life. Of course, Stark’s world is a little bit more supernatural than the average ex-con’s, but the same principle applies. He must make money in order to eat and shelter himself while still funding his war. What kind of job can a guy get when the only thing he’s really good at is killing?
Stark’s past is slowly revealed throughout the story. He is not the type of man to wallow in the past but his memories remain strong. They are the driving force that makes him the seemingly unstoppable man he is. All of the bad things that have happened to him do not break him down, but build him up even stronger than before, both metaphorically and physically. Each battle wound he receives gives him immunity from the same attack the next time. This also parallels his adaptability to extreme situations. I suppose that anyone that can not only survive in Hell, but thrive, has to have an indomitable will.
Stark’s style is as unique as he is. As he describes himself in the book, he is “…steel-toed boots in a ballet-slipper world.” His character plows his way through everything without thought of subtlety, both with words and deeds. He cares not for others opinion; including Hellions, humans, and angels alike. Stark is the perfect anti-hero that has readers everywhere cheering him on.
If you have not had the chance to start this series, I strongly urge you to do so. Sandman Slim is a must on any TBR list. Kadrey has opened the door into a dark new world that will leave you willing to sell your soul for the next installment.
“For eleven years, I’ve been worked over and abused in ways you can’t imagine by things you don’t want to know about. I’ve killed every kind of vile, black-souled, dead-eyed monster nightmare that ever made you piss your pj’s and cry for mommy in the middle of the night. I kill monsters and, if I wanted, I could say a word and burn you to powder from the inside out. I can tear any human you ever met to wet rags with my bare hands. Give me one reason why I could possibly need you?”
She looks straight up at me, not blinking. No fear in her eyes.
“Because, you might me the Tasmanian Devil and the Angel of Death all rolled into one, but you don’t even know how to get a phone.”
I hate to admit it, but she had a point.
Sandman Slim Series:
1. Sandman Slim
FTC Advisory: HarperCollins graciously provided a copy of Sandman Slim. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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